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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Fresh Family Living Space

Old home. Young family. How to make the two work together? Team DIY designer Pamela S. Porter helped these homeowners create a kid-friendly living room that doesn't scrimp on style.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Livin' Large

      Can you teach an old home new decorating tricks? You bet. Welcome to the nearly century-old home. It took a few gallons of paint, an inspired floor plan, and lots of stylish storage, but this living room makeover proves you can have it all: kiddos and killer style. Click to the next slide to see just how far this living room has come.

    • Stylish and Serene

      Talk about a head-to-toe overhaul! Midway through the room's transformation, the family's personality began to emerge. Dark woodwork was primed then painted white. Cozy new furniture is perfect for family hangout time but grown-up enough to welcome guests. Still, the space lacked the storage the couple's two children needed for toys, books, and games.

    • Storage Solutions

      Smart idea! To bring extra seating and tons of well-hidden storage to the living room, Team DIY designer Pamela Porter recommended building a window seat under the bay windows. Built-in drawers were painted white to match the trim, and a smattering of colorful pillows adds a pattern punch to the area.

    • Snuggle Spot

      It's impossible to resist the allure of a sunny window seat. In the made-over living room, the new window seat is prime real estate for a snuggle with a soft stuffed animal or quiet time with a good book

    • Convert a Basket

      This cottage-cute coffee table was one of several budget-friendly projects Team DIY designer Pamela Porter dreamed up. It offers a quick place to stash stuff when company comes to call.

      Want to make your own? It's simple. First, search the Web for a wicker pigeon basket in a size and shape that fits your space. You can spray-paint the basket (as shown here), or leave it natural.

      To create a base, cut a piece of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) that matches the size of the basket. If you spray-paint the wicker basket, spray-paint the MDF and furniture feet the same color. After the paint is dry, attach the furniture feet at the corners of the MDF sheet. Or use casters if you want a mobile coffee table. Use bolts and nuts to secure the basket to the base.

      Here, the table is topped with a piece of 1/4-inch-thick tempered glass inside a painted wood frame. This creates a sturdy and stable base on which to set trays, vases, or other items. Have a hardware store cut your glass to size. Then simply set the framed glass atop the basket.

    • Duly Noted

      A slim desk in a corner of the living room gives the homeowners a place to work while the kids play. Crisp white paint and modern lines on the desk and chair bring the area into style alignment with the rest of the rehabbed room.

    • Awesome Ottoman

      An ottoman with hidden storage is a brilliant way for the homeowners and their tots to tuck away toys. Bonus: The ottoman sits at kid-height, so it's easy for the kids to play and then put away.

    • Getting Warmer

      Even though the fireplace surround is painted dark black, the homeowners didn't need to repaint it. Team DIY designer Pamela Porter crafted a three-panel screen from windowpanes backed with pretty paper to break up the deep hue.

    • Mod Mantel

      A modern mirror above the fireplace pulls light into the corner, and a decluttered mantel tidies up the overall look.

    • 10 of 11

      Wiry Storage

      Storage needn't be expensive. This wire-frame storage system is unobtrusive, easily movable, and perfectly fitted to the available space.

      DIY Tip: To instill a visually pleasing look, buy a few matching totes, baskets, or bins to corral clutter. Your shelves will instantly appear more organized.

    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Colorful Backyard Makeover

      Colorful Backyard Makeover

      These San Diego homeowners and landscaping novices transformed their backyard into a lush getaway with do-it-yourself projects and salvaged materials.
      Begin Slideshow »



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