Decorate a Mantel in Rich Autumn Colors

Simple ideas to decorate a Fall mantel layered with rich autumn colors, texture and budget-friendly natural elements.

Has fall weather showed up where you live? Or at least cooler temps? We don't typically cool off significantly here in Texas until November, but if I waited, I'd miss decorating for Fall and have to jump right into Christmas!

Welcome to the August edition of Pinterest Challenge, hosted by our amazing leader Cindy of County Road 407. We are a group of bloggers who are passionate about decorating! Each month we work from an inspiration image to create our 'take' on the original. This is a great way to see how different people interpret design and decor and should give you some great ideas for decorating your own home! You'll find the links to all the bloggers posts down below.

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If you're coming over here from Sweet Pea, an early Fall welcome to you! I'm Cindy, a self-professed DIY and home decor addict! You can read more about me here and find out why this Canadian girl is sweating it out in south Texas!


This month's inspiration image is from Janelle Trinket and features her beautiful fall mantel. She has great style and I love all her fall decorating ideas!

These are the elements that I took away from this image to recreate in my own home:

  • large focal piece sign
  • larger element on either side
  • pumpkins on tall candlesticks
  • warm wood tones
  • beaded element

Now let me show you how I included these elements to decorate my fall mantel. But first, please be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook - and if you're not already a subscriber, CLICK HERE to join my tribe! That way you'll be the first to know when I post a new DIY project!

How to decorate a mantel in rich Autumn colors

Ever since I painted our brick fireplace, it has been a joy to decorate, especially for the seasons! It was a great way to disguise the dirty and dingy brick. You can click here to see how I used chalk paint to update our brick fireplace - including some scary before pictures.

1. Large, focal piece sign

The first item I added to my mantel was this jumbo sized blessed sign (see similar here and here) that I've had for years. It's not strictly fall-related, but none of my fall signs were large enough and gave the right feel. I don't decorate for Halloween, so the entire season of fall feels more like Thanksgiving around here, which I don't think is a bad thing! The rich tones of the wood frame really help to create warmth.

2. Larger element on either side

In Janelle's image, she has a large clear glass bottle filled with autumn leaves on one side and a lantern on the other. I recently found this beautiful wicker wrapped bottle (see similar here) at the thrift store, and I filled it with some autumn leaves that are very slim pieces of wood in browns and creams. I think that the colors work perfectly here. On the other side, I used a tall rattan vase (see similar here) with metal handles that I scored from HomeGoods several years ago. It adds so much texture to my autumn mantel!

3. Pumpkins on tall candlesticks

I love how Janelle used pumpkins on tall wood candlesticks to create height. I did the same thing using two different pumpkins and two different candlesticks. The wood pumpkin (another HomeGoods find) is on a gray metal candlestick that I thought about painting darker, but in the end ran out of time. Looking at the pictures now, I like the contrast between the darker wood pumpkin and the lighter color candlestick. On the other side, I used a wood candlestick paired with a dollar store foam pumpkin that I antiqued a couple years ago. It's a far cry from its bright orange beginnings 😍

4. Warm, rich autumn colors and wood tones

One of the things I really love about Janelle's mantel is all the warm, rich colors. I hunted through my fall bins and pulled out anything I thought might work. Last year I used copper pumpkins on my mantel as well as my dining table, but I wanted to focus more on earthy, dark tones contrasted with lighter ones. Translation: I wanted to use brown! Brown and I have a bit of a history, and it's not a happy story ( click here to read about my little brown horror story! )! I tend to shy away from brown but I was excited to use it for this year's mantel!

Looking at my current mantel, only 4 things are truly "Fall" - the maple leaf stems, the 2 pumpkins and the tall wood picks. Everything else has the right textures to really work. I was able to achieve some of that really dark autumn color by using dark amber glass bottles. Last fall, I shared a surprisingly inexpensive source for amber bottles! In fact, you probably already have some in your home and don't even know it! I found the round amber glass jar at Goodwill early this summer and knew it would be great for fall decorating. I added some burlap leaf picks to the bottles. I also laid a couple fall stems across my mantel, like Janelle did. 

The small cream flowers are made from Sola wood (find them  here). I love the intricacy of them and how they contrast beautifully with all the warm rich autumn colors on my mantel.

5. Beaded element

Janelle has a white pumpkin on layered goodies on her coffee table, including a large round beaded tray (see similiar here). I loved that look and wanted to recreate it in some way. I found small beaded wood candle plates at Hobby Lobby, and bought them in a couple of sizes because they were 50% off! I used them under my candlesticks on the mantel, to add a little more texture, variety and those warm wood tones. I know I'll be able to use these all year long.

I also recreated the pumpkin on the coffee table using what I had on hand. Can you believe I was ready to toss this pussy willow wreath? I found it at the thrift store long ago, but had never really used it. Turns out it made a great base for my layered pumpkin centerpiece. On top of the wreath I used a chunky wood charger, then placed a large pumpkin and wrapped a beaded garland around it. The beaded garland has my fluffy farmhouse tassels that I made from dollar store mops!

