Fall Mantel Ideas

Fall Mantel Ideas



The other day Free and Cheap had a conversation with the garden gate about my fall mantel.

They were talking about fall mantel ideas.

Have you ever met Free or Cheap before?


They are so cute and so…..well….so irresistible.

We are BFF’s.




The conversation started with these sticks in the back yard.

Well….actually…..it all started with a barn door.

A barn door that turned into a fall mantel that inspired the spray-painted garden gate.

Which inspired the fall mantel conversation.

Between a garden gate and a whole lot of Free and Cheap.


Top Five Ways To Decorate With Free and Cheap

(1)  Find some sticks in the back yard.  

Wrap some raffia around the sticks to make a tree.

Decide that the raffia looks too free and cheap and add rope instead.



(2)  Find some old boards and paint them to look like barn wood.

Hot glue the tree to the wood.

Realize that your faux barn wood looks like whitewashed jeans from 1990.

Add some more gray paint.

Problem solved.


(3)  Decide that the tree doesn’t look like a tree at all…..it just looks like a bunch of sticks wrapped with rope.


Cut leaves out of brown paper shopping bags to create the illusion of a realistic stick rope tree.

Tea-dye the leaves.

Hot glue onto leaves onto sticks.



(4)  Decide you are kind of over your Free and Cheap mantel.

Leave and go to make sure that Survivor is taped for tonight.  Worry about Blair and that if her team loses she is totally going to be voted off.

Come back to the library and see that some of the leaves have fallen off the stick rope tree.

Go with it.

Totally embrace the falling leaves theme.

Deliberately take the leaves fall off the tree.

Continue the theme all the way down the fireplace.



(5)   Add some pumpkins and letters that spell fall.

And some dried hydrangea.

And the spray painted garden gate that started it all.


The mantel is finished.

Survivor is taped.

Life is good.


Stand back and high-five Free and Cheap…..

…..after all….you couldn’t have done it without them 🙂


PS  You all always leave the best comments.


If you if need a good laugh….please read some of the comments on this blog.

They will make your heart smile.

Here are two that made my heart laugh out lout today:

Erika said:  “Your “free and cheap”  always look more like “expensive and designer”.  I wish I could have meaningful conversations with “free and cheap” like you do.  I tried texting them last week, but they haven’t responded.  They must have been too busy working on your lovely library mantel.  Inspiring as always.”

Donnamae said: “Love the mantel, and all that you did!  I am very familiar with free and cheap, and it’s cousins…repurposed, reengineered, and inherited!  And don’t worry about Blair…I think she can hold her own! ;)”




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  1. Poor thing, talking to you gate. there’s medication for that problem!!

  2. This is so very pretty! Love what you did.

  3. Free and cheap is such a BFF, always there when you need her, never asking to borrow money, and giving you so much joy. Who could ask for more. Just loving your mantle. 🙂


  4. Free and cheap seems like a very good thing – well at least when it comes to decorating.

    Are your bags packed? Are you sitting on go? ♥♥♥

  5. Is there anything marvelous that you don’t come up with? This is so ka ute. Hosting a party and speaking at the conference. You are super woman. I am riding up with one of your co hosts. See you tomorrow!!

  6. my goodness…where in the world do you get these amazing ideas?
    I love your falling leaves and the words “fall.” I’d love to know if you bought them or made them that way…I LOVE them!

    It’s absolutely beautiful.

  7. I just love it, and the falling leaves are the very best part. Free and Cheap are my very best friends, actually we are housemates. They rarely are so well-behaved at my house as they are at yours, guess they are too comfortable here to try to look perfect, as they do at your house. Kinda like a husband that only shaves if other women will be about. But they sure are looking good at your place!!!

