A Fall Mantel for the Family Room

While we’re enjoying all the wonderful “before and afters” from yesterday’s Met Monday, I thought I’d share another little metamorphosis I’ve been working on this week in my family room.  (Update: This living room looks very different now. See the changes in these two posts: Reforming My Faux Ways and Velvet Drapes for an English Country Living Room)

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


The coffee table looks so bare now since I “stole” all the books for the office library.

Decorate A Mantel For Fall


This is how the mantel looks year round.  It’s decorated simply with a mantel clock, Staffordshire doggies and a few books.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


Time to add a touch of fall. The first change I made to the fireplace was a change in the firescreen. I love bringing out this screen with a fall scene of Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal against the bark of a birch tree. I’ve had both firescreens for many years.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to purchase anything new to decorate my mantel for fall…just used things I already had here in the family room.



Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


After:  The spring basket is no longer hanging on the door to the porch.  This pic was taken back during the summer when I was contemplating a post about firescreens.  Still may do one on firescreens one of these days.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


Since fall is such a great time to curl up with a good book in front of the fireplace, I decided to expand on the book idea for this fall mantel.  At first I placed the pheasants I used in this table setting table setting, on the mantel, but their fall color just sort of blended into the wreath, making them hard to see.  Can you see them there under the wreath?

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


Swapped the pheasants for Mr. Duck.  This pic was taken with the lamps off.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


This one was taken with the lamps on.  Come a bit closer for a better look.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


I placed a fall wreath I’ve had for many years above the mantel.  I love layering wreaths over a mirror for the seasons or holidays.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


A few close-ups…

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


The book that’s open is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


This particular picture in the book worked well with the colors in this fall mantel so I found a sneaky way to keep the book opened to that page with a Baldwin Brass candlestick I’ve had for 20+ years. I love how the polished brass looked with the rich autumn colors. I’ve never stopped loving quality brass so I’m thrilled to see brass being used again by the designers.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


A different view…

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


Mr. Duck always plays a big part in my fall decorating. You may remember him from this Thanksgiving Tablescape.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


The other end of the mantel…

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


The mantel clock was the first “antique” thing I ever collected for my home, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. It started my love for antique clocks. I especially love its Westminster chime.  If you’ve never heard a Westminster chime, you can hear one HERE.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath



Autumn Mantle Ideas for an English Country Living Room


Have you started decorating for fall, yet?  I love the warm, rich colors of the season.

Decorate a fireplace mantel for Fall or Autumn with Books, Pumpkins and a fall wreath


To see this year’s fall mantel (2013) check out this more recent post: Decorate Your Mantel with Mischievous Crows for Fall

Love a cozy paneled room? Take a little tour of the family room here: Family Room.

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. Susan, I love your Fall firescreen. A question….why do you place your clock at the end, is this so it does not hide your mirror?

  2. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Megan, that's a great question. The clock has a little door on the back and the door has a little knob. If I move the clock to any other location on the mantel, the knob bumps into the molding that you see above the fireplace…the molding that encircles the mirror. And it pushes the clock out so far, that the feet on the clock won't sit on the mantel. Unfortunately, I have a super skinny mantel 🙁 and the clock just barely, barely will fit on the mantel as long as I have it all the way at the end. I have it as far toward the center as it will go on the mantel. The little knob is touching the edge of the molding that you see around the mirror. Even if the molding wasn't there, I think I'd have the same problem with the mirror itself bumping into the clock. Wish the builder had given me a deeper mantel. I actually kind of like the clock there on the end…which is a good thing since it's the only place it will fit. lol

  3. It looks beautiful Susan! Like everything else you do. 🙂

  4. Hi Susan,
    you have a wonderful living room and the fall decoration is just lovely.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  5. Susan, it looks lovely. Your mirror is gorgeous and I like the simplicity of the mantel in the first photo, but the new fall touches certainly warm it up for the autumn. Well done!

  6. Blondie's Journal says

    Your mantel is perfect for fall, Susan! You have inspired me with the books and the wreath on the mirror. Your screen is lovely…time to take the floral arrangement out of mine and get ready for some fires!


  7. This family room is ALWAYS so gorgeous…. hugs, Flavia

  8. Great-looking composition! I love the book open to a illustration that has orange in it to go with your pretty wreath. Thanks for the tip about hanging a wreath over a mirror…I have never tried that but I want to now after seeing yours.

  9. Sherry@ Ties2ThePast says

    What a lovely mantlescape! As a fellow Georgian, I'm looking forward to the cooler weather Ken Cook promises for the weekend! We're taking our grandbaby to Ellijay for apple pies & pumpkins!!

