Our House… Living Room Mantel… Before, Before and After!

I just realized this is the third time I’ve posted about “Our House” living room mantel. (And I’ve learned the correct way to spell it too! I always thought it was mantle…nope, it’s mantel.)

The first post was the Christmas mantel, the second was the Valentine’s mantel, and now this third post which is going to be a two-fold post about the mantel.

First, in my determination to ‘lighten up’ the living room, I decided to change the usual, non-holiday mantel display, with a lighter approach. So to start here’s what it recently used to look like:

This photo was taken just before my quest started to ‘lighten up’ the living room, (which I share both the window treatments before and after, and the tutorial on making them).  The two art glass pieces on each side of the mantel are very special to me. Both are gifts from two of my kids, so before I replaced them with something else I needed to secure a special place for them elsewhere. With that accomplished, here’s what my mantel looks like now:

All of the items on this new mantel display I gathered up from around the house, or shed.

It’s still basically the same ‘shape’ or outline of shapes on the mantel, but instead of the main color being black with accents of red and green, the main color is white with accents of blue and brown.  This looks beautiful with my new window treatment fabric:

These cute pair of bird obelisks I got last summer from HomeGoods for outside, but they are lightweight terra cotta and blew over outside several times, how they didn’t break is amazing, but they work really well up here, for their color, theme and size. I needed something tall and narrow because this mantel is really quite shallow.

And since we’re on the subject, here’s what this mantel looked like when we first moved in “Our House” :

Sorry for the poor quality, it’s the only picture I could find.  As you can see the mantel was a dark oak, super plain little shelf.

So I added some carved brackets I bought from VanDyke’s and attached them to the bottom of the shelf. They are actually gapped in the back from the stone a little, as there was no way I was going to try to scribe them into that myself. But you really don’t notice that gap. (Do you?)

I also purposely added some ‘texture’ to the existing oak shelf with some sheetrock mud before I painted it all. (It was just so smooth and perfect it looked manufactured after the first coat, and I was trying to accomplish a hand carved look, like the brackets are.)

I’m super happy with the new lighter, fresher mantel now.

And I’m looking forward to sharing the whole room with you, but the windows face South, so I have to get the lighting just right so you can see the window treatments…it’ll come, just watch for it.

As always, please feel free to share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook and Pinterest the more the merrier! I appreciate you stopping by.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shannon Fox says

    It looks great! Love the ever-evolving style. So fun to change things up =) Lighting is hard to come by at my place too, waiting to get snaps of a new project. Maybe Summer? When the sun comes out… lol 😉 THANKS for sharing this.

  2. Kim says

    I love it! I just added corbels to my fireplace to get the same look. It was so worth it! Glad I am not the only one who likes that big chunky mantle look.

  3. Melody of says

    Oh my goodness! It’s dreamy! I can’t believe what a difference you’ve made from the original! The cream is beautiful! Especially with the brackets underneath! Gorgeous! I’ll be featuring this my friend!

  4. Vanessa says

    That is just absolutely beautiful and your mirror is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  5. Sharon ت says

    You did a great job of lightening up the mantel. I love the birds, the use of natural elements, the crisp color scheme and the varying heights of the objects. And the before and after of your mantel shelf is impressive.
    Thanks for sharing your talent at Show & Tell.

    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

  6. Maury @ Life on Mars says

    Love it! That fabric is the fabric I just used in my master bedroom. Did you get it from Ballard Designs? I got it at a local fabric store, but then saw it in the Ballard Designs catalog. Love the colors and texture of it.

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