When less becomes more, with a moody winter mantel

Moody winter mantel, with branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Watch out world… I’m in a colour-less mood.

Even more so than normal. 🙂

This can change at any given moment of course!

Once the Sleigh Rides Christmas mantel came down, the mantel actually sat bare for awhile.

A reset, if you will. I was just done seeing ‘stuff’.

What was so attractive about ‘bare?’

Invisible. Didn’t grab my eye. But the bare mantel looked like I was moving house and home. Not very cozy at all.

And that’s when this easy, little brainstorm hit. 

“Blend things INTO the fireplace maybe…”

tone on tone decorating, with a moody winter mantel of branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
A moody winter mantel was the result.

Funky oil funnel lamp tutorial is HERE

tone on tone decorating, with a moody winter mantel of branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
tone on tone decorating, with a moody winter mantel of branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
So I alternated woodsy wood through antlers, aged, knarly branches, an old window, with a tiny bit of added sheen from beat up galvanized buckets, and that was enough.

I tried adding more, but it looked busy. I tried adding less, but it looked empty.

This. Was. Enough.

So how do you know when to stop? Or keep going? Or even know what to do, period?

I say, it just depends what vibe you wish to give off. Lots can look good, but so can much less.

But I do think more minimalist decorating takes practice. You just have to get a vibe for when to stop. Because the more you put up, the more the stuff talks. So then you need to compensate for all the talking by giving it a little more breathing room around it.

Oh yes. It talks.

Imagine being in a party room stuffed with lots of people.

People need space… and so does our stuff.


tone on tone decorating, with a moody winter mantel of branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Now… I was happy with everything, but it was a little plain.

The crate drew too much ’empty’ attention, so I got down on my hands and knees, and did a 30 second rustic crate treatment with Lake Rentals.

tone on tone decorating, with a moody winter mantel of branches, antlers an old window and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Another tip:

Alternate texture with smooth, shiny beside dull… and just play until it looks interesting to you.

And this may explain why my last kitchen sign worked for me too. Colourless! Hmmm…

winter mantel with colourless, dried hydrangeas and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net

winter mantel with colourless, dried hydrangeas and galvanized buckets / funkyjunkinteriors.net
It made me think of this winter mantel I did last January. Same theory, but last time, it was packed to the rafters. 🙂

Proof that lots, or little can work. It all depends what you’re going for.

But I admit, I’m rather enjoying the challenge of less colour and less stuff. It’s very different for me!

What’s your present style at home? Less, or more?

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Fireplace mantels, Junk Drawer, Seasonal, Winter
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  1. Hi Donna! Enjoyed the post. I get what you mean by adding too much stuff to something. As I get older I am leaning more towards an understated look, but It’s a learning curve. I add, I take away. What I really like is your dried hydrangeas on your mantel from last years post. But the textures and colors do tie in well with your fireplace and the surroundings. Maybe the desire to keep things simple stems from our insides. Life and its pace can be dizzying and demanding and to visually take in something not so demanding is settling. For several years I craved color everywhere. But no more. Our trees that we planted thirty years ago are finally big and the shade makes the rooms darker and I miss the brightness. Can I ever be satisfied. Yes, I can. I’m now putting white on walls again and I love it. The right shade of white, I have learned, makes all the difference. And thank you for all your wonderful pictures that show white can be colorful! Know what I mean? Now I need to learn how to fill in holes so when I paint they don’t show so much. I have a lot of holes. Do you have to do that too? Thanks and have a wonderful day!

    • I’d love to know your fav shade of white! I’m currently using white straight out of the can! 🙂

      Yes, I have lots of holes each time I paint. I use drywall filler, then prime the entire wall to get the texture and coverage all on the same page. Then roll with paint. It’s worth it.

      I can’t say I’m the very best at hole filling though, you can usually see where the hole was in just the right light, but whatever. I generally hang something else up there anyway!

      I like your analogy of what your insides are striving for. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Chaotic life just demands less stuff around you.

