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How to Easily Decorate Your Mantel for Early Fall

I love decorating my mantel for the seasons. Let me show you how you can easily decorate your mantel for early fall. This mantel idea can even transition into your Thanksgiving mantel.

Do you struggle with decorating your mantel for different seasons and holidays during the year? Let me share with you just how easy it is to decorate your mantel.

If you need ideas to help you transition at this time of year to fall, let’s start with my ideas to decorate your mantle for early fall. Since we are in the early stages of transitioning for fall, I like to use a softer palette and simple accessories.

How to Transition the Mantel to Early Fall Decor

I’ve been sharing a few fall decorating ideas the past week. I’m just barely getting into the idea of fall, so for now, these ideas are from last year. Because these ideas are what we call “evergreen”, I think they are as good today as they were last year.

I had already shown our summer to early fall transitional coffee table. (There is a printable of tips you will like.) This is what our coffee table looked like last year before I began to change it to an early fall look.  It was very coastal, all pastels and aqua and sea glass.

With the changing of the seasons, it is now time to change the mantel to be more in keeping with the style of the coffee table and feel of early fall.

coffee table with books and candles

TIP: Although I don’t show it here, I recommend taking everything off the mantel to start with a clean slate.

I removed everything except our tall (and heavy) carved vintage candlesticks. I bought those several years ago at a resale shop for $50 for the pair. We had just moved into our home and I knew that they would be perfect in size and style for our mantle.

I also wanted to try the leftover table leaf from our estate sale teak table restoration. For a few weeks,  it sat on the console table in our breakfast room.

wire basket display and weathered shutter

I love this piece and wanted to give it a prominent place on the mantel.

How to Start Decorating Your Mantel

First, bring in all the decorations that you will need for decorating your mantel.

We keep our holiday and seasonal decorations stored in clear plastic bins and bags. Why?

  • They are lightweight
  • They are see~through
  • They are inexpensive ~ find them at Target, Lowe’s, or Joann
  • They are mostly airtight

In decorating any area, starting with your largest item first is the easiest way to arrange a room or a tabletop vignette or a mantel.

  • Placing your largest item, whether it be a sofa, table or tray, helps you focus on the area you have to work with.
  • It is easier to move smaller items than larger items.
  • Your larger items are the ones that catch the eye first ~ your focal point.

Since the table leaf (Should I now call it a shutter?) is my largest item, I set it first on the mantel. For now, it is leaning against the Tarkay painting that we bought on a cruise in 2005.  That wasn’t the best option but Sweet Shark wasn’t at home, and I cannot take the picture down on my own. I would just decorate around it for now.

Get Your Design a Dynamic Fall Mantel in 5 Easy Steps. This Printable will give you ideas for styling a mantel and the steps to achieve it.

Filling in Your Mantel for Color, Texture, Symmetry and Balance

Once your largest items are in place, start adding smaller (which is relative) items. What items should you add? Your smaller decorative pieces should add at least one of these elements.

  • texture
  • pattern
  • color

Within the space of the mantel, your items may either be asymmetrical or symmetrical. With a symmetrical arrangement, each side of the mantel would have an equal number of items. Each side would be a mirror image of the other.

In an asymmetrical arrangement, the mantel would have an odd number of items. They would be arranged differently on each end of the mantel.

Whichever arrangement you use, the combination of your large and small items should create balance over the entire mantel.

How I Arranged My Fall Mantel

Back came two stacks of books, but this time they had more texture. One stack I covered with burlap several months ago and one stack I tied with jute. Both of those materials have the colors and textures of fall.

Next, I added back the vintage spindle candlesticks, a purchase on sale two years ago. The natural wood finish transitions easily from summer to fall. Obviously, there is a big contrast in style and color from the large carved candlesticks, but the natural neutral tones work well together. With so much natural wood, I needed to add a little shine.

From the boxes of fall decorations, I found 5 gold~painted pumpkins (originally orange) that have long wires attached. I stuck the wires through the slats of the shutter.

These pumpkins contrast nicely with the matte wood finish of the candlesticks.

early fall mantel with teak shutter on mantel with pumpkins

Then I cut some faux leaf vine garland into 2 pieces and wrapped them around the spindle candlesticks. I’m not sure I love that look, but for now, it will work.

fall vinves around wood candlestick

Remember my wire basket update? I filled that basket with a bunch of metallic pumpkins that I had spray painted a few years ago.

