Fall mantel inspiration

This is the current state of the mantel in the living room.

I’m kind of excited about it.

Mostly because I shopped my attic and cut out some leaves and stacked some books and went all pumpkin on the corners.

I’m going to show you EXACTLY how I decorated it.

I’m going to decorate it by the numbers.

But first, can I ask you a question?

Are you an English professor?  Or a grammarian?  Or took grammar courses or understand the difference between a complex sentence and one that’s simple?  Or just know someone within a five-mile grammar radius that you could ask?

I need to know.

Is it mantel or mantle?

I’m going with mantel here, but I’m not sure.

Which one do you wear and which one do one you decorate?

Here's where we began

Here’s where our mantel journey started.

This is where it went all Julie Andrews and started at the very beginning.

Just ready to get its fall on.

And now?

Fall mantel decorations

It looks like this.

The mantel and I had a discussion and we went with neutral this year.

If you want to create a similar look, no worries.  It’s so much easier than it looks.

Let’s break it down by the numbers.


The items you'll need for your fall mantel

1. books

If you are ever looking for a way to add height anywhere—a bookcase, a hutch, a side table or a mantel.

A book is your friend.

If your pumpkin looks too low?  Add a book.

Quick cute book tip.  If your book isn’t cute—just turn the spine inward.

The side with the pages is always so much cuter.

Fall pumpkinsBark pumpkin

2. pumpkins

I got the wood pumpkin on the left at Hobby Lobby last week.

The pumpkin on the right came from HomeGoods last year.

Vary the size of your pumpkins and you want to make sure you have an “anchor” pumpkin on either side of the mantel.

Paper leaves

3. cutting boards

Some people use their cutting boards for recipes.

I use mine to decorate.

These are just cutting boards that I’ve collected over the years.

The big one on the left came from my collection on Painted Fox.

Cutting boards as decoration

4. wreath

I found this at a yard sale years ago.

I’ve seen similar ones at any craft stores.

I went all decorating rogue and hung it off to one side.

Fall sign for the mantel

5. sign

This was just a piece of wood I found in the garage and I just lettered happy fall.

It’s a little rough around the edges.

No worries.

I just taped some leaves around it to distract from my pencil lines.

Add acorns to the mantel

6. acorn

My sister made these wool felted acorns several years ago.

They are white with stitching at the top.

I layered them on the mantel next to the pumpkins.

Fall signs and leaves

Paper leaves

7. leaves

And then?

To finish it all off?

I just cut leaves out of book pages and scattered them all over the mantel.

Some are taped with scotch tape.

Some are just crinkled for texture.

I just had them lying around left over from this project.

Fall decorating magazine Better Homes and Gardens inspiration

PS  If you needed a little more inspiration for fall, be sure and check out the latest Better Homes and Gardens Fall Decorating.

You might recognize the farmhouse and a few familiar pumpkins. 🙂

Happy day rock star.



Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Kelly Kelly

    I don't use my wooden cutting boards for cooking either - they're so much prettier on display :) And huge congratulations on the BHG feature! Best, Kelly

  2. Image for Candi Hatmaker Candi Hatmaker

    Hey, there! I am new to following you, but I think you will quickly become one of my favorites! ;) Here is the info you requested . . . Mantel vs. mantle Mantle is primarily a noun referring to (1) a loose, sleeveless coat or cloak, (2) something that covers, (3) the layer of the Earth between the crust and the core, and (4) the cerebral cortex. It also has a rarely used verb definition—to cover as with a mantle. Mantel is easy; it refers to the ornamental shelf above a fireplace. It has no other definitions in today’s English. Mantle is the correct spelling in the various forms of the phrases under the mantle and take/pick up/put on the mantle. The mantle in these expressions is a metaphorical cloak (see definition 1 above). Thanks for the step-by-step instruction on the mantel- LOVE IT! Candi

  3. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Gorgeous! Perfect! Never realized the neutrals are such a great transition for a natural look. I'm a color girl...but the calmness that this brings is wonderdul.

