Mantel Decorating Ideas

Mantel Decorating Ideas


Farmhouse Mantel

 Can I tell you something?

Just between you and me.


Before I had a blog….I never decorated my mantel.

I never had any mantel decorating ideas.

Never.  Ever.

Can you even believe it?





Okay….I did hang the occasional stocking…..

….next to a sad little grouping of Charlie Brown Christmas trees.

And there was the year I lined up all the Fisher Price people.

I think I saw someone else do it in a magazine.





Thankful Mantel


But for the most part?

Truly?  Just between us?


I think I was never sure what to put there.

All that blank space was a little intimidating and nothing ever looked right.  It looked like a whole lot of lopsided.


Hydrangea Mantel

Hydrangea and Milkglass Mantel

I was always a little embarrassed of all those blank empty mantels.

And then one day…..I started a blog.

And what’s a blog without a mantel?

Everywhere….all over the place in blog land I saw all these amazing mantels.






Barn Door and Mercury Glass Mantel


I took the plunge and found this barn door.

And made a glass mercury pumpkin.

And random candle stick holders from the yard.

And all of a sudden….my mantel was holding its head up high.





Spring Burlap and Barnwood Mantel

And I then oddly….. I discovered I loved decorating mantels.

Maybe it’s the challenge.

Maybe it’s because you have to think vertically.

Maybe it’s that I have a collection of milk glass and pink hydrangea’s and empty vases from the dollar store calling my mane.

All I know is that the other day….

…I think I heard a relieved cheer from all the Fisher Price people.  ๐Ÿ™‚

PS  If you want some more mantel inspiration and some easy tips on how to create one….be sure to check out my mantel post today over at the Lamps Plus blog.

PPS  I’m not sure about the whole mantel/mantle thing….does anyone know officially which one it is?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. KariAnne,
    I am so glad you did start a blog because you certainly have a knack for decorating mantels! I love the hydrangea and milk glass mantle and the Spring mantel too. All are so creative and fresh. And so I Googled the two spellings of mantel vs. mantle and low and behold I found that “mantel” is used for the fireplace version as you have correctly used it and “mantle” is used in geological terms such as the earth’s mantle. I had no idea! I’ve been spelling it wrong all these years! :-)! Now I know and can correctly spell the word “mantel” when I am referring to my fireplace one and not the earth’s. :-)! Now there’s a daunting task, to decorate the earth’s mantle ;-). Have a wonderful day! Can’t wait for your Joss and Main today!

    • Ha! If anyone could decorate the Earth’s mantle, it would be Karrianne. Girlfriend’s got some serious skills! Best, Beth C.

  2. Clearly I can not even spell my own new name as witnessed the above comment. It’s early! You are a much better early riser than me! Now off for some coffee :-)!

  3. I have to say honestly…if they gave out Oscars for the BEST…Most Creative…Undeniably Imaginative…over the top gorgeous Mantel Decorator in the land…(breaking the seal…opening the envelope) and the Mantel Oscar goes to …drum roll… KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms…who is that…”hey girl”…it’s Ryan Gossling presenting…it’s going to be a good day! HUGS and congrats on the award! ; ) As we would say in Jersey…Your Mantels ROCK!!!

  4. I don’t have a mantel and I’m kind of glad I don’t. I would never know what to put on it. That’s probably why I don’t have coffee tables. Your mantels are fabulous. I love the old barn door and how you used it different ways. I think my favorite is the basket with the wreath. Love it.
    I’m super excited for your Joss and Main sale tonight!

  5. I understand completely. I’m so mantel challenged it’s pitiful. I guess I have mantel envy now cause you are awesome at mantel decorating!! I love the basket and wreath. It’s just lovely!!!

  6. Due to my advanced years, I have simplified my mantle. I keep glass jars up there all year long, and then change out what goes in the glass jars. I spend way too much time on my pesky day job, unfortunately.

