How to decorate a mantel - Decor 101


It's that time of year again..... BaCK to SCHooL!!  Seems to come around quicker each year.  Where does Summer go?  Almost time to send my 3 girls back to the classroom & I'm getting our house ready to hopefully get them excited about starting a brand new school year.  It all started off by decorating our downstairs mantel.  Showing off my obsession with vintage school supplies in a old school vibe kind of way.  

I love to decorate our mantels & wanted to show you step by step how you can create something fabulous in your home too on a mantel, shelf or ledge following a few simple decorating steps.  I'm calling it Decor 101 to get us in the spirit of things.  
 1- Start with a clean slate.  I always love to clear EVERYTHING off the mantel, dust it & get it all ready to load up again. 
{I get asked all the time what color is our mantel, I can't remember, sorry.  After the painter was finished.  I scuffed it up, roughed the edges & stained it with a dark walnut stain.}

2- Find one great object to serve as focal point for the center your mantel. In this case it is a vintage school chalkboard I scored at a local flea market for only $20.  SCoRE!  Serves at a great backdrop for everything else. That vintage yummy green color gets me every time. I knew I wanted something positive to write on the board & wrote this saying.  Good reminder not just going back to school but everyday.

3. Get all your "stuff" together. It's always nice to get a group of things together that go with whatever theme you are going for on your mantel, shelf or ledge.  Whether you use it all or not it doesn't matter.  It will save you time in the long run to just see what looks good together.  Always nice to have a variety of things to draw from. 

4.- Create levels!!  This is the best way to add visual interest to any display.  I like to add height to the corners of my mantel.  It kind of serves as a book end to the whole display.  Books are a great way to accomplish this.  I look for books with great titles, art work & color.  Love the stack of these books & what they say.   Look for them at the DI, yard sales, vintage shops on IG are a favorite place for me to find them lately.

 On the opposite end of the mantel I used vintage flashcard boxes to create another level & book end. Vintage records are a great thing to buy if you see one in great condition & has awesome color & artwork.  Some of my favorite things to collect because they are unique & good sized. 

5- Add a personal touch. I always like to add photos to my decor, just makes it feel homey that way. This is a frame I made years ago & a picture of my 3 being silly & cute at a back to school photo shoot.  They are some of my most favorite pictures of them.  INVEST in photos of your kids & family.  They will be treasures for years to come.  Adore this alphabet paper & how it looks upon a stack of books

6- Then comes the fun part.... accessorize!  Fill in the blanks, stuff things here & there to create a flow from one side of the mantel to the other.  You want your eye to start at one end of a display & travel all the way across to the other side.  This is where you can really have some fun!  I always say you can never have enough, the more the better.... as long as it is keeping with the theme.
Be sure to always set up & step back. Take a minute to look at it, rearrange or see if you like. It's a process.

I enjoy hunting for old clipboards & then putting a fun saying on them, they are fun to create.  They will be for sale at The Fall Hive coming September 17, 18 & 19th at my home in Mountain Green.  Watch for some info, times & giveaways as it gets closer.
-Got this vintage ruler in Vermont this summer & I've been smitten with brass apples lately too.  Purchased all of them from social media, via Instagram & Facebook-
-This might oak saying just be one of my favorite things ever.  So stinkin' cute! This was the last piece of the puzzle I added to the mantel, the perfect finishing touch-
Once you're done accessorizing it's time to step back & take another look before you move onto the final step. 
7.- Banners & garlands!  The finishing touch. You can never have too many & there is always a reason to put one up, especially when it comes to Back to School.  I always like to start with a great, grab your attention one to hang up first to start with.
Follow the rule of 3.  One garland on it's own looks good, two ever better & three well.....
FABULOUS!  The more the better. This fun ruler one will be for sale at The Fall Hive along with lots of vintage flashcards you can use to create your own garland if you'd like.  I simply got some string, paper clips & the cutest tiny vintage flash cards & put it all together in a snap!
Love how it all turned out!

Hope this has helped you fill like you can tackle your mantel or space & inspired you along the way too. 

Have a great day. 


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