  8. Not only would Blair approve but so would Jo, Tootie & Mrs. Garrett!

  9. Love your fall mantle! Looks great with the falling leaves.
    Debbie 🙂

  10. I love everything about your mantel! …and I love sticks 🙂

  11. Well, you may say your mantel is “Free and Cheap”..but looks like a Million Bucks!!….You are the goddess of turning “Free and Cheap” into great masterpieces!!…Beautiful mantel Kari!…love the way you made the leaves “fall”….See you soon!

  12. Did I ever tell you I love sticks so much I grew a certain kind of tree just for its sticks? Hmmm….must do a post about that! Life got in the way of me attending the Raleigh conference, but I know you will be the belle of the ball. Maybe next year for me. Have a blast this weekend. My best friend aka spray paint is posted today. 🙂 Your mantle is marvelous. Love love love the falling leaves.

  13. Delightful! I simply love what you’ve done!

    (May I say why I seldom comment here though I read every time you post? Something is screwy with
    the commenting or with my computer. I read to the end of your post and then must return to the top of your post
    then I must scroll back to the bottom of the post where I will at last and finally find a comment form. I find it
    annoying. Is it something that you’ve selected in your options or is it just the way it must be? There. I’ve said
    it and now I’ll regret it all day.)

  14. I love your mantel, it is just gorgeous. I love all the little touches and that garden gate is fantastic.


  15. How do you do it? I always am amazed when I swing by your blog! You take the simplest things and make them gorgeous! I LOVE the tree idea!! I will be branch gathering this afternoon! Not sure I will cut out the leaves but I have a few fake leaves already. I also have a garden gate I may be dragging in too! Wonder what hubs will say about that! Thanks for the inspiration! Traci

  16. Love the mantel, and all that you did! I am very familiar with free and cheap, and it’s cousins…repurposed, reengineered, and inherited! And don’t worry about Blair…I think she can hold her own! 😉

  17. love it! the brown leaves are awesome! warm and cozy.

  18. How come I didn’t see any tie dye leaves? Did I miss those? Are you tricking me with your treat of a mantel? Ah ha ha ha ha ha….


  19. TEA dye Bliss. I see it now.


  20. Love the falling leaves – so pretty! And your gate is gorgeous.

  21. Free and cheap are friends of mine as well! I am so jealous of your barn finds!
    The “falling leaves” are perfect on your mantel! ♥

  22. I hope when you finished this, you stepped back and said…”Ta – Dah! ” (in your best lyrical voice please). Inspirational as always!!

  23. I love your mantel. When I do free and cheap, I’m afraid it looks free and cheap. I may have to start having conversations with my free and cheap, in hopes that they will look as pretty as yours. I also love the vignette on the little table in front of your mantel. laurie

  24. Free and cheap bu t definately not EASY.

    Love going the distance with you in this post, so clever and adorable.

    I REALLY like the way you have the leaves “falling” down the fireplace – it makes a difference, is unique and I never EVER would have thought of that. But I can honestly say that about anything I read in blogs. I don’t have that clever gene.

    Well done.

  25. So cute! I love the story! Your mantel looks fabulous! You have to watch those garden gate; they’ll get you in trouble! I love your free and cheap mantel!

  26. I think that spray painted gate is my fave …



  27. This is all wonderful, Karianne! My favorite elements are the dried hydrangeas (I’m a serious hydrangea lover) and the falling leaves (they look so very natural). This is all artfully done; thanks for sharing.

    See you this weekend!


  28. LOVE this! So full of charm and creativity as usual.
    Mary Alice

  29. Charming..good job

  30. Kari~

    It almost works just as you said. I pressed comments first and it took me all the way
    down to the bottom of the page and I had to scroll back up to read the post and then
    arrived back at comments. Is that better than before? =D

  31. You do free and cheap just wonderfully!!! Your mantel looks beautiful and I love the table in front of it. Gorgeous..

  32. Seriously I am in love with your mantle and really just your style. 🙂 Totally pinned!!!! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  33. Your “free and cheap” always look more like “expensive and designer”. I wish I could have meaningful conversations with “free and cheap” like you do. I tried texting them last week, but they haven’t responded. They must have been too busy working on your lovely library mantel. Inspiring as always.