  7. You’ve come a long way, baby!

  8. Hello and good morning Sunshine!!
    Luv all your mantels. I for one am glad you started a blog as I have a mad crush on it!
    Now the mantel/mantle thing. Mantel = fireplace shelf /surround ; while mantle refers to one of the 3 layers of the earth. Or a piece of clothing, a cloak like garment. Hmmm… Makes a wee bit of a difference when it comes to ‘decorating’ it I think. No?? But I know that if you wanted to decorate a mantle, I would luv it!
    Here’s to a fab Tuesday!
    Hugs, Gee

  9. Lovely KariAnne. I was so proud of myself for getting my huge shelf redecorated the other day and now I see your loveliness and I feel a bit inferior ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Unfortunately my mantle sports a giant black flat screen TV. *sigh* So much for amazing mantle displays. . . They all look amazing! Life to the full! Melissa

  11. I love your mantel ideas! We have a very tiny 1830’s mantel which doesn’t fit a lot….if it did I would certainly do the one with the basket and wreath, it is so positively rustic chic it makes me want to cry! (with joy of course)

  12. Penny @ The Comforts of Home & From Harvest To Table :

    Oh. My. I am in love with the milk glass and hydrangeas. Beautiful!

  13. I’ve gotten to where I enjoy switching it up — and yes, you’re thinking vertically but also horizontally. And now you’re a mantel/mantle champ!!
    xo Heidi

  14. I think it’s awesome how one new way of stepping out and doing something brings along with it other ways of doing new!

  15. All i know, is that i want to steal that really cool architectural piece in the middle of all the beautiful milk glass and hydrangeas. Better lock your doors, karianne!

  16. I follow several bloggers, but you’re my favorite. And I can never decide whether to read yours first, or save it for last….to sit back and slowly peruse your musings, savoring each tidbit! Depends on the day….
    Today, I read it first. Oh. My. GOSH! I love, love, love the milk glass and gorgeous shade of pink hydrangeas. Yummy….and I find it difficult to imagine that you never ever decorated your mantel before you blogged. Seriously. *sigh* I so wish I had a mantel to decorate ;(
    Good job, by the way~

  17. More than anything else, I struggle with our mantle. Because it’s got a big ole’ TV over it and, really, what do I do with that?? Beautiful inspiration, Karianne ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I have two mantels (family room and keeping room), and have such a hard time with the one in the family room. I’m heading over to lamps plus to look for ideas.

  19. Well phooey! We don’t have a mantel at our house but you make me want to build one just to decorate it.

  20. I want to see the FP people mantel.

  21. Every time I write a post I have to use Google for the correct spelling on something so I don’t look like an uneducated schmuck! And EVERY time I blog about my mantel/mantle I have to do another search….but I usually go with “mantel” (I think) Either way, I love changing out my display! Thanks for even more inspiration Thistle!!! ~Kim

  22. Now I am going to have to start collecting milk glass for my hydrangeas. Wow! What an impact! Thanks for the inspiration.

  23. I laughed when I read this cause before I started blogging, I “never” changed my mantel except at Christmas! Now, it’s changing with every season or holiday! LOL! Love all your ideas, Karianne! Looking forward to your sale today!!~~Angela

  24. Oh, the scandal. You never used to decorate your mantel??

    Well, we can forgive you, because you clearly–CLEARLY–have made up for lost time.

    My biggest challenge with mantelscapes is my need for symmetry. I can go for asymmetrical arrangements in lots of settings, but on mantels? I just gotta have symmetry. That need, coupled with the necessity of keeping the pieces of art above my mantels (yes, I have two!) in place, has crippled my mantel mojo. Maybe I need an intervention. Or maybe I just need inspiration! If so, I’m at the right place today!