The pumpkin centerpiece is on the DIY herringbone coffee table that Mr DIY and I made together this spring! Back to that pumpkin for a quick sec. Have you priced large pumpkins recently??? I had sticker shock when I went searching! There's no way I was going to pay $20 for a pumpkin! I ended up finding another way but it required a little DIYing to get it to look like this πŸ˜‰ Let me know in the comments below if you're interested in how I created this large farmhouse pumpkin for only $6 and I'll put together a tutorial!

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Next up on this Pinterest Challenge tour is Kristin from White Arrows Home. She lives on a beautiful lake in a woodsy cottage and you're sure to find her steps to decorating a fall mantel helpful! The full line up in below and I know everyone would love to have you visit and leave with some inspiration for decorating your home this Autumn!

Pinterest Challenge Fall Mantel

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  1. Your fall mantel is gorgeous, Cindy! I look forward to seeing more of your fall decor over the next few weeks.

    1. Thank you my friend, I'm looking forward to seeing more of your fall decor too!

  2. Hi Cindy, Love it. Agree with the wood tones. Okay I have a future post on where to find amber bottles. I have the same recycled soap dish! Great minds! it looks great! I need to switch out a few things on my mantel! xo laura in Colorado

  3. Absolutely gorgeous. I love that you create a similar arrangement on the coffee table too. Very pretty.

  4. Cindy,
    Your mantel is gorgeous as I knew it would be. You are so talented! So fun doing these together!

    1. Thank you Rachel, I really enjoyed this decorating challenge - probably bc Fall is my favorite!!

  5. Cindy,
    Your mantel is beautiful!!!!!! I love all your decorating. I've been following you for a few years now and enjoy receiving emails from you I would love to know the secret on the pumpkin. I know it had to do with paint????? You car really paint some ugley ducklings into beautiful swans!!!! I do love your tutorials when you find a good thrift purchase and change it to look like a million dollars. Send us the tutorial when you get time. I love the beaded coaster. I might have to look for some of them. Happy fall Cindy and look forward to what you will send us next.
    your friend,

    1. Thank you so much Jean! I'll be sharing the pumpkin tutorial in the next few weeks... I'm hoping to do a video tutorial, so be on the lookout for that πŸ˜‰

  6. Love your mantel, so pretty. Adding the wicker elements gives it a special touch. I adore your coffee table pumpkin and wreath too. It is so similar to the inspiration - great job.

  7. Love your fall mantel Cindy, and I can't believe how well you nailed the pumpkin arrangement on your coffee table! It is gorgeous!

  8. Wowza, what a fantabulous job of recreating the challenge. Love the mantel and the centerpiece. I never thought of beads but it's perfect! I checked out the before post on the mantel too. The before wasn't as scary as I thought but the after is amazing. Great job. Thank you for joining us. Everything turned out beautiful. Pinned

    1. Thanks so much Cindy, the fireplace looked worse in person, so dark and dirty! Painting it was the best decision and probably also the cheapest and easiest! Win win win πŸ˜‰

  9. What a gorgeous mantel!! I love your brick treatment.

  10. Cindy, Your mantel is just so gorgeous. I just love the treatment that you DIYed to transform it. Everything just looks so beautiful against it.

    1. Thanks Christy, changing the fireplace has lightened up our entire living room! I'm so happy I did it!

  11. Cindy, your mantel is so warm and welcoming. I love all of the textures and colors, and you have some amazing thrift store finds!

    1. Thanks Angie, I've had to limit my Thrift store runs bc I was finding so much good stuff!

  12. Love your mantle! This is my first visit to your blog, I followed all of the links to see how everyone decorated their version of the fall mantle.
    Yes please to the $6 pumpkin tutorial! I have a bunch of the small cheap $ tree pumpkins but I’d love to have some bigger prettier ones.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Mel, I'm working on a tutorial now - may shoot a video showing my process! I've also got a fun DIY stem to share πŸ˜‰ So happy to have you following along!

  13. Oh my Cindy!! I love what you've done with your mantel... I find it so interesting that each of us can take the original idea and totally run with it in so many ways! I like that you've added a lot of texture with the woven olive jar and the other pretty woven jar's cover. And isn't it nice that you kept the fluffy wreath?? It's perfect with the pumpkin on the coffee table!

    Yes, I'd like to see how you whitewashed your pumpkin and what you used as your pumpkin! Also, I'm off to read how you made the mop tassels... My prayer beads could use some "pretties" on its ends!

    Happy fall decorating,
    Barb :)

  14. I love your fall mantel, but your pumpkin table centerpiece is stunning! Thanks for sharing.

    Niky @ The House on Silverado

  15. Beautiful fall mantel! It's understated and doesn't scream fall. :o) I'd love to see a tutorial about how you made the large farmhouse pumpkin.

    1. Thank you so much! I'll be sharing a video tutorial for the pumpkin soon!

  16. Would love to know how you made your beautiful large pumpkin!!!!

    1. Of course! I've shared the video here for the pumpkins and this video shows how I made the stems


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