As soon as the Christmas mantel decorating came down this weekend, I was feeling the need for a trash to treasure mantel. What can I say… I was craving my rust and wood. 🙂
How to decorate a junk style mantel? Easy! Layer, stack, move around like minded clutter until it feels right and there you have it.
However I dug down a little deeper today, so here’s the wordy version of how I do it:
I look at shapes of things. The window is square so I soften it up with circles and straight lines rising outside the window itself to break out of the box configuration. A surplus comes tumbling out at each end as well.
The light trick
White mini Christmas lights were tucked in behind the works and wound up into the lamp to help brighten things up. Lights are my secret weapon often because of the dark fireplace, otherwise elements can simply disappear. They sure cast a neat glow in the evening.
Like minded elements
Bringing like minded elements together is what makes this work. In fact it was very hard to go wrong. Love those rustic woodsy tones!
It’s actually quiet and subdued. There’s lots there, but it doesn’t scream lots because the darks and lights are close in colour tone and texture.
Watch for overload
Heavy decorating on a fireplace mantel is one exception I make. I generally have a sparse hand, but if something isn’t in the way, I go to town.
But you can overdue it. I have a fanatical eye (that is both a blessing and curse) and one extra thing just makes it look jumbled. It’s hard to explain.
Say you have two cups on a table. You decide to add a glass coaster under one cup but realize it ruins the clean lines of the cup. That’s how I’d feel if I added one too many elements to something. You’d think it would get lost in the shuffle but it stands out like a sore thumb to me.
But I always try. I get to the point of too much, then take away, rather than having to add. Go big or go home! 🙂
Here you can sneak a peek at the lights behind the pulley. It glows much brighter in person.
Working in layers offers more dimension without feeling ‘too full’.
I don’t have any official training in this. And I don’t even know if it’s right!
But for my junk filled home, it’s perfectly trashy perfect. And free. 🙂
more mantel decorating
more junk decorating
40 thoughts on “How to decorate a junk style mantel”
Absolutely love this!! Aged wood, rusted metal, glass . . . yummy!! Thanks for the great tutorial!
Just brilliant! Thanks for the tips – I appreciate knowing how you make the junk-magic happen 🙂
Your mantle is fabulous!! It is done with a very sophisticated eye and a sure hand. I love it!!
It looks fabulous and your fireplace with the rugged stone and beam is just made to be dressed up like this. I wonder if you knew that when you had it made, that you’d be junking it up.
Looks awesome. You have a great eye for design.
This is awesome, but I have a big, honking TV in the middle of my mantle wall!!
It looks right to me. I don’t think this sort of thing can be learned. Yes there are principals about odd numbers, triangles and layering. But I think you’ve got it down perfectly.
By the way, what is your wall colour?
My mantel suffers from the same post Christmas disorder. Actually it suffered from it before Christmas too. Good timing on this post, I had “mantel” on my too do list. Now I have a road map for it, thanks.
Only you could make barbed wire look pretty!
Love it! Thanks for the tips! I usually end up with too much symmetry with my mantels. I can’t get that matchy-matchy thing out of my head! – Lori
The trick to avoiding symmetry is only allow yourself one thing of each item making it impossible to repeat what you’ve just done. Funny how our minds work… symmetry is the one thing I tend to avoid! 🙂
NI—CE DONNA!!! Good job!!! I just feel sorry for that little birdie that is going to try to take over that cute birdhouse. Your kitty I am sure will be on watch. You have the type of mantel and fireplace that the rusty stuff looks good on.
Absolutely love it, it’s perfect. I totally love all the junk you used….one of my favs…the barbed wire.
I like how your design follows the shape of the stonework in the background. It sort of frames in all the pieces to form a picture in itself! I just love all the different things you’ve used.
Gorgeous Donna! 🙂
Beautiful! It’s like a work of art all in itself. I love the one bit of color too…the yellow license plate and your advice on symmetry was spot on! I’ve had that problem my whole life…thanks for solving that one!
I know exactly what you mean about you just know when it doesn’t feel/look right. There are a few spots like that in my house now but I can’t take the time to make them “right” at the moment but they grab me every time I walk by. And it does take me a long time to do stuff…like your mantel. You gather, place, rearrange, remove, add, switch, rotate, stand back and look…. multiplied by 100! LOL! Sometimes the littlest area can take me hours! But lately I just keep going because I want to get this place on the market and sold so I CAN spend hours and decorate how I want to without approval by buyers or real estate people,,,and trust me…they would not approve! LOL! Thanks for your great advice and beautiful mantel!
I know I shouldn’t be surprise about anything you do, but I am. Another great display. If I did this and got as far as you, I would have taken the jar lid wreath on the left and stood it up so that it would be more symmetrical. I keep having to fight my left brain. Sometimes I leave stuff lying around my house and that seems to be the best place for it. Maybe because it is not studied. When can I buy an eBook from you? Ann
Now I am not a rust and wood kinda girl but even I can see this is a charming display. Thank you for sharing the intuitive ways you brought it all together.
looks perfectly fabulous.
You are just amazing girl! You gots moxie! Love checking out what interesting things you come up with! You have a gift!
it’s perfectly drool worthy 🙂 in my book that is!