Whimsy vs. Understated: A Spring Mantel Story
Fun fact: Each holiday I get out our decoration boxes from the garage, and I go through them, pulling out what I want to use and what I don’t. Half of the stuff I find, I didn’t even know I had, because honestly, MOST of my decorations were passed down to me from my mom (who was the holiday decor QUEEN), and I don’t even remember saying “yea, sure, I’ll take that!”
To be frank, a lot of the stuff I have I have out of guilt (sorry, mom!). I say this because there are so many decorations I remember from my childhood that just like my mom, I can’t bear to throw away. Or, even if I could, I feel bad for doing so. So I will pull things out and because I have a fond memory of them, I will try my darndest to incorporate them into my home.
Spoiler alert: Most of the time it doesn’t work!
Lesson to be learned: Get rid of decor that doesn’t bring you joy NOW – sure I save a few things I think will be cute for future kiddos, but honestly, so much of this stuff I just need to purge! (Dear Ana, REMEMBER THIS IN THE FUTURE)!
Still with me?!
So this is precisely what happened with my Spring mantel this year. I pulled out all the cutesy whimsical items from my Easter box (i.e. cutesy felt rabbit) and attempted to make them work with my current style – well, they didn’t. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like my first go at my mantel decor, because I did – and honestly for a house full of kids, I think it would be just perfect! BUT, this year all my whimsy got used up on my Easter tablescape (read: Easter eggs hanging from out chandelier), and I really was searching for something a bit more understated. The whimsical version was good for about a week, and then I was overwhelmed by it.
While the whimsical look is very cute, I was really missing my staple “gather” sign on my tobacco basket, and I had also recently received some vintage brass candlesticks in the mail from a dear IG friend, and I knew I wanted to use them on my mantel. So, down everything came!
I also wanted to find a way to keep my Eucalyptus going, and after reading in several other blogs about how well it dries, I decided to put it on my tobacco basket along with my gather sign.
Adding the Eucalyptus was easy peasy, I just wove the stems through the top middle portion of the basket until I liked the look, and then used twine to secure it (I used 4 separate ties in places I thought needed a little more security). I then tied my gather basket back on (also with twine), and up it went!
And then it was time for the fun part! I added a few vintage books back, my new brass candlesticks, and of course, because I can’t rid of all the whimsy, 3 moss bunnies I got from Michaels at 40% off! Score!
Long story short, I learned 2 things:
- Don’t hold on to decor out of guilt – if it doesn’t bring you joy, just donate it! I guarantee it WILL bring joy to someone else, and what’s the use of keeping it if it just ends up sitting in the box year after year anyway?
- Don’t be afraid to change things up until you get them just how you like them! I am SO much happier with my mantel now, especially since I know I have many years of whimsy decor ahead of me when we decide to add a baby, or two!, to the family!
And here’s one more before and afters, just for funsies:
And of course, the final product in all it’s glory:
So there you have it, folks, my Spring mantel decor and a couple decor lessons I learned along the way!