Sunday, April 10, 2022

Vintage Cottage Weekend: Spring and Easter Mantels

Hi Friends, today I'm sharing a few photos of my Easter Mantles through the years. To be honest, decorating a mantel has always been a challenge for me, no matter what the season. One reason is that at two of my previous houses the fireplace and mantels have been ginormous... and since I'm a vertically challenged gal, that always meant dragging out a step ladder and climbing up precariously to make adjustments. The mantel at this current house has been so much easier to work with. No ladders here and slightly more compact in size so it doesn't have to be a monumental task. These first photos are from last year and I'm using my favorite Spring canvas sheep print, who has shown up on the mantel each Spring these last few years.

I have two very similar topiaries on a vintage book stack on either side of the mirror and print and my two antique concrete grazing sheep. Small artichoke statuaries are at the end of the mantel. I suffer from "symmetrical syndrome" when it comes to the mantel. I like things evenly distributed. Both sides of the mantel don't have to be identical, but I do like them to be similar in items, and visual weight. I get a bit thrown off when things are lopsided in decor. 

We hung up this heavy "French" mirror when we moved in and it's just stayed here. It makes a wonderful backdrop for other decor and reflects what little light we have in this space. It's too bulky and heavy to be taking off and putting back up, so it makes a great "frame" for other art and decor. 

I usually try to keep things orderly and not overdone up here, but I always end up editing, and reevaluating placement. Why is it we usually have one spot or task in decorating that can easily get the best of us? I'm in the process of figuring out a few things when it comes to decorating a mantel. I have a tendency to want to cover the whole thing, but I'm learning that it looks better to not do that. Here are a couple of tips that I've recently trying to be mindful of.

1. Have a larger focal point in the middle of the mantel, like a mirror,  painting, or framed print.
2. Don't try to cover the whole mantel... leave some space at each end.
3.Vary the heights, size, and shapes of your items.
4. Try to stick with a color scheme or use neutrals. Too much varied color can be distracting.
5. Consider a theme for smaller pieces.
6. Use the rule of 3 or odd numbers for groupings
7. Use book stacks to elevate pieces that need more height or prominence
8.I like symmetrical, but not identical. Use visual weight and size to balance things out.
9. Step back and eyeball your mantel. You can even take a photo to evaluate, and don't be afraid to edit. Oftentimes less can me more... and be open to reshuffle your items for balance and content.

Here is the mantel at the new house back in 2020 with some of the same elements. This is one of those rare "asymmetrical" moments when my print moved to the left. Not sure I let it set there for long, though.

One of the tricks of mantel decor for me is to have plenty of old book stacks to use for elevating individual pieces, and then trying to keep things relatively neutral in color.

These next photos were from our previous home... the original monster mantel. 

At our last house a few years ago, I was using this old window box for several seasons on the mantel. For a quick changeup for Spring, I used faux green hydrangeas anchored in vintage Mason Jars. I used my two vintage-look wooden cutouts on either end, PB lanterns and antique cherub candlesticks for a simple Easter look.

Our walnut mirror was anchored to the wall and our Script Monogram were a staple of this mantel for the 5 years we lived there. Here again, I liked using neutrals for my basic pieces, then changing out florals and accessories for the individual seasons.

That house was built around 2008, so it had the horrible mantel "TV niche". We considered boarding or plastering over it, but in the end just used the mirror to help disguise the "hole". Personally I don't want a big screen TV over my fireplace. It was way too high, we would have had a permanent stiff strained neck.

After Easter I just removed the vintage cutout critters and called it "late spring".

This year 2022, these two cutouts are in the Holiday Cupboard. They have really been  cute versatile vintage decor pieces to use multiple spaces through the last 10 years.

Here's another year that I also used these pieces along with my paper mache bunny
 and my two large Guy Wolff pottery vases.

I loved these faux branches decorated with hanging paper Easter eggs.

That year I used some big green checked burlap ribbon for the topiaries. I bought them years ago for one of the girl's weddings. I can't even remember which one, but I've used them for the last twenty years and they are still pretty. These topiaries are in the Living Room at this house on either side of the Dining Room entry.

Here's another version of Easter Egg "trees" on the mantel at our earliest blogging house. They weren't nearly as "full", but they were my first attempt. If I were styling this mantel now, I'd take off the lamps at each end, and might consider removing the bunnies too. 

While we're on Easter decor, here are two heavy lanterns for Easter with sheep and vintage rabbits, one of which was on the hearth in the Easter pic above. Use the same concepts concerning the hearth space on either side of the firebox. Don't overdo it. Like I said, I've often had too much going on. I'm a work in progress!

Be sure and click on over to Amber's where she shares some wonderful

I didn't do a specifically Easter mantel this year,
just a "Spring" mantel, which I'll share soon.
I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

We hope you'll come by and join in on the Link Party on Monday evenings.

joining in here:

The House on Silverado,  Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda
All About Home at Common Ground and Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
 Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch 
  Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life   Wonderful Wednesday at LeCultivateur 
Turnabout Tuesday at My Wee Abode,  Centerpiece Wednesday at Karin's Kottage
Share Your Style at French Ethereal,  Vintage Charm at Our Hopeful Home,  
Thursday Favorite Things at Follow the Yellow Brick Home,  
Create, Bake, and Grow at Shabby Art BoutiqueFarmhouse Friday at  County Road 407
Friday with Friends at My Hubbard Home, Fabulous Friday at Vintage Home Design
Friendship Friday at Create with Joy  Funtastic Friday at 2 Chicks and a Mom


  1. Happy Palm Sunday Debra. May you have a beautiful week as we slide on down to Easter Sunday. Love seeing your pretty mantel. xoxo Kris

    1. Hi Kris, thankyou, hope you're having a wonderful weekend full of sunshine and warm weather!

  2. Wonderful tips, Debra, and your mantel itself is lovely. I'm adoring all the vignettes (especially the sheep!) and of course I love bunnies, so those are darling. Have a beautiful week!

  3. Debra
    I love how this mantel came out! Its perfect for spring.

  4. Every mantel looks so sweet for spring! I totally struggle with mantel styling. I really think in this house less is more on the mantel. I try to stick with my year round candlesticks and moss spheres and just add in some seasonal elements.

    I can't pick a favorite of the mantels you shared. I always love your sheep themed spring mantels especially.

    How fun to see older photos for Vintage Cottage Weekend! Great post!


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