Time for my junk and vintage inspired fall mantel decorating ideas. I gathered my favorite all time best of the best Fall mantels here all in one place. My latest favorite junk find is the rusty iron gate now sitting in the place of honor on our fireplace mantel this year. You never know what crazy thing I’m going to use as home decor. You guys probably think I’m a little nuts.
Junk And Vintage Inspired Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas
I first spotted the little gate at a local indoor flea market and passed on it. Actually there were two of them. I know, gates sometimes come in pairs. The gates were $10 each and I passed on them. When I was in the shop last week the gates were 50% off. I took one and knew it would be perfect for the mantel. Do you guys see the bits of green paint? That was the main selling point for me.
Rusty Gate Mantel Decor
I actually forgot to get photos of the gate before the clean up. I used Simple green to remove the dust and cobwebs then spruced it up with Howard’s Feed n’ Wax (here on Amazon). The gate is made of iron, not wood, but I use the feed n wax on just about everything. The gate was the first piece on my Fall mantle and I built around it. The wreath on the left came from the same flea market the same day and is was $8.
Have you ever seen two wreaths on the mantel at the same time? Me neither until now.
When it's time to change the mantel decorations I decide on a color scheme and a focal point piece (in this case the gate), Next I shop our house and the workshop for anything I think might work with the color scheme and the season (this time being Fall).
For our Fall 2020 mantel I decided to go with my favorite Fall colors in muted tones. I tried adding the wood pumpkins I just made to the mix but the orange was too bright. The wood pumpkins stuck out like sore thumbs with the rest of the mantel decorations.
The dark blue window frame came from my favorite junk shop. I took it to my booth to sell then when I decided on the color scheme for the Fall mantel I went up to the shop and brought it home. The wreath hanging from the window frame came from Hobby Lobby…..I think. The “Happy Fall Y’all” tea towel came from Ross.
Favorite Junk Items
The green lantern with broken glass is from that big auction buy I made a couple of months ago. The painted canvas behind the lantern came from the same flea market shopping trip as the gate. The colors and the pretty scene were hard to resist. The painting was $12 which wasn’t a deal or a steal. I bought it anyway.
The dark mustard colored metal box is a buy from the Junk Hunt Hwy 79 yard sale in Arkansas. I was in Arkansas visiting my parents a couple of weeks ago when the yearly sale was happening. I bought several things at the yard sale. The metal box was $5 and it had a few old fishing lures inside. That was a deal.
The copper container was also in an auction box lot. The burlap pumpkin was a Bargain Hunt store purchase a few years ago. The vintage framed bird picture was $5 at the shop where I have a booth. The vendor gave me a deal on it even though I didn’t ask and tried to pay the marked price.
How about the green flaky paint gasoline can? It was love at first site for me. The wood chip pumpkin is from Bargain Hunt too…..I think.
Vintage Inspired Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas
The velvet pumpkin has been around for a number of years and also came from a flea market. You guys know I hardly ever buy new. The pumpkin is sitting on some kind of weird three wheeled metal skate. I only have one of the skates.
More of my Fall mantel decorating ideas......
Check out a couple of mantels from the past.....
Pumpkin Overload Mantel from 2013. I went a little crazy with pumpkins. The wicker headboard was a find from the Nashville Flea Market. I love using unique items like the headboard on the mantel.
Decorating With Pumpkins - Junk Inspired Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas
I love the pair of vintage glass and yellow metal lamp bases. I’ve had them for awhile and haven’t decided what to do with them yet. Any ideas? I’ll just use them as pumpkin stands for now.
This is how the whole mantel looked. It's cute how those pumpkins are at different heights. Your eyes go up and down and up and down.
Pink Flamingo Fall Mantel Decor
My Flamingo Mantel from 2015 was a different type of Fall Mantel display! I went with non traditional Fall colors with this mantel and was very happy with the look. The Pink Flamingo painted piece is one I pulled from the garbage can at the shop where I have my booth. The lady who tossed it just wanted the frame.
She kindly gave me the painting. You can see it’s torn around the edges and has splashes of yellow paint in places. I didn’t care. I loved it on sight. It has been on the top shelf of the workshop, just sitting there so I can look at it. Well, I looked at it this week and had that ah-hah moment.