  2. Formerly I would have said “eclectic” and meant “cluttered”. Now that I have done my first round of Konmari and discarded at least half my stuff (which still scares me but six months later, I have missed nothing of what I threw out). Now I would call my style “uncluttered, recycled and thrift shop” with an outdoorsy air to it. Less is definitely more these days.

  3. Love the mantle! I am so ready after 2+ years of renovating to get into the decorating stage. I want to create a new style, Irish Farmhouse. Ever since recovering from the masectomy, I have wanted to infuse my Irish heritage into everything! Love the rustic, crisp, clean look.

    • Oh Maggie, this is the hardest time ever! But the rewards are nearly there for you. Just think of how pretty everything will finally look with your renovated backdrop!

      It was so frustrating trying to decorate in an un renovated space. Nothing really shone. Yours will! Excited for you!

    • It’s very different! But I’m really digging the ‘breathing space’ my home is beginning to have. I intentionally leave some walls bare now, so one focal point can grab the main attention until you find the next. Play around and see how low you can go! 🙂

  4. Hi Donna: I know exactly what you mean about too much “stuff” & wholeheartedly agree. Both of your mantels are just absolutely perfect! It took me a few tries before I was done with my mantel this month and I’m still not sure if I’ve nailed it!

    Your comment – “breathing room” – reminds me of two homes I once was in. One house had paintings on EVERY single wall space on the main level (I’m not referring to a stylish grouping on one wall)! You could barely see what color the walls were & also couldn’t appreciate any of the nicer art because it was all so “busy”. The other had knick-knacks on every table surface resulting in no place (at all!) to sit down a drink. More than a few people struggled to balance a drink & appetizer plate on their knees. In my opinion, I feel you really have to keep “function” in mind when decorating to make guests feel comfortable & instead of putting out all your treasures at once, perhaps rotate the pieces each month or so. Maybe I’d better go take a second look at my OWN mantel again. lol!

    • Haha, oh I know exactly what you mean! It’s for this reason I rarely decorate with pretty just because. Each ‘thing’ has to actually serve a purpose, more than just to look at. I flat out don’t have the room for much else.

      I do think it’s possible to do both though. You can have decorative and function in one fell swoop if you give the ‘thing’ a reason or purpose to be there.

      For example, we have a small side table in between two chairs in my living room. It looks bare by itself, and rather cluttery with all the remote controls on it. So I added a cute wicker basket to stash the remotes / movies in.

      One just has to be truly calculated with everything you put out.

  5. It’s beautiful. I think at this time of the year we’re quite ready for an understated look. After all, we’ve gone from the fall look, Thanksgiving look, and into the busy Christmas look. It’s the right time for the quiet winter look. As we all know, spring will soon be dazzling us and the ‘look’ we want will be full of colour. This is our quiet patient interlude that comes before our glorious spring season.

    To be honest with you, I actually just clumped around yesterday to do the same thing (recovering from major foot surgery but it HAD to be done!). Only difference is my branches have a dark maroon colour to them. Now I’m going to sit and wait for spring to arrive.

  6. Hi Donna,

    I’ve recently just started following your blog and have to confess I get a little bit gitty when I see notification in my email from Funky Junk.
    Finding my rhythm and beating my own drum with design and creativity has been an awaking of sorts, which means I’m pretty much starting with a clean slat. I love reusing and upcycling so seeing your pictures has really be inspirational for me.
    I recently repainted my fireplace from a dark to a lovely bluish/turquoise and I love love love it. Brought in some tree limbs and starting using my reclaimed fence wood to build shelves. I’m also learning that grouping is very important especially with my eclectic collections.
    Thank you and I’m very much looking forward, already, to the next blog.
    Teresa

  7. Give me less any day! It looks beautiful the way you have it now. Too much feels like clutter which I totally dislike. Minimalist is the way to go for me 🙂

  8. Hi, I’m going to add a similar fireplace mantle. Do you know how the top and bottom pieces are attached to the stone and if they’re attached to each other and how? I’ve put off this somewhat straight forward DIY project as I don’t want to put in the time to create it then sit around because I’m not sure that it will hold up! Thanks!!