Here's some great ideas for how to decorate your mantel

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?



It's easy to change up your mantel for all the seasons


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.



This black and white themed Thanksgiving mantel was so fun


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.


This springtime Hydrangea mantel is fun and pretty

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.




This Halloween inspired fall mantel was fun to create


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.



These gorgeous roses and birds are perfect for spring or summer


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.  🙂

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?

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


  1. Image for Amy@{A*very} Cottage Ho,e Amy@{A*very} Cottage Ho,e

    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!

    1. Image for Beth Beth

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

  2. Image for andrea cammarata andrea cammarata

    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"'s Ryan Gossling's going to be a good day! HUGS and congrats on the award! ; ) As we would say in Jersey...Your Mantels ROCK!!!

  3. Image for Michelle Michelle

    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!

  4. Image for Robin Robin

    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!!!

  5. Image for kirby carespodi kirby carespodi

    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.

  6. Image for Gee Gee

    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

  7. Image for nantucketdaffodil nantucketdaffodil

    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)

  8. Image for Penny @ The Comforts of Home & From Harvest To Table Penny @ The Comforts of Home & From Harvest To Table

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

  9. Image for Steph Steph

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

  10. Image for Jean Jean

    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!

  11. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I follow several bloggers, but you're my favorite. And I can never decide whether to read yours first, or save it for 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~

  12. Image for Rachel Rachel

    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.

  13. Image for baileywife baileywife

    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

  14. Image for Jami Jami

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

  15. Image for Angela Angela

    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

  16. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    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!

  17. Image for Mary G Mary G

    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...

  18. Image for Zolane Zolane

    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 are incredible!

  19. Image for Sheryll & Critters. 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.

  20. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    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 lovely. Now I'm off to check out the other blog! ;)

  21. Image for Susan Susan

    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! Hugs!

  22. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    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!! Cynthia

  23. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    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!

  24. Image for Regina Regina

    Mantels rock. As do Mantles . . . ;) 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!

  25. Image for Lisa Lisa

    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.

  26. Image for Claudia Claudia

    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.

  27. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    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.

  28. Image for Shelley @ Calypso in the Country Shelley @ Calypso in the Country

    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! -Shelley

  29. Image for Lauren Lauren

    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!

  30. Image for Amy Seward Amy Seward

    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...

  31. Image for carol jane carol jane

    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.

  32. Image for Susan Susan

    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!

  33. Image for Jane Jane

    Lol! I nearly died when you admitted to never decorating your mantel before 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!). XO, Jane

  34. Image for Debbie Debbie

    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 :)

  35. Image for Pamela of Flower Patcch Farmhouse Pamela of Flower Patcch Farmhouse

    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??

  36. Image for Sharon Sharon

    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.

  37. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    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. Jeannie

  38. Image for Diane Diane

    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

  39. Image for Claudine Claudine

    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 Hugs Claudine

  40. Image for claire-lynn claire-lynn

    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.

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