  10. Pat@Back Porch Musings says

    Beautiful Fall mantel, Susan!

  11. Pat@Back Porch Musings says

    Beautiful Fall mantel Susan!

  12. Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads says

    That firescreen is the prettiest one I've ever seen. Your fall touches add to the warm feeling the room already has.

  13. The Real Me! says

    So pretty! I really like the cardinal fireplace screen. It totally adds a nice touch!

  14. Very pretty!

  15. So pretty Susan. I love this room and your mantle is amazing!

  16. Susan, thank you for answering my question re the clock.

  17. This is my favorite room in your house and was the inspiration for decorating my own living room.
    I love fall decorations and you have done a lovely job as usual!

  18. ❁Velma ~Down Our Country Road❁ says

    What a great idea for putting the wreath in front of your mirror!
    I usually place my fall wreath, that is generally full of natural elements, on the front door. A place you'd think of first to hang it, right? Well, between the hot afternoon sun blazing down (yes, we still get those in the fall) and the birds eating the seeds and such, they only last a few years before really looking beat up!
    But I like your idea and I think I'll copy it 🙂 Thanks for sharing…as always.

  19. I love the wreath- it's softness is attractive and it's just enough to bring in the fall spirit! Cute idea with the Huck Fin book opened 🙂
    Your firescreen change up looks great…and I love the white pumpkin! I'm beginning to decorate for fall. I was resisting but I saw so many colors in trees already I decided I better climb on board and enjoy the season to it's fullest! I love your family room…the paneled walls make it so comfy and it's decorated my favorite way- truly traditional and classic!

  20. Beautiful mantle & ENTIRE room!!

  21. Lettered Cottage says

    I'm a sucker for stacks/rows of books on mantels and yours look FABULOUS!!!

  22. It's beautiful! I love all the warm colors in your room. I also love your firescreens. Happy Fall!

  23. Jen @ Creating with the J's says

    I LOVE the fall fireplace screen. Here's a link to my fall mantel, I hope you will get a chance to stop by. Thanks for sharing. http://creating-with-the-js.blogspot.com/2011/08/welcome-fall.html

  24. Your family room is beautiful…so warm and inviting. I love the fireplace screen (cardinals are my favorite) and the wreath looks lovely on the mirror.

  25. Magnolia Steele says

    As always, you have done a beautiful job. I sooo love the way you decorate. You're such an inspiration. Thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog for our enjoyment.

  26. It's beautiful, Susan!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  27. Savvy Seasons says

    What a gorgeous mantle display. Your room looks truly warm and inviting. The wreath and the layering of different objects adds so much visual interest, with the fall wreath sitting center stage, as the focal point. Well done, just beautiful! Thanks for sharing! XO ~Liz

  28. Susan At Glen Oaks Primitives says

    Susan, your family room is beautiful. Your home is gorgeous, thanks for giving us a peek into the rest of your home.
    Warm Regards,

  29. Very nice, Susan. I love the way you displayed the books.

    Continued prayers for you and your loved ones.
    Much love,

  30. Your family room is yummy cozy! I also like to hang wreaths over mirrors. Getting ready to do that for fall! Then changing for the holidays …

  31. Richard Cottrell says

    Your house is perfect for fall. Looks wonderful. Richard from My Old Historic House,

  32. This may be my first visit to this gorgeous room. I would love to spend the afternoon in it. The idea I may steal is the candlestick holding the book open–original and creative. Wonderful post.

  33. Kathryn Ferguson Griffin says

    Oh, Susan, that is just delicious! What a wonderful place to curl up with a book in front of the fireplace. Fantastic job! Glad you posted this…I too have a skinny mantle. Always looking for ideas. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  34. FABBY'S LIVING says

    I was telling my hubby that you have such an amazing imagination for arranging things with such creativity and good taste and this mantel is no exception! I love all the elemnts you've used for it, they're so perfect and elegant, they go with your lovely room with wood panneling.
    Thanks for sharing Susan. Hugs,

  35. Designs By Pinky says

    Your Fall/Winter firescreen is beautiful! I love what you did on the mantle and love that you opened a book and propped it open with the candlestick! Great idea! XO, Pinky

  36. Nancy's Notes says

    Susan, what an incredibly beautiful mantle, it's so striking! Your family room is just captivating, charming and oh, so warm, perfect in my book!


