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Ideas for Autumn Mantel Decorations

Updated on November 30, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Rustic things appeal to Virginia Allain. Farmhouse decor takes us back to our country roots and connects us to our ancestors.

A subtle pattern in the quilt makes a good background for the autumn branches, little pumpkin and the pewter vase. The big sunflower adds a color punch to this mantel display.
A subtle pattern in the quilt makes a good background for the autumn branches, little pumpkin and the pewter vase. The big sunflower adds a color punch to this mantel display. | Source

Create a Pretty Fall Mantel Arrangement

A fireplace gives a room a focal point. It also gives you a great place to display seasonal decorations.

Usually, the furniture in a room is arranged with the fireplace at the heart of the room. Creating a harmonious selection of autumn pieces is a perfect way to celebrate the season changing from summer to fall.

The great part is that your display can incorporate some Halloween elements and later Thanksgiving pieces to get maximum mileage out of your selection.



Rustic Crafty Pumpkin for the Mantel

Real pumpkins are fun, but you have to worry about one getting rotten and ruining the wood of your mantel. Look for wooden or metal shelf-sitter pumpkins will last for years. These pack away compactly until next season since they are usually pretty flat.

Make the Autumn Mantel Stretch from September to November

Start out with fall-themed decorative items on the mantel in September. By subtracting a few things and adding in bats or black cats or decorative spider webs, it becomes a Halloween-themed mantel in October. Then, it's time to transition to Thanksgiving. Just a few changes (plus removing the spooky touches) and you have your November mantel ready to go.

Decor Items for the Autumn Mantel

Fall
Halloween
Thanksgiving
Scarecrows,
Bats, spiders, witches, black cats, ravens, skeletons,
Pilgrims, Indians, turkeys
Words: Happy Fall, It's Fall
Words: Happy Halloween, BOO,
Words: Happy Thanksgiving, Give Thanks, Be Thankful
Candles (white, yellow, orange, brown)
Candles (white, black, orange)
Candles (orange, brown, gold, yellow)
Natural: leaves, gourds, pumpkins, vines like bittersweet, feathers, dried seed pods, sunflowers,
Natural: carved pumpkins,
Natural: gourds, pumpkins, leaves, cranberries, bittersweet vine, apples, lemons, pomegranates, pineapples, nuts, dried ears of corn,

Lightweight Faux Pumpkin with Silk Leaves in a Narrow Basket

The little tin doesn't have anything to do with autumn, but the color is perfect to combine with this vignette. Groupings like this look more harmonious with an odd number of pieces and different heights to balance it out.
The little tin doesn't have anything to do with autumn, but the color is perfect to combine with this vignette. Groupings like this look more harmonious with an odd number of pieces and different heights to balance it out. | Source
Gail Martin and Virginia Allain - ready to start decorating for autumn.
Gail Martin and Virginia Allain - ready to start decorating for autumn. | Source

Mother - Daughter Decorating Team

I learned from my mom about adding seasonal touches to the home. She always had the flair for combining a few things she had or making something new just for the season.

I'm not nearly as crafty as she was, but think I inherited her love of display. People usually compliment me on my holiday and seasonal arrangements.

(photo of Mom and me from the family album)

Add Some Seasonal Vines - Like Bittersweet

Sure you could go find some of these in the woods, but why risk getting poison ivy. This faux bittersweet vine adds color and a natural look to your display. You'll get years of use from it.

I remember hunting in the woods when I was a child for these. They make colorful arrangements for fall in the house.

Decorate the Mantel or a Shelf with Bittersweet Vine

CWI Gifts Pumpkin Pip Berry Garland, 4-Feet
CWI Gifts Pumpkin Pip Berry Garland, 4-Feet

This is quite realistic and brings that natural fall color into your living room. I like how full it is. Dress it up with the addition of some yellow leaves and some acorns.

 

Do You Decorate for Autumn?

Vote in the poll

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YouTube Video on Decorating the Mantel for the Holidays

I love decorating our home for Autumn time. There are so many gorgeous things to decorate with at this time of year and lovely colours. You have some wonderful and beautiful ideas here.

