Mantel Styling Tips

We challenged bloggers to style a mantel in 30 seconds. See what they did and get their smart tips for decorating a mantel.

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House Tour: Blue Cottage

Take a cue from this cottage home on how to use aqua blue in varying shades as a colorful companion for flea market finds.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Shutter Panes

      Shutters and a front door painted in a pale aqua hue create a different look and feel for this home. No longer does it feel like a 1970s ranch; instead it looks like a little cottage, which is a reflection of its interior.

    • Living Blue

      Painting an old brown card table with cerulean aqua paint brought a splash of bold color to an otherwise mellow living room. Repeating a bold hue in a space filled with softer colors brings unity and makes the standout color look like it belongs. Here, the watery cerulean is repeated on the solid throw pillows and the back of the china cabinet. A slight variation in the shades lends well-placed eclecticism. A collection of antiques, flea market finds, and castoffs complete the cottage look. Discarded closet doors appear as wall art and white glassware brings a smooth texture to the weathered wear on the furniture. A white slipcover on the sofa imbues casual cottage style in the room.

    • Creating Contrast

      Painting the back of a vintage hutch light aqua creates contrast with its white outline. The light aqua background allows for the white items in the hutch to pop instead of blending in. DIY custom paint jobs like this will make secondhand pieces feel more like yours.

    • Treasure Chest

      A stenciled chest of drawers in the entry shows off the homeowner's custom mixing of acrylic paints to produce the exact color she desires. The mirror above reflects the room across from it, making the space seem grand. Vintage plates are turned into wall art by being hung symmetrically around the mirror.

    • Dining Chic

      Buying a dining set at a garage sale for a song allows for the chance to repurpose it into the perfect set for less. Blue velvet seat cushions keep the room grounded and keep the color scheme from becoming too sweet. When shopping for secondhand furniture, look at the silhouette and style. Determine if the furniture is sturdy and all the components (drawers, leaves, etc.) are working properly or if they can be easily fixed. Almost any surface can be changed with paint or stain, but the shape and structure of the furniture are less easily altered.

    • Curtain Call

      Hanging the curtains higher makes the ceiling appear tall, while the pale color allows the sun to shine through and brighten the room. Pale blue paint continues the parade of blue in the dining room, and beaded board continues the cottage theme. A bit of green in the pattern of the curtains adds a spark of something different.

    • Flea Market Steals

      Using pieces purchased at a flea market, the homeowner furnishes the screen porch for less than a $100. A “rug” was created from a vinyl-flooring remnant turned upside down and painted with stripes in every shade of the room’s color palette.

    • Cozy Quarters

      In the master bedroom, rose pink floral fabric on the bed skirt and pillows introduces a feminine alternative to the home's accents of green. Tactile linen  dresses the windows, and wood floors with reddish-orange undertones act as a complementary hue to the blue walls. Accents of crystal and antique rubbed brass add a bit of romance to the boudoir.

      Tip: A foundation of basic white linens is a smart investment for easy-to-change decor. With a white bedspread and shams, throw pillows and bed skirts can come and go without the investment of replacing an entire bed set.

    • Vintage Finds

      Vintage finds, such as this “fleurist” panel, are turned into artwork simply by being hung on the wall. By painting the frame white, it pops out from the wall instead of blending in. A lamp base in a brighter shade of aqua sticks out against the more demure tone of the walls.

    • 10 of 14

      Mirror, Mirror

      A large mirror adds depth to the bedroom. Fresh flowers add color and a flourish that completes the room. Old photographs hang to the right of the mirror, carrying that vintage vibe through the whole room.

    • 11 of 14

      Write Away

      A distressed vanity serves as a writing desk in a corner of a living room. The blue mirror above adds a punch of color to the cream walls. Reusing an old vase as a wastebasket maintains the vintage vibe of the room.

    • 12 of 14

      Wall Art

      Using old maps as wall art carries the vintage vibe throughout the entire room. Simple frames add a touch of elegance. The more elaborate frame in the middle breaks up the other two similar frames while hinting at the use of blue in the room.

    • Decorating in Blue
      13 of 14

      Decorating in Blue

      Get more tips for decorating with blue.

    • 14 of 14
      Next Slideshow House Decorating: A Citrus Color Scheme for a Family Cottage

      House Decorating: A Citrus Color Scheme for a Family Cottage

      An art-inspired palette with juicy pops of color gives this vintage cottage a punchy beach style.
      Begin Slideshow »



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