Fall Mantel Assembly – Step by Step

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Photo sources in titles of photos.

This week, we’re talking about decorating your mantel for fall. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to have such an amazing area for our fall displays, but you can still take the concepts and integrate them into other areas of your home. What about a coffee table? Bookshelf? Or even your bed’s headboard? Think wide areas with room for height above them.

When beginning, start by picking one large focal point. This will set the theme and tone for your mantel. In our photo collage, you’ll see a variety of examples: mirrors, vintage windows, or maybe something that you picked up at a “junkin'” event or in Second Chances, the vintage shoppe in our lower level.

Some mantels have a large piece of fabric-covered or paper-covered board that helps bring interest and depth to the mantel. This works especially well if you have a large, empty wall behind your fireplace or a deep mantel to decorate. Check out the photos above for ideas on the backboard if you feel you need more depth.

If you want to use a runner on your mantel, look for a piece of fabric with some texture. The colored burlap we blogged about a few weeks ago would be a great addition to a fall mantel.

Next, add some height to the display by looking for pieces that are shorter than your focal piece, but still relatively tall. Candlesticks, vases, antique jars filled with leaves… these all work well. You can also add framed prints or coffee table books at this stage. If you want to include a tree branch or other nature item (tree stump, oversized pinecone, etc.) think about them at this stage.

Add medium height objects next. These things may be a little wider than the second layer.. for fall, think pumpkins, old books stacked on top of each other or baskets. As you’re adding to your mantel, think of creating an odd number of groupings. Small groups of one, three, or five objects in various heights, widths and textures work well.

Finally, add your finishing touches. Perhaps it’s a leaf garland, a pendent across the front of your display, word art or small knickknacks that have meaning to you and your family. Some mantles are very full and some very sparse. The key is to leave lots of “white space” (as they say in the design world) or none at all. A medium-full mantel looks half-done.

If you have a hearth, make sure not to forget about it! Add a larger basket out front with interesting, colorful pieces in it (gourds, yarn, antique toys) or a magazine rack filled with something more attractive than glossy magazines! Think about pieces in your home that you could move in front of your new creation to add character and change things up a bit – an antique chair, an umbrella stand… move things from one place in your house to another just to add some interest!

Do you still need a focal piece or some fall garland to make your mantel decor complete? We’d love to help! Bring in a photo of what you have so far, and we’ll help you find your finishing touch!

– Julie


Fall Fruit on Your Tables

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Although a batch of pumpkin bread sounds delicious (yumm… can’t you just smell it coming out of the oven?), this post is about fall fruit on your tables… for visual appeal!

Pumpkins and gourds are always popular during Iowa’s amazing fall seasons, so how do you put them to good use in your decor? The trick to decorating with fall fruit is to mix other accessories into the tablescape you are creating. Whether the gourds are stacked in a glass vase to display their natural beauty or painted for a unique look, they almost always look better when paired with other pieces.

To get the perfect look, it’s always easiest to just do a little mixing and matching in the shoppe.

1. Pick your pumpkin (or gourd) based on your preference for color and texture. Here’s a great gourd guide!
2. Decide where in your home (inside or out) you’d like to spice up your centerpieces.
3. Bring your selection into the shoppe (or bring a photo if the actual items are too big!).
4. Find a vase, candlestick, platter, bowl… whatever you’d like to hold your treasures.
5. Browse around for silks, vines, burlap, etc. that will compliment your design.

We look forward to seeing what you’ve picked out!

Happy Fall! Julie

P.S. We picked some of our favorite uses of gourds and pumpkins to show you in the photos above and Better Homes & Gardens has 29 more ideas!

Words on the Wall

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It’s no surprise to me that word art is one of the most popular items in the shoppe. Each sign has a saying that speaks to its new owner almost immediately. You walk through the shoppe, reading each one, until there it is – one that you connect with. Sometimes it’s immediate; sometimes it takes many shopping trips. I have one customer who finally found the word art piece she was looking for after five years of hunting! What a joy to help her complete her decor!

I once found a quote by an unknown author that said, “The words we say will teach if we practice what we preach.” Many word art pieces do just that. They guide the way we want to live, reminding us to practice what we preach. The font on the the print, canvas, or chalkboard… whatever the words may be living on… matches our personalities, matches the values we want to live!

Have you found the perfect word art piece? What does it say? How has it changed the mood of your room? Of your life?

Hoo Likes Owls?

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It seems like no matter where you look these days, there are owls everywhere! From jeweled owl necklaces to bedding sets to t-shirts, many retailers are bringing the 70’s trend back to life.

Whether it started with Harry Potter or Legend of the Guardians a few years back, or just comes with the natural cycle of decade decor, the cute, fluffy birds seem to have some staying power. We love them, and the shoppe is full of them. From owl prints to live-looking owls that can sit in artificial Christmas trees, they’re all over the store!

If you need some ideas on where to use owls in your fall decor, let us know.

Click on any of the images below to start your brainstorming. Owl be there to help if you get stuck! Julie