I used some 3M magic hangy things of some type….will have to look at the name for you…and stuck the painting to the rusty thing that I’m also in love with. Then I had to decide what else I had that would highlight the Flamingo. Not much. the rusty metal receipt holder, the pair of white cabinet doors, and the dried flowers are thing I already had.
I went shopping at the Southern Guthrie Flea Market and picked up the greenish planter for 50 cents, the velvet pumpkin for $4.95, the pink Flamingo on the stand for $1, and the tennis racket for $2. The blue pumpkin and the two small white ones were $3 from the local market. So for around $11 I decorated my mantel. Awesome.
I couldn’t believe it when I spotted the Flamingo on the stand. It was just too perfect. I call this project, decorating on a budget. It doesn't have to be expensive to be NICE. Most times I just shop my home or workshop for things to put on the mantel. It works. In the post below I tell you about how I choose a theme for each mantel redo.....
How To Decorate A Mantel By Theme, Color, And Focal Point
Step 1. Start with an empty mantel.
Remove everything from the mantel and hearth. This is the best way. If I start with a few things on the mantel and start adding or replacing things it doesn't work out as well.
Step 2. Decide on a theme and color scheme.
This is the most important step. Choose a theme like; pumpkins, flamingos, wreaths, frames, etc. Next choose your main focal point. It could be a large wreath, a pretty painting, or a set of shutters, etc. Then decide on your color scheme. Or you could start with the color scheme first then pick a theme. Whatever works best for you.
Step 3. Shop your home, workshop, garage, etc. for items that fit the mantel decorating theme.
Choose objects in varying shades of your color choice. Grab things you wouldn’t necessarily think of as “decor” and add them to the pile. Think....dishes, fabric, bottles, silverware, lamps, architectural pieces, etc. I gather a ton of things. Some I use and sometimes I have to hunt the house for more stuff.
Step 4. Start by putting your focal point on the mantel first.
Next add other things…. taking away, adding to, and swapping out as you go working different items around the focal point. You could also use multiples of the same item as a focal point. This idea works great.
Wreath From TJ Maxx (only new item in the display)
Step 5. Add Flowers Or a Floral Element.
It could be a wreath, a glass with faux flowers, a vase with real flowers, a potted plant....just make sure there is a floral element.
Step 6. Add Texture
Fabric is a great way to add texture to the mantel decor. You can also use magazines, lamp shades, velvet pumpkins, etc. Texture adds warmth to any display.
Step 7. Take a photo of the finished display (secret technique I mentioned earlier).
Although this is the last tip…it’s the most important. Taking photos as you go along…or when you think you are done…is the secret to the whole display thing. Have you ever looked at a photo taken in your home and thought “Boy that (fill in the blank) needs to be moved…or…”That throw does not match the couch”….. you get the idea.
I first noticed this when I was taking photos of projects and editing them for posts. I would think all my staging looked great but after looking at the photos I realized something was out of place, or there was too much of something, or whatever. That’s how I learned to take a photo and study the display. You would think just standing back and looking at the display would do it. Why can we see things in a photo that we don't notice in person, or however you want to say it.
My favorite find from last week’s junkin trip is the yellow earring holder. That little girl is so darn cute. The wreath is the only new purchase in the lot. I usually make my own but I was in TJ Maxx a couple of weeks ago and spotted this one. It was a pretty good buy at $24.99. The pumpkins came from a local vegetable/flower market. How do you like the way I left the pumpkin au naturel....in this instance meaning.....wi
Eclectic Fall Mantel Decor
This is how our fireplace has looked for the past few weeks. I started taking a piece or two off of the mantel to use in photos and then dropping things off on the hearth as I brought them in to the house. Poor JTS, he never knows what to expect when he walks in a room. Sometimes a whole room will be in disarray because I’m talking photos of a project. And the room might stay that way for days.
Yesterday I decided it was time to take care of the fireplace mess. The push to redo the mantel came when I bought a new junk treasure at my favorite junk shop on Saturday.
This is how the mantel and hearth look now. It took me about an hour to put it together. Once upon a time it would have taken hours and hours. The metal junk sign is brand spanking new. The JTS and I hit the road for a few days on a mini vacation. I bought the JUNK sign in Pigeon Forge, TN at a flea market. I mean…..it’s me. The price was $12.