— RaintreeAnnie from UK
Assorted gourds and miniature pumpkins make a colorful display in a vintage wooden bowl.
Assorted gourds and miniature pumpkins make a colorful display in a vintage wooden bowl. | Source

For Variety, Try Gourds and Odd Sized Pumpkins - Display them loose or in a shallow basket

Look at the variety available. These store easily to use again next year. Check your local farmer's market for miniature pumpkins and odd types of gourds. When using real gourds, be sure to put plastic under them in case one should go rotten. You don't want to spoil your wood mantel. (I've had this happen to my dining table, so I know first-hand that you must keep a close eye on natural decorations and protect from possible mishaps).

You can also opt for these faux gourds with no such worries.

Faux Gourd and Pumpkin Assortment

Factory Direct Craft Autumn Mixture of Assorted Gourds and Pumpkins for Table Scatters 12 Pieces
Factory Direct Craft Autumn Mixture of Assorted Gourds and Pumpkins for Table Scatters 12 Pieces

Another assortment but without the pine cones this time. These are lightweight and quite realistic. I've had mine for years and there's little that can go wrong with them.

 

Craft Your Own Pumpkin

The pumpkin below was made with a length of clothes dryer hose (the kind that vents the hot air from the dryer).

  • Spray paint the dryer hose orange
  • Attach the 2 ends together to form a circle (pumpkin shape)
  • Find a short stick in the yard to use as the pumpkin stem
  • Use dried fall leaves or artificial leaves from the discount store or a craft store like Michaels.
  • Use a craft glue to attach the stem and the leaves.

Pumpkin Made from a Clothes Dryer Hose

My mother made this with orange spray paint, a thick twig and faux leaves.
My mother made this with orange spray paint, a thick twig and faux leaves. | Source

You'll Find Inspiring Videos for Decorating Your Fireplace - YouTube Videos

I like quick and easy tutorials on video. Guess I'm a visual learner. Here are some good ideas from YouTube.

YouTube - Ideas for a Fall Mantel Display

Add a Mantel Scarf with a Fall Theme

Park Designs Pumpkin Harvest Mantle Scarf
Park Designs Pumpkin Harvest Mantle Scarf

This one has a rustic, homespun look to it that teams up well with fall leaves, gourds, pumpkins, bittersweet vines and other natural elements that we decorate with in the autumn.

 

Using Lights, Leaves to Create a Fall Display (video tutorial)

No Plug? You Can Still Add Lights to the Mantel with These Battery Powered Ones

[Remote and Timer] 36ft 100 LED Outdoor Battery Fairy Lights (8 Modes, Dimmable, IP65 Waterproof, Warm White)
[Remote and Timer] 36ft 100 LED Outdoor Battery Fairy Lights (8 Modes, Dimmable, IP65 Waterproof, Warm White)

Unroll these lights and twine them into your fall garland or leaves on the mantel. It doesn't matter if there is no electrical outlet nearby, as these operate on batteries. There's a timer to turn them on and off.

 

Storing Fall Decor

How long should you keep your fall mantel displays in place? Some people already have their Christmas decorations up by the last week of November, but I wait until after Thanksgiving to put away my fall decor. I love having the fall colors of orange and rust fill the house on Thanksgiving Day.

Tomorrow is December first, so I brought the storage tub in from the garage and filled it with baskets, leaves, and pumpkins. The pumpkins have jack o' lantern faces on one side, but after Halloween, I just turn them backwards to use for the month of November.

There are some burgundy and yellow silk mums in there too. I have to crush the leaves down a bit to close the lid. Now autumn is safely stored until next September.

My Stash of Autumn Decorations

I get these out every fall and usually add a few more pieces each year. Now the tub is full to the brim, so I'd better not acquire anymore pieces.
I get these out every fall and usually add a few more pieces each year. Now the tub is full to the brim, so I'd better not acquire anymore pieces. | Source

© 2013 Virginia Allain

Tell Me about Your Plans for Decorating for Autumn

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    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      3 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I love the autumn colors - and your decorating tips look awesome!

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