How to Decorate when you don’t have a Mantel

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

I don’t have a mantel. Actually, none of the homes we have lived in have had a mantel. We live in a sub-tropical part of Queensland, Australia called The Sunshine Coast, we are known for our beaches and temperate climate…’s not all sunshine and perfect weather, we have our fair share of storms and the occasional cyclone off the coast (we are entering summer here and we frequently get storm warnings, generally in summer we get a late afternoon storm most days….when you live here long enough you come to expect it and welcome it after a looooong hot day). Needless to say we don’t really get cold winters here so fireplaces are not called for, not that you can’t find homes with fireplaces, but really all you need here is a good blanket! It definitely keeps the cost of heating low……we have never owned a heater and as far as I am concerned we never will. But, regardless of all that I still wish I had a mantel, I love looking at all the home tours and seeing how people decorate their mantel seasonally. I know I am not the only person out there wishing they had a mantel so I thought I would share some different ideas for decorating without a mantel and show you what I do in my home.

6 Ideas for Creating a Faux Mantel….

  1. Probably the most obvious thing you can do to create a mantel is actually build or install a faux mantel…..I love this idea and it had actually crossed my mind a time or two with our previous homes. You do need a wall and space for it and in our small home space is hard to come by.
  2. When you don’t have the floor space for a faux mantel you can always create a mantel shelf on your wall, this is such a great idea for people with smaller homes where space is at a premium.
  3. Take a prominent piece of furniture in your living room like a sidetable or sideboard and make it into a mantel (which is exactly what I do in my home) with a little bit of styling you can create a focal point in your room.
  4. Mantels don’t always have to be tall you could make a gorgeous mantel from a low lying table or vintage trunk. The key to creating this look is making sure there is space around the item so that it is visible and has the opportunity to draw the eye. In our previous home I created a mantel from our vintage travel trunk, it was my favourite spot to decorate.
  5. I love hutches and they provide a huge amount of space to use as a mantel of sorts….think of all those levels of styling you would have!
  6. A chest of drawers can become a mantel, any flat surface that has a prominent place in your home can become a mantel.

For those of you that want to see visuals of all these ideas I created a Pinterest Board for “Faux Mantels Ideas” you can find that here.

I know how hard it is not to covet what other people have, but sometimes you just need to look around your home and make the best of what you have. The whole idea of creating a mantel is to create a space that draws your eye as you enter the room. In my home that space has become our vintage oak sideboard, I love switching and moving things around as my mood changes, it has become the perfect spot for me to express my creativity and do my seasonal decorating. I encourage those of you who are mantel-less like me to find that spot in your home (if you have not already) and make into that focal point.

Here are a few ways I have decorated my faux mantel……

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to Decorate when you don

And…..this is how it looks now……

Colour Saturated Life | Farmhouse Styled Faux Mantel

I used a collection of vintage items I had plus some new glass bottles I just bought to make a more collected look. We have moved out the large portrait of my husband and daughter as I have new plans for the wall behind the sideboard, plus I was bored with the look. I love shopping my home for items, it is the easiest and cheapest way to get a fresh look.

Colour Saturated Life | Great tips and advice on creative ideas on decorating your home when you don

Colour Saturated Life | Decorating your home when you don

Colour Saturated Life | How to decorate without a mantel

Colour Saturated Life | Farmhouse Styled Faux Mantel

How gorgeous are these vintage soda bottles…..I love the variations in the colours.

Colour Saturated Life | Decorating your home and creating a focal point when you don

Colour Saturated Life | A beautifully styled faux mantel with lots of tips and tricks

Colour Saturated Life | A Faux Mantel with lots of vintage touches

Colour Saturated Life | I love this post on how to decorate your home when you don

I have been making a few changes around here, as I mentioned in a this post I was not really happy with how some parts of our home were looking so in between all my projects and furniture makeovers I have been rearranging items and rethinking spaces which is where this post came from. This is me working with what I have!

I also wanted to let you know about a new blog development…….starting this Thursday 8pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) or Thursday 6am (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) – depending on your timezone! I will be Co-Hosting a New Link Party “Brag-Worthy Thursdays” with five other bloggers and we want to see what you have to offer! I am so excited to be part of a link party and I cannot wait to feature some of your incredible work so make sure you post it in your calendar so you can join in, I would love to see you there. Plus, as further incentive to kick off our first link party we are giving away a $100 Target Gift Voucher to one lucky reader! (residents of U.S. only – sorry!) I hope to see you there!

bragworthy link party graphic


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  • Kate - October 15, 2015 - 9:09 pm

    That piece is gorgeous! And I love this idea of creating a focal point without needing a mantel. I live in small home as well and I’m definitely going to implement this! Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Shonee - October 15, 2015 - 2:49 pm

    Girl you nailed it. I love every single one of these pics! Love your style!

  • Brooke Riley~Re-fabbed - October 14, 2015 - 11:33 pm

    This is a great article, Gilly! Everything is absolutely beautiful, and so true. We can still have beautiful spaces without a mantle, but sometimes people are so focused on that one piece that they forget how to be creative with what they do have! I am also so excited that you will be doing the link party. I will certainly be seeing you! Have a great day! 🙂ReplyCancel

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