  34. I love Free and Cheap–they’re good friends of mine. I love how you can still have good taste and be free and cheap at the same time. It’s all in the mix baby.

  35. Gorgeous mantle, I love the gate and the tree and leaves are the icing on the cake. Have fun at the conference!

  36. I always have Free but I accidentally left Easy at my last house. My garden gate was forgotten.. and I felt funny going back to see if I could retrieve it’s bent up rustiness. I didn’t think they would understand?

    Love the mantel and the little tree 🙂 Happy Fall!!

  37. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow in Raleigh and hearing what you have to say Saturday.

  38. Dang. Your free and cheap looks awesome. Mine would look more like dumb and dumber. Your little minions did a great job on the leaves! And the tree is too cute. Can’t wait to meet you this weekend! ~ Angie

  39. Very nicely done! I love all the “free and cheap” comments. I love free and cheap, although I must say that free and free is my favorite way to go. I feel sorry for all the poor suckers who think they have to spend money for a great look, not so! Good luck at your conference!

  40. Man, Free and Cheap are making the ROUNDS this fall. What ‘hoes… 😉
    L.O.V.E. this mantel — even if the ‘hoes are gracing it!
    xo Heidi

  41. The falling leaves are such a gorgeous touch to the fireplace! It looks fabulous!

  42. Free and cheap are lovely. It’s unfortunate that unwanted house guest, Lazy came to visit TBA and won’t leave… ugh.

  43. You are a stitch and was following you right through the recording (not that show though!)… love your info!

  44. Love it – as always! Free and Cheap – are they related to ‘Clarence'(clearance) and ‘Sally'(Sale)?? My Mom and I know Clarence and Sally reallly well and we can spot them very easily!
    I haven’t used spray paint lately – my hubby has. I have a stack of stuff to paint but it’s all holding out for Chalk and Milk instead of Spray.

  45. AAAhhhh.. Free and Cheap really did wonderful for you KariAnne. I had them over and they weren’t so nice to me. I will have to invite them on over again this weekend 🙂
    I really luv the gate and ‘barn wood’ .
    Spray paint… yup. Been working on some things to share… getting excited!!
    Hugs, Gee

  46. I’m more of a picture girl — I tend to read the first few sentences of blog posts then just scroll through the pictures. But you… you and your writing suck me in every. darn. time! And you always seem to make me LOL, or SOL (smile out loud — not the other SOL). You are quite gifted my friend!

    I loved all your mistakes (the whitewashed jeans look especially!) and I love how they all ended up making your mantle look like a breezy fall day in the country! Perfection.

  47. Genius!!

  48. I love your mantel! Free and cheap are good friends of mine because otherwise I have to deal with a scowling husband if I spend money. Oh, and paint…paint is my good friend too! 😉

  49. I had no idea Free and Cheap had extended family all the way to your mantel.
    It looks awesome

  50. I LOVE your mantel. Free and Cheap must not be giving me 100% effort. Most of their projects are “F” work. (work, not word) Now that I know what they’re capable of….


  51. You certainly know how to make “free and cheap” seem like “expensive and rich!” Looks beautiful, Karianne!

  52. I would love to be friends with free and cheap and not because I am free and cheap because trust me if you asked hubby he would say I am anything but……………..lol

  53. Your mantle looks so pretty, Kerianne, and I loooove your vintage wooden box!

  54. Very pretty!!!

    You are so talented and funny – your blog is just a delight to read. I hope that I get to read a month from now that you won that trip to New York with Country Living magazine – you so richly deserve it!

  55. Shaking my head….seriously??? You always amaze me with your “circle of friend”! Send them to my house PLEASE!!!! I LOVE it 🙂

  56. I love every single detail!! Free and Cheap and I go “way back” too…well at least since I met my frugal hubby 🙂 Laurel

  57. This is a cute idea! LOVE LOVE LOVE!