Mantel Styling Tips

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Natural Elements for Fabulous Fall Decor

Fill your home with fall to last all season with these quick and easy nature-inspired decorating ideas.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Color Blocking

      Arrange branches of fall leaves by hue to establish a color-blocking effect. Place one color of leaves so they land on one side of the vase and another color so that they fall to the other side of the vase.

    • Luxe Pumpkins

      Bring a little sparkle to natural fall decor. Coat light-color pumpkins with iridescent spray paint, and while the paint is wet, sprinkle iridescent glitter over the pumpkin.

    • Nut Wreath

      Branch out from the standard round wreath and try a different shape on your front door. Hot-glue unshelled nuts to a picture frame, leaving a spot at the top for a ribbon. Wrap a coordinating ribbon around the top in a loop to create the wreath hanger.

    • Expanded Palette

      Red, yellow, orange, and brown are fall color favorites, but greens and purples have their place too, as do natural finds beyond leaves and twigs. Flowering cabbage will bring dimension and unexpected color to your fall displays. Pair it with more traditional fall items for a special twist.

    • Fall Display

      Capture fall inside a bell jar set atop a shallow terra-cotta bulb dish. Line the dish with moss, add a few small gourds and branches of leaves, and top with a bell jar. You can also use a terrarium or even a glass cake cover to create this look. For added effect, arrange a few objects around the base of the dish.

    • Filled Up

      Layering and incorporating various elements are key to an eye-catching fall display. To create this look, fill vases partway with nuts. Cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit inside the vase and arrange shocks of wheat or other branches in the vase.

    • Go Wild

      For an organic look straight out of nature, be a little eclectic in your fall display and arrangements. Gather a variety of flowers, stems, fillers, and twigs and arrange at random. Use a rustic or vintage-looking vessel, such as a galvanized bucket, to complete the look.

    • Artichoke Swag

      Create a pretty swag from artichokes to hang on a mirror or stairway banister. You will need florist's greening pins (they look like long U-shape staples and are available at floral shops). Drill two small holes the width of the pin straight down into the top of each artichoke. Thread a 1-inch brass ring on the pin, then insert the pin into the holes. Add a dab of hot glue around each hole to secure. Thread ribbons through the rings, tie in a bow, and hang.

    • 5-Minute Bouquet

      Create a simple bouquet inspired by nature with feathers, wheat, and nuts. Place it on a mantel, coffee table, or dining table for a creative focal point. Fill a vase with nuts or seeds, leaving enough room to arrange the feathers and wheat. Accent the arrangement with greenery.

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      Squash Medley

      Turn pumpkin-patch finds into a unique centerpiece. Look for miniature squash with interesting shapes and colors to create a one-of-a-kind tabletop display. Group squash of similar colors and sizes together or line them up across the middle of the table. You can also use the squash as place settings, writing guests' names on them with permanent marker. At the end of the night, let guests take their squash home as a memento.

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      Natural Instincts

      Two pages from a vintage nature calendar were the starting point for this nature-inspired mantel. To create this look, hang prints from twine and gather natural elements to complete the scene. A gnarly branch creates a focal point in the center and is surrounded by green moss balls and birch-bark candleholders. Bring natural flair into the room by adding a lush plant in front of the fireplace and placing floral-print pillows on the furniture.

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      Creative Fall Vases

      Turn gourds into interesting vases and display them on a mantel. Hollow out hard-shell gourds to create vases you can use again and again. Cut off the tops and clean out the insides, then fill with flowers. Dress them up by painting a border around the base. Pair the vases with exotic flowers for an unexpected twist.

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      Dining with Nature

      Bring nature indoors to extend your enjoyment of the season. Gather an armful of branches featuring fall foliage to create a colorful centerpiece. Look for leaves that aren't too dry and brittle, so your arrangement will last longer. Arrange branches in a vase or a hollowed-out pumpkin. Complete the look by adding pumpkins and gourds to the buffet or dining table.

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      Nature's Table

      Let nature's bounty take center stage when you set your table this fall. Fill a shallow bowl with an assortment of colorful leaves, nuts, and pears or apples to re-create this seasonal look. Add tiny bunches of greenery and candles to accent the table.

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      Pumpkin Delight

      Get crafty with your extra pumpkins and embellish them with leaves for a colorful addition to your fall decorating. Or skip pumpkin carving altogether, and decorate your pumpkins with paper designs. Cut out leaves using colored paper that complements the hue of your pumpkin. Use decoupage to attach the paper to the pumpkins.

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      Prized Pumpkins

      Dress up pumpkins with wire for a rustic fall look. Get creative and wrap wire around the outside of the pumpkin like a ribbon, fit it around the entire surface like a spiderweb, or twist it in curlicues sprouting out of the stem. Look for pumpkins in colors other than orange for designs that last beyond Halloween.

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      Colors of Nature

      Highlight the colors of fall by bringing the most vibrant leaves inside. Put individual leaves in small bud vases to draw attention to their unique details. Put several vases together for a collected look or place one leaf at each place setting. Scatter loose leaves on the table for a colorful backdrop.

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      Creative Reuse

      Repurpose a set of candleholders to display pumpkins and gourds. Find a mismatched set at a garage sale or antiques store and spray-paint them all black for a unified look. Use candleholders of varying heights for visual interest.

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      Miniature Design

      Enjoy the fleeting days of fall long after the final leaves have fallen and the ground has frozen with autumn-inspired terrariums. Fill glass apothecary jars with tiny gourds and plant life to create a mini ecosystem. Place the terrarium in a spot that gets natural sunlight. For the best results, remove gourds and plants from jars at the end of your gathering and add water.

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      Next Slideshow Natural Fall Wreaths

      Natural Fall Wreaths

      Autumn's colorful bounty of foliage and produce is the first place we look when decorating for fall. Made with (or inspired by) bittersweet, cornhusks, apples, twigs, and other natural adornments and textures, these door wreaths are perfect for welcoming the season.
      Begin Slideshow »



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