  25. Well girl it looks beautiful every time. I love the Hydranga’s, mine won’t bloom for some reason.

  26. Love your mantels! For me, that has always been one of the first projects to tackle in a room. A nicely done mantel seems to draw attention away from any mishaps in a room the same way a well-made bed does. To those dealing with a flat screen, pretend it is a beautiful mirror or painting and incorporate it into your design. It is amazing how an old 7-up crate full of dvds, a hurricane full of textured balls, and some pillar candles at different heights can soften the look. Weaving burlap ribbon through your handiwork and framing the tv are also ways to increase the charm. Now I am longing for a place with a great mantel or even an oversized shelf…

  27. I have long admired (well, since I found you :)) your mantels. Mantels, including my own, are very intimidating to me. Mine is the width of the room with a window at each end and I often wonder how you would decorate it and WISH that you were just up the street or next door to talk about mantels and hear your stories over a glasses of sweet tea. Love, love, love the hydrangeas and milk glass, especially, but each of your mantel designs tell a wonderful story. I’ll continue saying it…you are incredible!

  28. Sheryll & Critters. :

    Well, did I learn something new early this morning or what. I did not know how to spell mantel correctly. Thank you. And it is so very difficult to pick a favorite…… I will say for now that the flower ones are my favorite…… but I know that will change with a tiny bit of time. Be glad the entire wall behind your mantel is not a wall mirror it reflects a bit too much and to take a photo of it is ….. umm difficult. I usually put a big old painted board (like chevron striped) or another smaller mirror against it then put something pretty in front of those.

    I am glad you came out of your mantel decorating shell……. cause I love all your ideas.

  29. You’ve managed to make mantel decorating look easy! It would appear to be a daunting task…from the comments. I am mantel-less…but I do have a fireplace. I like the spring one, but the hydrangea/milk glass is stealing my heart. Then there’s the first one, with the basket and wreath…so lovely. Now I’m off to check out the other blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. I love all the mantels! especially the thankful mantel. Might need to steal that idea for thanksgiving;)
    Have a great day.

  31. Love, love, love! This post was meant to be…just yesterday I posted my newly painted mantel and have asked my bloggy friends (and facebook friends) for advice on how to decorate it! Perfect timing. Have a great day!

  32. Your mantel always looks perfect and I am not really sure about the mantle, mantel thing either. I see it so many different ways on blogs. I have always decorated our mantels. Truth be told I am nervous now while I am typing this with the way I am spelling mantel. I am going to have to check this out once and for all!!


  33. You have totally mastered mantel decorating! Who knew you had never decorated one before blogging? You’re a pro! Each one of these is so unique and stunning! You’re a mantel decorating rock star!

  34. Mantels rock. As do Mantles . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yours rock exceptionally well! I love the barn wood. That’s an idea I want to use one of these days . . .

    My mantel improved when I put a small lamp on it. For some reason, it just completed it! Plus, it gave me a point of light in that corner of the room . . . I have a thing about lighting!

    Have a great day, and stay cool!! How many years can we say, “if only it were as cool as it was on the 4th of July!”? Ha!

  35. My mantel has floor to ceiling stone with a little arched shelf in the center about 1 ft above the actual mantel. It’s really hard to figure what to do with it so it has pictures on it but I need to find something better. Don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s a corner fireplace. My living room is a designers nightmare but it has it’s good points.

  36. I think there are many homes across the land that now get decorated to a “T” because we now have blogs to show them off on. A great incentive!

  37. Your mantels are gorgeous! I used to just stick some pics on them and call it a day. Which, uh, is what is on my mantel right now. Oops. But now I use them for birthday party decor, seasonal goodies, etc. Most of the time. We’ve had an army of dinosaurs up there, too. It happens.

  38. I do believe it’s mantel….
    love yours…:)

  39. Gorgeous, Gorgeous mantles! I really love the milk glass & hydrangeas. Isn’t it wonderful what blogging will do for our creativity? I love all of the wonderful things you have shared in your blogging journey! So creative and inspiring.

  40. I do believe it’s “mantel”. Of course, before I had a blog I did not know that! And I never changed my mantel then either! How wonderful is it to share so many ideas to make our homes beautiful! I love stopping by to check out all your creativity – and your mantel is stunning!

