Shop The House Mantel

easy mantel

fireplace before

And I cannot let you forget where we started. We’ve come too far.

how to decorate a mantel

It was time for a tiny drop of fresh on our mantel so I added in some Blue Willow that I happened to find packed away in the barn. It’s got me feeling very Miss Mustard Seedy.

how to decorate a mantel

Years ago I had a bigger collection but I used it so much that I broke most of it and because it was my grandmother’s I felt sad about it and packed it away so I couldn’t break any more. I only have about five pieces left. But when I found it the other day as I was organizing the barn I figured it was time to bring it back inside.


Did you noticed the moth-like creature? I found him already deceased in a box on our porch a few months ago. He was perfectly preserved so I had the 16-year old pin him inside my shadow box so we could display him. He matches our decor so well! I’ve been looking on etsy for specimens like this for awhile. This was a great find!

how to decorate a mantel






I forgot how messy a working winter fireplace can be. I have dripped wax from candles all sooted up, and I’ve given up trying to put back my precious birch branches (scroll to #3) after every real fire.  My husband loves the wood box that belonged to his grandfather. It doesn’t really fit size-wise but we make it work because we are both sentimental fools every now and then.


Also, I love drippy wax. I think drippy wax makes a candle holder feel happy and complete.


The center piece is a chalkboard I found about ten years ago at a yard sale. It cost $1. I bought the sea fan from HomeGoods a few years ago, it started out purple but I spray painted it white and then hot glued it to the chalkboard. It’s held on this way for years.


The chalk board used to be in one of the boys rooms. You can still see their writing and I secretly love that and can’t bring myself to fully erase their NASCAR standings. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. It better not be perfect or that means I probably haven’t enjoyed it enough.

easy mantel

Sources left to right:

Black faceted oval tray: Target clearance last month

Wood carved candle sticks: Anthropologie clearance last year

Black & White vases : One Kings Lane

Blue Willow: Grandma

Sea Fan Chalkboard: see above

Shadow Box: HomeGoods

Ceramic Hand : HomeGoods clearance a few years ago (it’s cracked open on the back but I can hide it from the front)

Mantel: here when we bought the house

White Brick Fireplace: WORTH IT! do it now! Here’s more about it..

I’ve told you before that this house told  me it wants to be neutral. And it does. But one of the first things I noticed when we moved here last summer from our subdivision was how much we were surrounded with blue and green. Green bushy trees and grass and green metal roofs, blue sky, blue pool (sometimes & sometimes the pool is green–see?!). So I had a feeling blue and green would start making a little more of an appearance around these parts. Anytime I have something blue or green sitting around in the house it always catches my eye.





I predict more blue and green in the future of this little house. As for robin’s egg blue and pink and other colors…they’ll be in my office.


  1. Good morning :). I like the combination of things you’ve added to your fireplace and of course I love the addition of blue willow. I have lots of it so if you want some more just let me know! I saw Edie’s Instagram which got me thinking about redoing my mantle too, so I took all the stuff off our mantle and started to gather some things from around the house. Then I decided to take a break and check my email and here I find that you are doing the same thing! Hope you enjoy your day. ((Hugs))Rhondi

    • yep, I’ll be joining in Edie’s #loveyourmantel instagram party this friday, I hope you will too Rhondi. And STOP tempting me with your blue willow!!!!

      • Could you please tell me how to join in on the instagram party? And please use as easy instructions as you can, Im a novice at best on the computer. By the way Everything looks nice on the mantel, but it does creep me out some about the dead moth! lol

        • it’s not my party (I just used the word party but really it’s not even that) it’s Edies but, if you are on instagram and take a photo of your mantel, in the comments add #loveyourmantel and it will link you up to all the other people who are doing the same thing. once it’s posted, you click #loveyourmantel and you can see everyone’s posts.

  2. I love the board games set out on the fireplace! I have ours tucked away in a cupboard and guess what? They never get played. Totally pulling out all of the board games tonight.

  3. love the cobalt blue pops! ohmygoodness I love it so much. It looks so good with the white and black and natural wood. I cant get enough. do more! do more!