  37. Susan your mantle is gorgeous! But I have to say I am coveting your fire place screen.

  38. Olive Cooper says

    Love that you opened up the Twain book. The mantle is layered very well and fits that library look. I have lots of little mini white pumpkins here and there-they make me smile♥

  39. Smashing fireplace screen!! Your family room drives me nuts, not my colors or fabrics yet I want to run jump right in the middle of it!!!!
    Miss the books on your coffee table desperately, you must buy more!!!
    Where is your "place" in your home? Y'know where you go to cry, purr over a new dec book, pray and ponder? I have observed that no matter how big our homes may be we all seem to have our "place" do you agree?
    Been analysing your fam. room for ages and still can't figure out the key elements that I just love. I have TONS of dec books, a pretty good eye but your family room defies my dissecting abilities!!!! Love it, green, stripes and all.
    Happy Fall, Donna, from the land of no seasons, well, barely, Ca.

  40. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    lol, I miss the books, too! I should have added them back just for this post. Must buy more! 🙂
    I think it's the warmth of the paneled walls that's drawing you in. It's about time for me to replace the sofa and reupholster the chairs nearest the door to the porch, but I'm not sure I'll find fabrics similar to the ones I currently have…so I keep putting that off.
    I gotta have seasons! You need to take a road trip…to a place with some fall color. You can't miss out on fall!

  41. Shoumi Aslam says

    Very Nice … Family room is Gorgeous!!

    Spare few minutes to visit my blog and Say A Hai!!!


  42. Love it, Susan! Very elegant with the perfect touch of Fall. Fun idea having one book open, too (*might* have to borrow that one … lol). Thanks for sharing! *Becca*

  43. Susan, your family room was already so beautiful, but with the addition of some "Fall," it is just so….WOW! It just looks like a room you could easily "melt" right into — so charming, warm & cozy! Love it!
    🙂 CAS

  44. Very nice.


  45. Susan
    I love your paneled room – so soothing with the warm colors and lighting. I am wondering if you decorate your front porch for fall and if so – if you would share photos!? I can't wait for the development of your butler's pantry and library – things to look forward to – love your style and love when you talk about Max!

  46. The French Hutch says

    Susan, what a beautiful Fall mantle. Love the colors you exposed in the book, compliments the colors in the wreath. The little ceramic pumpkin is adorable on the stacked books. I love how your room is so warm and inviting, yet at the same time so elegant. Great inspiration for me.

    The French Hutch

  47. OH yes, please with chocolate and marshmallow fluff on it, do a post about fireplace screens.

    We are going up to our cabin in the mts. tomorrow just an hr. from here where they do indeed have seasons so I do get to visit fall. I am hauling a new fireplace screen up there with a rooster on it, very colorful, I am sure you have seen it, I got mine on amazon, no postage. I have never seen your spiffy screen with cardinals on it, we live on Cardinal Rd. in the mts. but is would be too formal for our Americana cozy decor.

    I am bringing home a lovely red cabinet; my husband grumbles that I need a conveyor belt between the two places. So much fun to have two playhouses!!!!

    I will be gathering pine cones and leaves in 24 hrs. fall, here I come!!!


  48. Kristen@fit2feelbetter says

    Your mantel looks beautiful. But the room is what caught my eye. I was glad to see someone else with the same paneling as we have in our family room! I am constantly going back and forth on whether or not we should paint it. But I think it makes the room feel so cozy and comfortable. Just like yours.

  49. Susan, I love your Autumn decor and the room is simply elegant!! Gorgeous design!

    I have hooked up with Julia's Party as well!


    Art by Karena

  50. Ms. Susan,
    Everything is lovely!! I love everything you have done with your home for fall!
    I am your newest follower! I hope you will drop by to visit me sometime! I just blogged about my front porch…all decorated for fall! I see that you and I both love red front doors!
    Looking forward to getting to know you!!

  51. faithful love says

    Since the depth of the mantel ledge is shallow, have you thought about adding another board, with a routed edge to match the existing one, but make it 2-3" deeper and wider, right over the current one? Stained to match, you wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't always that deep…

    We have an 8' long mantel that is over the TV niche and the fireplace, both set at the same height…we got prices of $680 from Lowes to have it made and over $1000 from a finished carpenter.

    So my handyman hubby, bought 8" crown moulding, and made a floating mantel himself for $175 and stained it to match wood floors…put a ledger board on the wall and sat that 8' piece in place and wala! I love decorating it…it's about 7" deep…

    Your room is beautiful…I do enjoy your site very much….
    Happy Fall!