Was I finished decorating my mantel for early fall? Not quite. Also in my fall box was a banner that I made last fall, using burlap, wood, jute cord,  stencils and ChalkArt from A Makers’ Studio. I love banners and this is one of my very favorites. It will never go out of style.

Can you see the balance in my fall mantel? It is has a symmetrical arrangement.

early fall mantel with teak shutter on mantel with pumpkins
early fall mantel with teak shutter on mantel with banner
early fall mantel with teak shutter on mantel with banner

Add a Pop of Color to the Early Fall Mantel

Every arrangement needs a pop of color for interest and to draw the eye in.

For our early fall coffee table last year, I used darker shades of blue. I wanted to do the same for this fall mantel.

A quick trip to Target (It’s dangerous because Target is 4 minutes from my house.) yielded navy blue candles in 2 sizes. The mantel really needed that pop of blue. I may be adding more blue to the mantel as I find the right elements.

I have reused those navy blue candles several times since last fall. They are actually on my mantel right now. You just can’t burn them or the blue will melt away!

early fall mantel with teak shutter on mantel with banner

Decorating Below the Mantel

Because our entire fireplace is so tall, I wanted to add some interest and color below the mantel. When I searched through Pinterest for fall ideas (See my 15 fall decorating ideas.), I found a couple of posts that used chairs in front of the fireplace. I had the perfect chair.

We have 2 of these vintage rush~seat chairs. They have been in different places in our homes.

I have thought about painting them, but a good friend in the antique business told me not to. I took off the custom seat cushion and added one of a pair of pumpkin pillows in soft neutral colors that I bought at Tuesday Morning.

pumpkin pillow on vintage chair

Also on my Target shopping trip, I found 2 blue plaid shawls in the Dollar Spot. I have never seen shawls in the Dollar Spot and they were $7 each. I get cold watching TV in the evening so I love having a shawl to wrap around my shoulders.

The colors and the patterns were perfect to decorate my early fall mantel. Their wooly fabric also brought in more texture.

I bought the woven basket last June at the same estate sale where I bought the teak table for our patio. The tan and white shawl came from Scot’s Antique Show in Atlanta a few years ago. The patterns and colors work very well together.

blankets in basket for early fall mantel

One green potted plant stayed and I moved the other one into the breakfast room. I actually have a large blue pot that I painted early in the summer that I may bring inside. We’ll see.

blankets in basket for early fall mantel

That’s how to easily decorate your mantel for early fall. I kept the color pallet soft and natural and brought in the pop of blue for interest. My small items were a sprinkling of pumpkins in muted metallics, stacks of books, soft green from the faux vines and a potted plant.

At this point, I had not taken down the picture hook! I thought I would ask Sweet Shark to take it down. It’s easy to see how tall our mantel is and there is a ton of white space. As it turned out, we hung the teak shutter on the same picture hook.

Ideas from My Early Fall Mantel that You Can Use

  • use fall decorations you already have on hand
  • balance on the mantel
  • soft muted colors with one dominant color pop
  • metallics for interest and shine
  • natural textures in wood, burlap, woven basket, fabric, jute and rush seat
  • book stacks
  • a potted plant
  • a vintage chair
  • candlesticks for height
  • softness in the shawls
  • asymmetrical design on the hearth

I won’t get too comfortable with my mantel for early fall. There will be spiffing up and tweaking. After all, fall has hardly just begun.

I hope you got some good ideas for how to decorate your mantel for fall. Will you will love decorating your fall mantel with these ideas? I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks.

After you PIN this fall mantel home tour, I encourage you to see what my other Autumn Blog Hop friends are sharing. See the list of participants below. Start by visiting Shelley of Calypso in the Country.

pin for later graphic in blue
signature with fall leaf

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  1. Your mantel is just perfect for fall! My favorite thing is how you covered the books with burlap! That is a brilliant way to add a touch of fall to a few books anyplace in your home. Adding some vining greenery to the candlesticks soften the entire look of your mantel! I am wishing you and your sweet shark a lovely fall!