  4. I love how you displayed the sea fan! I’ve spray painted a few of mine also. The chalkboard makes a nice graphic contrast to it too! Lovely as always. ;)

  5. Blue willow is our everyday china and I love it. It’s not old, but it still has that classic look. And I think all food looks good on blue! (Think about it- do you ever really eat blue food?)

  6. It’s sweet that you want to preserve your grandmothers things, but they do look so nice on the mantle. I also love that you use that sentimental wood box because homes should be filled with the things we love. Also, I’m from the coast so blue and green are always good colors to bring into a home as far as I’m concerned.

  7. I spend my entire lunch break here…such great inspirations! I am wondering if you are going to share any sneak peeks of your upcoming book on the blog. I’m dying to know more about it!

  8. Love the colors and neutrals!

  9. I love your mantle and how balanced the family room is between quirky and classic, masculine and feminine. “Miss Mustard Seedy” made me laugh.

  10. Your mantel inspires me. Maybe. You know those houses you go in that have looked the same since 1984. Drives me nuts. Williamsburg blue and colonial rose are “out”. BUT I have a feeling that will be me! My mom moves stuff around constantly in her home. My mom was an interior design major in college. I find something I like and put it there and leave it. Because I like it. Every time she visits she says, “Your mantel has looked the same for 10 years.” She’s right. Two mantels in two different homes with the same decorating!
    I just don’t think to change it. You mentioned a few blog posts ago how you changed things around when you were a little girl. I never did. It isn’t because I don’t wan to, I just don’t think about it.
    Wanna come to Apex and help me? I love my home. I regret getting a red sofa 10 years ago but I can’t afford to replace it. Otherwise, I just need some change inspiration!

    • Kristin, sometimes I wish I didn’t have the “curse” of wanting change, of noticing, and of wanting to play with my stuff so much. KNOW that there is NOTHING wrong with not changing your mantel, I think you are lucky for not ever thinking about changing yours!!!!

      however, if you ever do crave a change, you can freely mess around with it, and if you hate it, just put it back the way you had it. There’s no shame in keeping your mantel the same–all that matters is that you like it!

  11. It looks lovely! As always! I remember recently reading someone asked you about your pots…dutch ovens…casserole dish…see I don’t even know what the are called! But I have been considering investing in one. Could you give us some info on them and what you would recommend? If I am remembering correctly from what I read, each of the three are a different brand?

  12. Love it! Do you have tips for people who literally have NO decorations whatsoever but want to be cool and “shop the house”?

  13. So love that your pup is in the picture, and he matches! :)

  14. Boy has this wall come a long way. Amazing what a little white will do. Love the fresh styling of the mantle. I need to get the Valentine’s Day stuff cleared off mine and bring out a some spring.

  15. I love your neutral mantel scape! So modern rustic (?) chic. I used exactly the same blue willow plate on my kitchen wall and it’s fascinating how we used the same plate in different ways. Please stop by when you get a chance to see how I styled with the blue willow :)

  16. Your mantle is beautiful! I love that you tweaked the mantle arrangement a little between photos. I think we’re doing the opposite in our houses! I have blues and greens but I’m trying to bring in more whites and neutrals.

    I just attempted to redo my mantle. I’ve had my vintage books lined up on it for awhile, so I took them down and wanted to try something else. But it’s such a weird mantle/shelf/thing that nothing I tried looked good! So all I ended up doing was dusting everything (long past due!) and putting the books back. I did streamline it a little, and remove all the red-toned books, because it wanted it more blue/green/neutral looking.

    I don’t really know how to make pretty vignettes like your mantle. I think I’ve been in a “must declutter!” mode for so long, along with a “must not spend money!” mode, that I am at a loss for what to do. I know the “rules”, but I don’t really have much that I love and kept. I’m trying things out on the coffee table to start with, now that my youngest is four and mostly leaves it alone. Mostly. Every now and then I’ll walk by and find a long piece of driftwood sticking straight up somewhere.

  17. I love the addition of Blue Willow! It is amazing what a little color can do!

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  20. The pieces around fireplace are looking awesome.

  21. I love how it turned out! The mantle is gorgeous in white…it just makes everything pop off of it. Your house is looking really great and put togethe. Great job!
    leelee @

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