  4. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I love the look and how you make easy to follow directions. I'm really good at spreadsheets and lists and not so good at decorating. This is very approachable - and hopefully doable, even for me. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Frist, according to Ms. Fogarty, 'mantel' is correct: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/mantel-or-mantle However, did you know if a particular spelling of a word or a word that was once considered to be slang is used often enough and long enough, it will be added to the dictionary??? Second: Love the 'mantel' and the pics in BH&G!!!

  6. Image for Pam Pam

    I received your book on Thursday afternoon and finished it Friday! It was just like you, delightful. I knew I would love it and I did, I enjoyed learning the story of how you and your family made the jump and everything in between. Your blog is like sitting down and chatting with a good friend and so is your book! Congratulations, it could not happen to a more deserving rock star.

  7. Image for Kris Kris

    You are correct ... mantel is the thingummy over the fireplace. Thank you for asking--I have to admit that it makes me c-r-a-z-y when I see it misspelled on blogs. It's just a quirk of mine. ;) Now I can't wait for my latest BHG issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know a celebrity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Image for Julie Julie

      Me, too, Kris! In fact as I saw the title for this post I thought, "Thank goodness - she spelled mantel correctly!"

  8. Image for Lois Lois

    Hi Karianne, I so love your Mantel! It's so welcoming.....makes you wish the leaves were changing and the sweaters were just an arms length away! Here in Pennsylvania the sweaters are finding their way to the front of the closet! I'm going to do my Mantel in neutrals this year, and I have most of the supplies needed! Thank you for such a beautiful project and congrats on the book!

  9. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    You know how to decorate;I'll give you that. And now I know you know how to write--loving your book and I'm only halfway through!!!

  10. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Great tips! I don't have a mantel but will use the tips for my console table. Have to shop for some cutting boards! Congrats on the BHG magazine! You are really hitting it out of the park these days!

  11. Image for Celeste @ Penultimate Home Celeste @ Penultimate Home

    Well, I have to get on the ball and decorate for Fall. I've been trying to finish some big projects and not paying attention to the change in season. I love the neutrals, they are very calming.

  12. Image for june june

    Love how easy you made it to replicate by using the numbers in your pics. I cannot wait to pick up that issue of BHG...congrats! OK this may sound creepy...but I have been caught sleeping with your new book all weekend. Cant seem to put it down. Fighting an early fall head cold...so on my side table is a lot of water, a bit of chocolate and your book. I just keep re-reading. Due to some restless nights I have fallen asleep a few times🤧😴🙃 holding it.

  13. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    Hi! You are correct: you wear a mantle and decorate a mantel. I confess that I'm a grammar nerd and proud of it! But I'd love you and your posts regardless of any misspellings! You rock!

  14. Image for Peg Peg

    I 💕 Thistlewood and the lovely woman who makes it the "Better Home" it truly is!! Congratulations KariAnne!!! xoxoxo

  15. Image for Jeanie Jeanie

    You are AWESOME! I read your book in one day. I couldn't put it down!!! Congratulations on being featured in Better Homes and Garden and for the release of your book. I hope you got some new red lipstick to celebrate your success!

  16. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Oh my so different now that I have been to Thistlewood! Have to get that magazine!!!! So proud for you! Mermaid in me who loves suntan lotion smell more than pumpkin spice, is slowly but surely accepting summer is coming to an end. But always sad on Labor Day.... Blessed though to enjoy all four seasons in the Bluegrass. Your ideas getting me a bit more excited about fall. Blessings by the bushels sweet friend.

  17. Image for Connie Rogers Connie Rogers

    I believe you are right...it is mantel...because it was Elijah's 'mantle' that Elisha was determined to not let out of his sight...and because Webster's Dictionary says that a 'mantel' is a beam or post on a fireplace, etc. :o)

  18. Image for Liz R. Liz R.

    I love this mantel and all of the fall decorating!! I neeed to know about those curtains and about whatever is painted white and blue!!

  19. Image for Ricki Jill Treleaven Ricki Jill Treleaven

    Grammar check says you are correct! Congratulations on your feature, and I think your mantel is adorable! You're blessed to have a mantel to decorate. Ours has a giant TV over it, so it will NEVER be featured in BH&G ;P

  20. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Love your mantel! How can I forget the very place I disgraced myself by tripping on the hearth, and falling into your living room, shocking all the guest gathered there? My excuse? It could have happened to anyone ogling all the loveliness of that cozy room!!

