Tuesday, September 10, 2019

An Early Fall Mantel Refresh

Summertime is  quickly coming to a close and with that it is time for a mantel refresh at our new home! Come along and check out what all is going on...

One  of the things I really love about this new-to-us home is our living room mantel so I'm trying to really get in here and change up the decor more often. Make this place comfy and cozy so that when we come home and friends come over, it is always welcoming!

I found a few goodies at Target in the dollar section this past week and the black and white checked pumpkins set the tone for this mantelscape. I haven't really decorated with black and white before so I thought I'd challenge myself to incorporate it into my usual Shabby French style.

Until we can repair the wall where plugs used to run through for a television above the mantel, I always have to be mindful to put something in front of the ugly white plastic cover. Searching around the house for items with black, I pulled in this old candy tin which I have had since my mother turned over sewing to me when I was very young. With its beautiful roses painted on tin it is the perfect piece to place near the middle.

I began thinking about October coming and Halloween and went looking through all of our books for props. A couple of semi-spooky stories I have had since I was in grade school are placed over on the right side of the mantel. 

Nancy Drew Mysteries are perfect for bringing in that fall fun feel! The books' yellow color brings in the pop of color I was looking for to balance the muted fall colors and the black.

Trying different looks

On the left side of the mantel I tried out a couple of different looks. The first is with this purple candleholder my mother-in-law found at their IOOF thrift shop. She thought I'd love to use it in my decorating and she was right!

When I first saw it I immediately thought of fall and fun dusky candlelit evenings... One of my first posts five years ago was a candlelit mantel at the Big House and I have missed a mantel filled softly twinkling light...

Keeping with the mildly spooky theme I thought of doors and locks of a haunted house so adding in a door escutcheon and vintage door knobs add extra charm.

This ironstone pitcher with colorful fall blooms was the second look I tried. Even though this mantel look is asymmetrical I needed to balance the height of the black sparkly Target tree placed on the right side with something taller on the left. 

This is ultimately what I decided to go with (for now) until I find the right vase or lantern to finish out the left side. Not perfect but getting closer.

Decorating challenges

Playing around with a couple of books as lifts was a small challenge. The mantel's top is narrow so each book had to be just the right width to fit the space. I love the look of books without their bindings but I won't rip off covers of good books just to create a look so I went with turning a couple books around instead.

The mini velvet, checked and real Baby Boo 
pumpkins make this a fun spot! 

This is a mantel with a lot going on but I like it for its difference from the summertime mantel look or from the patriotic mantel that was up earlier. 

I am loving this fall look ~ perfect with bits of autumn color!

What's next at French Ethereal?

I have a few pillows that I'll be sharing soon which will tie in with the black and white theme for the living room. Check back soon for that post in the next couple of weeks. 

I am just about finished with the t-shirt quilt for our son so I'll be sharing it.

And I am the chairperson of an upcoming IOOF event with a Downton Abbey theme so look for a post (or two) sharing what all went on there soon!

Happy  fall  decorating!


  1. Who does not love your refreshing home interior? The style is very unique and special, I like it definitely! Waiting for your next share!

  2. Beautiful mantel Barbara. I especially like the black and white pumpkins and how you incorporated yellow with the books. Happy fall dear friend!

  3. Hello, Who does not love your refreshing home interior? The style is very unique and special, I like it definitely! Waiting for your next share!home buyers

  4. So nicely done Barb! I particularly like the black and white check pumpkins. And, the Nancy Drew books tugged at my heartstrings! Growing up I read every one then published. I still have several, including the first one I ever read --- Mystery of the Dancing Puppet.

  5. Lovely, Barb! You have some beautiful pieces and I love how you integrated the books on the mantle!

  6. Nothing better than some Nancy Drew! Pretty mantel. Love the black and white check pumpkin.

  7. Gorgeous style and textures! You have a real talent for design, Barbara. I am looking forward to Downton and have been re-watching the series in preparation for the movie in a few weeks.

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  9. What a pretty colleciton. I adore your tin! The Costumers are having a Georgian picnic in November. We are celebrating Marie Antoinettes birthday. https://www.dfwcg.org/

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Barb :)

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