Long Lean and Layered :: A Summer Mantel

One of my favorite items to use in a rental or in any house rented or owned is large architectural pieces, mirrors and large pieces of art.  For the most part, the larger something is, the more impact it has.  And over the years my go to items for impact have been shutters, doors, framed chalkboards and mirrors. But for our mantel, I’m addicted to shutters.

Many of you have seen my mantel countless times complete with two pair of wooden plantation shutters that I found at a thrift store. When they are alone, they have a calming affect. They were about $5 per pair and then I painted them Halcyon Green by Sherwin Williams~just some left over paint from my armiore.  The shutters are tall, textural, add a pop of color, and all I have to do is lean them up against the wall on our mantel.  No holes required.  Plus, they have knobs for opening that I use to layer a wreath or a frame.

Just for fun, here’s how our corner fireplace looked when we moved in.  You can read more about the 5 minute pretend brick chalkboard surround here.  And notice the wimpy little carving?  I always cover it up with a more substantial piece-that usually ends up crooked.   I did make two nail holes for that but they can easily be filled in.

In our last house we had one of those dreaded huge TV holes above our fireplace and I leaned shutters on the mantel to hide the hole and the TV in its nest of wires.  Now I still use the shutters but as a base to layer other things when I’m in the mood.  Perfect for a white walled, no holes allowed rental if that’s where you are right now.

Have you leaned something lately?

Need more ideas? Melissa from The Inspired Room wrote a great post about Leaning Artwork {large and small} with all sorts of tips and ideas for leaning and layering different sized items.


  1. I’ve learned that renting allows you to brag about the AWESOME home you found ~ without feeling guilty!!!! *wink*

  2. Today I have learned I’m supposed to change up my mantle with the seasons. I’m not sure the thought occurred to me before. This is very exciting news. Very exciting indeed! Thank you m’am. ~ karen

  3. I believe your landlords will actually weep when the day comes that you abandon, um, move out, of their house!

  4. Looks great. Very refreshing and pretty!

  5. Okay, I’m sure it has been mentioned in one of your previous posts…but where did you get that “This is the Life” artwork? Love. love.

  6. Good idea on covering up the tv hole! We have a tv hole, but no tv to hang there (we have a tv that’s too large to fit in the fairly small space over the little fireplace, and then a really old tv that obviously can’t be hung). Shutters would be good, or maybe a mirror? Thanks for the idea!

  7. Christie says

    The decorating things I’ve learned recently —
    — large old window frames to fill up blank walls
    — large foliage … in the fall I collected branches of colorful leaves. I’m about to go cut newly leafed branches. I have a bunch of “sucker” aspen trees that pop up all over the yard which are free for the pruning.
    — drop-cloth curtains hung from metal conduit and clip hooks look so much fresher than old vertical blinds.

  8. Maybe I’m strange, but I like our “dreaded TV hole” over our fireplace. Haha But then, I like the way my TV looks, because it’s white. :-) It doesn’t stick out so much as a black one does.

  9. Michelle says

    Hi Nester,
    Beautiful mantel! I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now…just want to tell you your new format & sister blogs are wonderful, and always very inspring! Hope you have a great weekend.

  10. hey we know that pretty place!…so much fun to see you in your new nest ( blog not house)…you have so many great ideas and so many smiles to share…

  11. I love the shuttter idea because above my mantle is full of nail holes that I have not filled in….pretty crazy…right now I have a large canvas painting there- but want a change- I am going to look for some shutters!

  12. Love seeing your mantel decor, and the “this is the life” sign is awesome – did you DIY that?

  13. So pretty! Our rental doesn’t have a mantel. I’m thinking about doing some leaning decorations on our large bookshelf instead. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Lynn Somers says

    Who makes those pretty, curvy, blue lamps? Thanks!

  15. Where can I find that amazing “This is the Life” canvass? I’m looking for some inspirational art for our mantle. Thanks!

  16. love your decor style!!! i’m wondering where you got that fabulous letter???

  17. darena pack says

    I have 2 heavy pictures I would like to lean on my fireplace mantel, but I am afraid my cats might knock them down. What can I lean against them to keep them from falling??

  18. I love the way you repurposed the plantation shutter. It really makes the room.

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