  52. On Crooked Creek says

    Gorgeous mantel! I'd say the "duck" has found a place of prestige! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Jo's This and That says

    Beautiful room! Thanks for shring,Joann

  54. So pretty. I bet that is one cozy room with a roaring fire in that fireplace. Love it.

  55. Pamela Krugman says

    Dear Susan
    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. THe original one of your family room I’ve saved as one of my favorite screen savers. It has your website name on it. My friends remark “ooooohhhh!”, and I point them to your website. It has to be the coziest family room I’ve ever seen. “Cozy” is the highest compliment I can give. So many are pretty-but this goes beyond -I just want to sit in there with a cup of tea or coffee and take it all in. So, I wanted you to know.

    Have a lovely day.


  56. This is such a lovely, cozy room and my hat goes off to you for managing to combine several patterns effectively. I’m a bit of a woos when it comes to this so I really appreciate what you’ve done. I think the drapes would work nicely, but I think you should do the chairs first, as no doubt they will be part of the room longer. If it were me, I would probably use whatever pattern you decide on for the chairs for the curtains. I personally like when elements tie in together somehow, but again, I admit sometimes I play it safe ;).

  57. Karen Holder says

    I have a question,I have a free standing fireplace with gas logs.that is VERY deep.i awlays have a hard time decorating it.I think I have to load it up with stuff to make it look right.. I know I should put things in odd numbers,do you have any ideas? did I miss any pic from this year(2012) fall mantels? I’ll try to send a picture soon.. I love you house!!!!!!


    • Karen, thanks so much! I didn’t really decorate it for the season this year, other than hanging a wreath above the mantel. I wish my mantel was deeper. Actually, it sort of always looks ready for the fall season just due to the nature of that room and the items that are always there. It can be a challenge to decorate because it is so narrow. I envy your deeper mantel!
      Odd numbers is always a good idea, unless you are strictly going for symmetry and are just placing tall topiaries or something like that on either end. What you may want to try is something I will often do. Walk slowly through your home, gathering up a few items you love. Pull out all your fall related items from the closets. If you are decorating a seasonal mantel and you have seasonal pieces, you’ll want to bring them down to the mantel. Sometimes you have to just play around and move things around on the mantel to see what works. I can promise you I added, subtracted and moved around a bunch until I found the balance and look I wanted for my fall mantel. As you stand back, you’ll know if it feels balanced or if something just isn’t working. If my mantel were wider, I’d love to use some branches or something from the yard. I love to see a mantel with a bit of height on either end, like branches, topiaries, tall candles with globes, etc… Some folks even incorporate a lamp into their mantel if there is room and a place nearby to plug it in. If you don’t have a mirror or something behind the mantel, you may want to consider bringing a painting in from another room, or making/buying a fun sign to use as a backdrop. You can find very inexpensive signs at Big Lots, Old Time Pottery, Hobby Lobby, etc…
      Try to use pieces that are well suited for your room. If your room is really casual, you may even want to go with something a bit rustic. If your room is more dressy then I’d use pieces that are more in keeping with that look. When you see a mantel you love and you’re wondering how they came up with that, chances are they either saw a pic that sparked an idea OR they thought of a “theme” kind of like I did with the book theme, and then just started gathering “stuff” from around their home that somewhat fit the theme. Don’t try to overthink it in the beginning because you just don’t know what you’re going to ultimately use until you are knee deep in it. Once you start playing, adding stuff, stepping back to check it out, adding or taking away, the mantel will start to just come together. As you add one thing and step back to see how it looks, ideas will come to you naturally, things you would never have thought of until you were in the midst of creating the mantel. So just dive in and have fun with it. Nothing is off limits to use, as long as it doesn’t pose a fire hazard. I hope this helps a bit.

      • Hi Susan –
        You’ve inspired me to work on my mantels…Yours is just beautiful – especially with the highlighting of one of my all-time favorite books – Huckleberry Finn! It seems like adding a larger mantel piece on top of your current one would be an easy fix for a carpenter, and give you another “stage” to decorate and delight us with!

  58. Ofelia Killeen says

    Dear Susan it is always a pleasure to see yor post everything you do is so beautiful and enchanting and can’t wait to decorate my home for this holiday season, your ideas and love for decorating are Amazingly appreciated.

    Sincerely ,

  59. Hi Susan
    After reading all your posts, first thing I check for in the morning, I was inspired to decorate for Autumn (fall) this year. Probably spring for you. I had never decorated for autumn before, only ever do Christmas, but I was very happy with the result all thanks to you and your ideas. Thank you for the inspiration.

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