  21. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Okay... So I keep looking for the BHG Fall Decorating Magazine, specifically to buy it for your spread, but I can't find it anywhere I've looked. For Pete sakes, it should be at Michael's, right? They seem to have every other magazine (but, again, not Romantic Home!). Ugh... did see the pic in the HGTV mag at Michael's. I held it up to everyone in the store and yelled, "I know this woman... yep, I do! And, she is super cool!" Okay, I didn't do that. But, don't think I didn't want to! ;-)


    KariAnne, your mantel is absolutely beautiful and so calming when you look at it. I really enjoyed looking at the peacefulness of it today especially after watching the devastation in Florida after Hurricane Irma plus the anniversary of 911. We keep everyone going through such tough times in our thoughts and prayers. Also, KariAnne, congratulations on your article in Homes & Gardens magazine. I am going to get a copy of it! Blessings, dear friend!

  23. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    You must be so excited!!!! Better Homes and Gardens Fall Decorating Edition is so beautiful! Way to go!!! Love the mantel by the way!

  24. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    "Mantle" went to "mantel" in the mid-16th century. Who knew? But since you asked, my OCD self had to google it and, VIOLA! It's now mantel. I'm LOVING the book, by the way. One chapter to go! I was afraid it was going to be your blogs all rolled into a book, but it's SO wonderful!! I feel like we are old friends. Love the "mantel" and will look for BH&G, too!

  25. Image for nonie nonie

    Just had to stop and say hello, I am new here! I just read your book, honestly I could not put it down and I loved it. so glad I found you, now maybe I can get my act together. Nonie

  26. Image for Marie in AZ Marie in AZ

    Hi sweetie....Mantel and mantle are two very different things, and a lot of people confuse them! A mantel is a "construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney breast in a more or less decorative manner." A mantle is "1 : a loose sleeveless outer garment. 2 : something that covers or wraps 'The town was covered with a mantle of snow.' 3 : the part of the earth's interior beneath the crust and above the central core." (per Merriam Webster) So now you will never be confused again! Unless you hang a loose sleeveless outer garment above your fireplace, that is... wink wink! Love your posts!!

  27. Image for Jill Jill

    KariAnne, I'm so glad I found your blog! What a brave soul you are! I thought I was the only crazy person on the planet that would dare to leap before they look. My dreams have always been so grand and yet tend to often fall just short of the greatness that I envision. I read the first chapter of your book, and now I can't hardly wait until it's delivered on Thursday. We must have been friends in another life as I can so relate to you and your experiences (especially the fashion and hair you describe in that first chapter - Yikes!!). There is nothing as inspiring as a woman of faith these days. Proverbs 3:5-6 has always been my "flashlight in the storm drain" (that's a story for another day). Thank you for sharing your wonderful personality and insights - where I'm sure I will find more of myself than I hope to.

  28. Image for Sherrie Pfeiffer Sherrie Pfeiffer

    I love the way you used what you already had and added your seemingly endless creativity. My favorite thing about your fall take on mantel decor is that is doesn't scream "orange pumpkin overload" and can sit pretty in just about any room. I just love a room that doesn't take itself too seriously. Congrats on the magazine spread and woo hoo for the book!

  29. Image for Nancy Nancy

    So lovely! I love the decorating by the numbers! I love that fall is here...it's one of my favorite times of the year. Let's raise our coffee cup to pumpkins spice shall we? Nancy

  30. Image for Mah Mah

    If you only knew how my brain loves your non symmetrical mantle, it has something to do with the wreath being off kilter! Unless your brain does somersaults when something just isn't right you might know how wonderful it was to have the old brain stay in place. It could be the calming colors, but I am sure of one thing, it is beautiful!

  31. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Mantel is correct for the shelf above a fireplace. In school, I always reminded my students that shelf has an "el" in it and so does mantel. That's an easy way to remember which mantel/mantle is correct.

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