How to Use Vintage Items to Decorate a Mantel

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Looking for ways to refresh your mantel with a vintage look?  Check out my tips to decorate a mantel using some of my favorite vintage and thrifted finds!   I hope it inspires you to pull out your favorite vintage items and decorate a mantel too!

If you’ve been around for a minute, you already know how much I love using vintage pieces in my home decor!  When it comes time to decorate a mantel, my vintage treasures are the first place I shop!

Once Valentine’s Day is over, I am ready to put away all the winter decor and start adding some touches of early spring.  Before really incorporating any seasonal-specific decor, however, I like to create a “base”, so to speak, with just simple, everyday decor.

When I started to decorate a mantel this week in the family room, I had a few favorite vintage pieces in mind.  None of them are specific to any season and I love that it all came together to create a vintage vignette for the “everyday”.

When I started to decorate a mantel this week in the family room, I had a few favorite vintage pieces in mind.  None of them are specific to any season and I love that it all came together to create a vintage vignette for the “everyday”.  I’ll be able to add to this throughout the spring season to refresh my space, but the general look has been created with non-seasonal decor!

I’ll be able to add to this throughout the spring season to refresh my space, but the general look has been created with non-seasonal decor!

First step to decorate a mantel:

Choose an inspiration piece.

Anytime I want to refresh or redecorate a room, I start an inspiration piece.  It’s often as simple as a throw pillow or the color of a thrifted book!  For this refresh, I took my main inspiration from this gorgeous vintage basket that I found on a recent vintage shopping trip

I immediately knew I wanted it to be the focal point of my mantel and gallery wall for the spring season.  However, it isn’t even March yet and while I want some touches of spring, I wasn’t quite ready for all the blooms!

Living in Florida, we are fortunate to have green leaves year round, so I clipped some branches from the tree in my yard.

Tip: Tuck a jar or glass of water down in your vessel to keep greens lasting a little longer!

I love the simplicity of the branches to decorate a mantel and in a few weeks, I can add pretty faux blooms to give it a more vibrant spring style!

If you don’t have large, fresh greens available, these faux branches are large and beautiful! Or, bundle a group of these together to fill a tall vessel with realistic greenery!

This oversized basket was once used for harvesting grapes in France.  Now, it is a statement piece in our family room and it makes me smile!  While there are so many ways to style it, I am loving the texture and drama it adds to this spot, while keeping a simple look with the branches.

Use a variety of texture to decorate a mantel:

Choose complimentary pieces that give a variety of texture and patina.

While I wanted to add more to this gallery wall, I needed items that could relate in scale to the large basket and since the basket is centered, help keep the overall look from feeling too symmetrical.

It was the perfect chance to pull out a couple of vintage signs.  I picked these up from Havenberry Vintage and Rehab Vintage Market.  I love the simplicity of the black and white and how the text of the two pieces connect the idea of the vintage shop.

To keep some asymmetry and balance each side of the gallery wall, I added two thrifted frames and taped (yes, simple scotch tape will do!) some vintage botanical prints from Home Grown Studio.

These add that nod to spring decor without adding a lot of flowers and bunnies (those will come later!)

To connect the more Grand Millenial style of the frames with the rest of the gallery wall, I used two large, gold mirrors.  They are antiques that I scored at the thrift store for only $25!  They are definitely one of my favorite thrift store finds ever and I love the original, chippy patina!

Tip: Thrift stores are the perfect place to find mirrors and frames!  If you don’t like the color, paint can work wonders!

What goes on the actual mantel?

Choose pieces that vary in height and texture.

What I put on the actual mantel totally depends on what I have on my gallery wall.  For my spring mantel last year, everything went on the actual mantel!  You can find 3 spring mantel ideas over on this post.

For this everyday mantel styling, I have more things on the wall, so I opted for mantel decor that would just add a lot of texture and character, while still keeping a simple, cozy look.

Vintage books are my go-to for simple decor that still adds texture, character, interest, patina, and color.  I shared 5 favorite ways to decorate with vintage books over on this post!

I chose mostly neutral colors with just the faintest hint of blue-gray to give some depth and interest.

Tip: Standing and stacking the vintage books at different heights is a great way to decorate a mantel because it creates visual interest and a base for adding other decor items too!

You can find some of my favorite kinds of vintage books and instant collections HERE, HERE, and HERE!

Time for the finishing touches to decorate a mantel!

Choose little touches that hint at a season or story.  OR, accessories that tie all the other pieces together.

The finishing touches and little details are often my favorite part of decorating.  I love using smaller accessories to bring in seasonal touches and since Easter is a little ways off, I decided to keep some of the cozy vibes that these brass candlesticks and flameless tapers bring to our family room.

When adding in the small accessories to my styling, I also like to think of ways to use them to “pull it all together”, so to speak.  That could be with finishes, colors, textures, or even patterns.  To decorate a mantel, the details really count!

For my early spring mantel, I used the brass candlesticks to tie together the vintage frames and mirrors.  The final detail was to add a few of these little vintage brass swans!  I love the little nod to spring, though they aren’t really seasonal-specific decor.

I linked up a few vintage ones for you HERE, HERE, and HERE!

Tip: Once you’ve created a “base” of everyday decor, such as the basket, signs, and books, it is quick and easy to switch out the details for a little refresh or seasonal changes. 

I’ll definitely be adding more spring to this space and will share as I go.  But for now, I wanted to decorate a mantel with some early spring style and this is giving me all the fresh, light feelings!

Even though there are a few more weeks of winter, it can be a great time to start lightening things up a little, especially if you’re craving a little refresh!  A few ideas to keep in mind to decorate a mantel:

  • Repeat color, texture, and pattern throughout the styling
  • Think of creating an “everyday decor” base that will set the foundation for spring decor
  • Get a head start on that spring cleaning and lighten things up!

I hope you’ve found a few ideas here that you can have fun creating in your home, whether it’s to decorate a mantel, coffee table, or shelf styling!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Posts on Robyn’s French Nest may contain affiliate links. You can see our full disclosure details here.)

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