  41. Love all of your mantels!!!

  42. Oh the things we do for our blogs! But if it means fabulous mantels/mantles, I’m in!

  43. I love all of these ideas. The milk glass and hydrangeas is stunning and I love the pumpkin one and well, ALL of them. I don’t have a ‘mantle’ but I have a ‘ledge’ in my living room. Well, we’re not sure WHAT it was supposed to be but it’s a large, rectangular indentation in the wall which serves as my ‘mantle’. I love decorating it and changing it up so I’m pinning these ideas!

  44. I love mantle/mantel decorating! I also love your blog. My sister and I over at the “slice” try our hand at decorating them for the holidays and such. Check it out if you get a chance. Good work! Although I should tell you that yours are way classier, mine look like a 3rd grade bulletin board and a hoarder had a baby…

  45. I hate mantels. I stare at mine every day, and have no clue how to decorate it. I even work at Pier 1 and still have no clue what to do with it. I am not a picture kind of person. I think I would get tired of looking at the same thing all the time. I had a shutter that I found at TJMAXX up there along with some pretty white pottery. The shutter tipped over and knocked over 3 of my pretty white pots that I had up there and 1 on the hearth, and they all broke. I have done nothing since. Sigh.

  46. Each one is so gorgeous, Karianne! Many don’t take the time to do a mantle but it really adds to any season when you do. Love you ideas! Amy

  47. I love to decorate my mantel and it’s what I like to change up the most. Your mantels and always a great inspiration to me they are always so fun and fresh!

  48. Lol! I nearly died when you admitted to never decorating your mantel before blogging…so I guess I can let the cat out of the bag, too! I would put family pictures up and the occasional vase of flowers, but what the heck was a mantelscape??! Then someone had a “Mantel Party” and I went to town. It is a toughie because fireplaces seem to dominate a room. I go by seasons and holidays and it takes DAYS to get it right! All of yours look just beautiful and doable! Thanks for your honesty and making me laugh (as you always do!).


  49. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I don’t know what else to say! xo Diana

  50. I completely understand! Our mantel in the office for years had the same 2 pastel garden/hummingbird art prints (which I still love!) over them, the same candlestick holders and it would hold the odd plant and cards for whatever we got cards for at that time. Now, I haven’t got quite as bold as you, but I did take down the prints and change it up. I think I’ll do better when the mantel is renovated? I hope.
    Debbie ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Beautiful, beautiful – as always!

  52. I do not have a mantel, though I have saved photos of faux ones to build for a year or so. So what’s a gal to do???? Decorate her potting bench like it was a mantel
    ….with flowery goodness.
    Of course.
    Hmmm, I wonder what my mom did with all her milk glass??

  53. Oh dear, typed my name wrong. But all you saavy gals knew what I meant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. I’ve always thought your mantles were beautiful! I never would have thought you were new at it!

    I have to start styling my mantle too….

  55. Well, you most certainly have it figured out now.

    I’ve asked myself the same question about mantel vs. mantle…. For the fireplace it is mantel. A mantle is a cloak like pastors wear. Or the mantle of the earth.

  56. Hi KariAnne, your mantles always look beautiful. Great minds think alike, I just finished a post named Decorated Mantles, think I’ll change the name. I’m in love with Thistlewood Farm, if you ever open the doors, I’ll be the first one there. Have a great day.

  57. I love your mantel/mantle and if you figure that out please tell me if it is jewelry or jewelery, even spell check does not know! I love all of yours, they are all gorgeous! ~Diane

  58. Dear Karianne!!!
    I am going to try to decorate my mantel TODAY with your idea of milk glass and Ironstone and hydrangeas!!! THANK YOU!!!!
    And NO, I cannot believe you did not decorate your mantel before!!! You mean ONE day (a long long time ago) you were just like ME??? LOL

  59. I ooh and ahhh over all the pretty mantels you create …. no one would ever have guessed you thought you wouldn’t be able to decorate your own mantel. You do Rock!
    I may be mantel challenged, but you have given me hope and inspiration. Thanks.

  60. Love your mantels! I need help with mine!!! Its off centered on a whole wsll of brick.
    Any suggestions? Lol