The framed tapestry is my latest junk shop purchase. It was $15 and the colors are what caught my eye. The brass pieces on the corners of the frame are horse heads. The piece came from an estate in Hopkinsville, Ky. That’s all I know about it. The green wreath has been on the mantel for a few months now. Why not hang it off center over the framed tapestry. You can see the red barn in the center of the wreath.
When decorating the mantel I usually start with the focus piece which in this case is the framed tapestry. Then it’s all about the colors. I shop my house to find fun unique pieces that go with the color scheme of the focus piece.
The hubby and I were married in Hot Springs, Arkansas 37 years ago. I bought the Hot Springs license plate at a flea market in Arkansas earlier this year. The green bottles are also from the junk shop. This is there second (maybe third) appearance on the mantel.
The faux pumpkins are thrifty purchases from a couple of years ago. The vintage scale found at a local flea market/antique shop best I remember was around $10. Really good price. Moving on to the hearth…..
I bought this rusty vintage scale at Alyssa’s Antique Depot in Pace, Florida (where my painting furniture/junk booth adventures started). The framed print is from Habitat Restore.
The vintage butterfly ashtray came from where else……my favorite junk shop. The black shoeshine box was an auction buy.
Rustic Neutral Themed Mantel..
This mantel was inspired by the architectural piece I found at my favorite junk shop. I decided to go neutral working from the colors in the wood piece, mainly greens and off white.
Vintage Inspired Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas
An antique door knob back plate looked perfect hanging in the center of the green frame. I played around with the ice cream bucket, the vintage turquoise refrigerator bin, and the stool in various scenarios but nothing worked. For fabric I ended up with the pillows that match our armchair. The chair and pillows are about 15 years old.
Find my 2021 Mantel Decor here. Find 15 DIY Fall decorating ideas here...15 Fall Home DIY Decorating Ideas
As always, thanks for being here, Kathy
Author: Kathy Owen (Petticoat Junktion)
Kathy is the founder of PetticoatJunktion.com, a home décor blog focused on repurposing and upcycling furniture, old hardware, rusty stuff, and thrifty finds into unique home décor. Kathy’s projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Read more about Kathy here.
Great design eye. I'm loving it all. Thanks for posting at Funtastic Friday.
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon
Love the green lantern! What a beautiful color. I also love the gold box. It is fab!!!!! Love the rusty items:)
Deanna D Combs
Like you, I love to decorate the mantel. And....I hardly ever buy new anymore. Lol. Love all your treasures and how you put them together so beautifully. You certainly have the eye for finds and all the loving details that make your everything come together.
Love it! You are sooooo creative!
Love it! i think the green gas can may be my favorite! i do believe you need a deeper mantel! i once flew from California to take in a Hwy yard sale that ended for us in Nashville. It was so much fun! Enjoy your fall!
I'm looking for another mantel! Thanks
The blue frame & the rusty green gate are a match made in heaven! I love the two wreaths and the rest of the rusty & earthy goodness you used to decorate. I see absolutely nothing wrong with putting the gate on your mantel. You have a very good eye for pulling things together!
The two wreaths doesn’t look overkill at all. I like how you put that all together. I really like the towel over the frame idea.
I always love your mantle decors, but this one is my fav. Love the two wreaths they give good balance to the squares. The gate is wonderful, I don't usually like rust so much. But in this case, it works! I have never seen a blue truck, they are always red on those t-towels. Love it!
Thank you Jane. I love decorating the mantel. When I first started decorating my mantel years ago it would take me hours to get the look I wanted. Now it may take 30 minutes. I guess I've learned a few things over the years.
Love it! So many possibilities. And I love conversation starters. Seems to relax people as they come in
Yes! Thanks Bev.
I especially like the blue frame.☺
I love this display! The gate is awesome. You certainly have a knack for making unrelated items look like they belong together 🙂
I love this so much!! The window and the towel are perfect with the awesome gate and other things. Wish I had a mantle...
Hi Noelle, If you have a wall mounted shelf, bookcase, tabletop, dresser top, something similar you can make a "mantel" display. Give it a try!
Love it! That gate is awesome! Great mantle display!
Well, Kathy, if this 'nuts' as you put it, then nuts is good! Such a good arrangement for this time of year - the old metal looks autumnal. Love it!
Yes, I love Autumn. Thanks for the comment Bobby.
love it all!!! I love to decorate my mantel, etc....but once the coder weather comes....everything goes and out comes the log holder and the fireplace tools. great job(s)!!!
Thank you Carol.