Thursday, September 5

How to Style a Mantle in 4 Easy Steps

It started after Christmas.

The lights came down, the tree came down, and then all the regular decor came down. I had just finished reading the Cozy Minimalist book and I was so ready to simplify. The room, the decor, the toys, and all the stuff. And the first step was to calm the room. Remove all the extra.

Take a breath.

Then carefully decide what deserves to come back in. 

We wrapped the mantle ourselves and added the faux shiplap!

The big furniture stayed but everything else was packed away in the basement. The immediate result was definitely too sterile for our home, but it was a great stepping stone toward where I want to be. It's amazing how much better you can see a room - see what's working for you and what needs improvement - when you don't have to look past any extra STUFF.

And I learned a few things really quickly: I need less clutter. Less stuff to clean up and organize. I need less time to be spent on picking up and cleaning. But I still need the space to feel like our home. Our comfy, cozy, casual home.

So after a couple weeks of living with a bare bones living room, I was ready to start warming it back up. And I started with the biggest focal point in our room - the mantle. This is my first house with a mantle and after three years I can safely say - it's been a struggle. I've learned that it's so easy to go overboard with too much. Especially when I'm trying to work with items that are too small. But I'm finally figuring this thing out. And after three years with a mantle, I think this is it. This is what my mantle has been waiting for.

Here's my new mantle formula:
  1. Start with a large piece of art. I'm using this frame I found for $3 (what?!) that will hold a family photo. Remember how art should be something you love? Ever since I made my list of possible arts, I've been longing for more family photos. So I'm going to frame one from our camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes. As soon as I decide if it should be a vertical or horizontal photo. What do you think?
  2. Add a plant. Fake is fine. :) Again, think big. Not huge, but something substantial to add a life and texture. Like my beloved snake plant. One of my oldest and dearest plant babies. In an old pot my dad gave me that I love with all my heart.
  3. Add a few books. I selected three for their green/blue spines and excellent content. I love when my decor books are things I actually want the boys to pull down and read! These have all been collected from garage sales or thrift stores over the years.
  4. Add one more thing. Maybe. If you feel like you need it for balance. And if it's something you love. If not, just stick with the plant and books. I'm trying out a globe but I'm not committed to and might take it back down. Or replace it with a prettier globe.
That's it. A few carefully chosen things.
Things that are interesting.
Things that I love.
But just a few things that are simple and uncluttered.

This little helper is not giving me much feedback on the frame orientation dilemma:

That's where we're at so far! But I feel like I need a little disclaimer, guys. All bets are off at Christmas. You will no doubt find this mantle bursting with lights and stockings and nativities come November. As is our tradition. And it will be amazing in it's magical Christmas way.

I share a lot of mantle and plant goodness on Instagram and Facebook - check it out!

Now seriously, before you leave:

Horizontal or vertical frame above the mantle?

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