Neutral Winter Mantel Decorating Ideas

Ideas for decorating and styling a neutral winter mantel that will also work for Valentines Day, using handmade items and vintage finds. 

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Hi friends and welcome to the first Thrifty Style Team post of 2022! We are a group of DIY and home decor bloggers who are passionate about budget-friendly decorating. Each month we share our ideas with you, led by Julie at Redhead Can Decorate.

Click here to see past TST projects

I love seeing what the team comes up with each month and I know you will find some great ideas to replicate in your own home! If you're new here, I'm Cindy. I love finding creative and inexpensive ways to make a beautiful, cozy home and I love finding vintage treasures, whether it's at the thrift store or even shopping my neighbor's discards (in fact, I just found an Ethan Allen dresser I can't wait to makeover!) If you love budget friendly home decor projects and ideas, you're in the right place! I hope you stay awhile and check out more of my projects!

I can't believe winter is nearly over and I haven't shared my winter mantel yet! I'm going to remedy that today with a mantel that has since transitioned from winter decor to Valentines decor with the addition of a few simple crafts.

Click here to see my entire Valentines collection

Winter/Valentines mantel

I was wiped out after Christmas because we had all been sick with the dreaded C, so my winter mantel looks very similar to my Christmas mantel. I simply swapped out the Christmas-y decor for more neutral items that add a cozy feel.

Ever since I took the plunge and painted my fireplace with chalk paint, it's one of my favorite areas to decorate. If you have a dark or dated fireplace, I give you permission to change it! The process was simple and my huge fireplace was transformed in less than 3 hours! This is my favorite white chalk paint.

Vintage items on mantel

Because my fireplace is now light, I always use greenery and some darker element to add contrast and I love to use something large in the center as a focal point. The turquoise painted window makes me smile because it reminds me of the day I came to be in possession of it. Are you ready for a little story?

My in-laws live in North Carolina and back when we first moved to Tennessee (I know what you're thinking..isn't she from Texas? We have quite a journey, and you can find out more here if you're interested in knowing where we've lived and why we've moved so much! In fact, we've got another move on the horizon...more on that in another post!) we made the drive a couple times a year to visit. I was a brand new blogger, decorating a new home. My mom in law knew of my love for old vintage windows (and the fact that I hadn't been able to get my hands on any yet), and she talked to her neighbor, who had several piled up in her yard. The next time we visited, we walked up the road together and spent some time admiring Louise's yard (she was an avid gardener) and her new plants. We eventually got around to the topic of decorating and windows and why I wanted some. Sweet Louise let me pick out two to bring home, and I've had them ever since. The paint had long since chipped off this one so I gave it a distressed coat of, at the time, my favorite color. You can read about that project here. Louise just died recently, and I'm so glad I have this lovely memory of a kind and generous woman!

The window makes a charming focal point for my winter mantel display, and I've added several other vintage pieces to my mantel.

The vintage clock is one I grew up with, I can still remember the daily gonging as it chimed the hour. I inherited it when my parents passed, and painted it white a couple years ago. You can see how I painted the clock here. Funny thing is, I don't think I've ever used this mantel clock on our mantel, LOL, so this is a first! And she looks like she's right where she belongs, doesn't she?

I'm an avid collector and have quite a nice milk glass collection. I gathered some of my milk glass vases to use on my winter mantel. I just realized I forgot to add the rest of the candles (face smack). Oh well, you get the idea! To use a vase as a candleholder, I have a little trick.

Tip: Wrap the base of the candle with tin foil until you're able to insert it in the vase and it doesn't fall to the bottom! Sometimes if the hole is quite large, I'll start off with a long and narrow section of paper towel and follow that with the foil.

On either side of the antique window, I propped up one of my small DIY wood quilts. These were a fun project when we first moved here to Texas. I had just completed a huge red and white Ohio Star DIY barn quilt to hang on my in-laws garage, and wanted to create something similar for my home but on a smaller scale. Click here for the tutorial on the small barn quilts.

It's been chilly in Texas, and when I photographed my mantel it was in the low 30's, so a fire was definitely in order! We don't actually get to have a fire very often, and I get seriously giddy when it's cold enough to turn it on! If you live in Texas (or anywhere in the humid south), you understand this!

neutral winter decor painted fireplace, vintage crock, wood bead garland, greenery

I used the DIY white crackle beaded wood tray that I made for only $20 on the herringbone coffee table that Mr DIY and I made last year (see that project here). I always love to bring out my easy farmhouse heart coasters once Valentines rolls around. They are so easy to make, and we love that they absorb any moisture from a glass. I need to make some round ones to use all year.

Neutral Valentines decor and DIYs

I was able to easily add some neutral Valentines decor to my winter mantel. The eucalyptus garland and the white wood bead garland both stayed in place, and I simply added my salt dough hearts that I recently made.

I painted the larger hearts with white chalk paint, and they actually look like plaster close up! I simply tied them to the beaded garland. You can see my salt dough hearts tutorial here. If you've never made salt dough, it is so easy and uses just flour, salt and water. It's a great project to do with kids...just make sure no one decides to nibble the dough!

The wood bead hearts were another winter craft and I'll be sharing that tutorial next week on Valentines day! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—

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I always decorate my hearth because it's so large. My vintage crock is usually filled with flowers or greenery, but I wanted to change it up and set a wreath and candle on top. Because the vintage crock is open at the top, I needed to figure out a way to keep the candle in place. Here's my easy trick to cover the open end of the crock.

Tip: use a cake stand to display a wreath and candle on the top of a crock! The base of the cake stand rests in the hole of the crock, just make sure your cake stand's surface is wide enough to rest on the rim of the crock.

I hope this gives you some ideas of how to use your vintage pieces to decorate a winter and/or Valentines mantel!

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Pin it to remember ๐Ÿ’—

Make sure to visit the rest of the Thrifty Style Team below. They are super talented ladies and I know you'll be inspired!

Thrifty Style Team February project collage

More Thrifty Style Team projects

DIY Beautify - you are here
Postcards From the Ridge - DIY Glass Cloche plus Styling Tips
The Tattered Pew - No Sew Pantry Curtain
The Cottage on Bunker Hill - Textured Heart Wall Art
I Should be Mopping the Floor - 5 Last Minute Valentines Printables
Amy Sadler Designs - How to Make Leather Napkin Rings

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Oh Cindy, everything is so lovely! I adore that garland and that crock leaves me green with envy!

    1. Thanks Laurie, currently on the hunt for more crocks!!

  2. Your winter mantel is so cozy and pretty! I love the story behind that pretty window. And you know I love your milk glass!

  3. Milk glass lovers, unite! Love seeing your beautiful collection displayed on your fabulous winter mantel!

  4. What a beautiful fireplace, Cindy! I could cuddle up here with a book anytime. I love the wood block quilts, especially! xoxo, kristi

  5. So fresh and sweet for the new year! Love your vintage mantel clock:)


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