  2. Carol, I love your detailed decorating tips! The weathered teak table leaf makes a great focal point….and what a clever idea, too! Those large candlesticks were definitely a thrifting score and they’re just the right size for your mantel. The fall banner is the perfect finishing touch. It’s always a pleasure to take a tour of your home 🙂

  3. Wonderful mantel for transitioning into fall! The little antique chair with the pretty pumpkin pillows in soft blues first caught my eye, and I really like the greenery with bits of mustard and deep red berries on the candle holders. Those, and the banner act like a frame around the shutter. Carol, these are all great ideas to change out a home from summer to early fall.

  4. Carol,

    I just love your burlap covered books and the fall fun swag on the mantel. I learned some great tips for my mantel. So may cute ideas. Thanks for being in the fall home tour.

  5. It looks lovely Carol, the weathered shutter is a great backdrop for your metallic pumpkins and the chair and throws by the fireplace look so cozy! It’s hard to imagine curling up by the fire right now as we’re in the “dog days” of summer heat! Thinking of fall helps us cool down!

  6. Everything on the mantel looks wonderful Carol! Love that shutter with the pumpkins and the burlap wrapped books to add height. Thanks for sharing the process of how you transformed your pieces!.

  7. Carol, your mantel is perfect for this ‘in between’ time of year. Those candleholders were a bargain at $50 for the pair! I am envious that your television is not above your mantel like mine, and challenges the way I can decorate. The greenery you added is a nice addition and contrast to the little gold pumpkins! Hooray for fall!

    1. Chloe, thank you so much. Our mantle is way too high for a TV to watch comfortably. I really don’t like the TV showing either. Ours is an a custom built cabinet to the left of the fireplace so i can close the doors when I don’t want it to show.

  8. Carol, Your mantel looks really lovely with those tall candlesticks. I also love the old-looking chair by the fireplace, along with the basket of throws. A perfect touch for transitioning to fall, especially in Texas!

  9. I love your mantle décor! The banner and the blue candles are the icing on the cake. But then, I’m a color girl. 🙂

  10. Carol, I love that teak architectural piece! Great rustic contrast to the more pretty things. I love how you tied the pumpkins facing out; totally cool. The navy candles are a great addition to all the other colors. So pretty!

  11. How to Easily Decorate Your Mantle for Early Fall. Thank you for sharing excellent information. Your web site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website.

  12. Carol your use of blue for early fall is so perfect, especially in your home. I love the gorgeous candlesticks and stacked books and how you creatively displayed your teak wood piece. The little chair with the pillow is too cute, and I also love the blue plaid target shawl and your baskets.

    I appreciate how much time you take in your posts to really break down the styling. Very informative and well written!

    Thank you so much for joining the hop! Happy September!

  13. The mantel looks perfect as we transition between the seasons, Carol! The pops of blue with the pillows below look great. I did love that fall banner you made last year. Good to see it out again. I’m excited for the change in weather (crossing fingers) here in Texas, aren’t you?

  14. Your mantel looks beautiful, Carol, and is perfect for this time of year. I like the way you used the table leaf as a centerpoint and added interest to it with the pumpkins and I also love the pop of blue from the candles. The chair and basket of blankets are the perfect finishing touch for this pretty display.

  15. Carol,
    Your huge candlesticks are great on your mantel. Their size fits the proportions of your tall mantel very nicely. Of course, I love all the touches of blue and white.


  16. These metallic pumpkins are super cute Carol and I love your fall banner too. Everything on the mantel looks really festive. I know you’re going to enjoy it all season long. Hugs, CoCo

  17. I do love the added chair next to the fireplace! Everything looks nice and the dark candles really stand out. So lovely! Do you tweak and fluff during the season too? My mantel stays the same but my tablescapes usually change throughout the season. 😉

  18. Carol, your transitional color scheme works well on your mantel and coffee table, not only for early fall, but in blending with your existing decor. I like that. I like the teak shutter/leaf leaning. That’s always a casual, less permanent look, and keeps it flexible.

  19. hi CAROL! I love the fall decor! We took our middle son to the US Open last week. I think my new favorite lefty is Stan W. I love his scruffy beard and he just has so much swagger without being too obnoxious! We got to see Serena and Coco warm up next to each other.

    Laura in CO