How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

Article Posted By: Collette Osuna

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

A textured and organic “shim wall hanging” is the centerpiece of this rustic fall mantel designed by Collette Osuna of Spindle & Rye. The wall hanging is a surprisingly easy DIY project, and Collette shares her tutorial for it here on The Home Depot Blog.

The mantel and DIY project are part of our Halloween and Harvest Style Challenge. We sent Collette a mystery box of Home Depot Halloween decorations to get her started on decorating her mantel in her special rustic style.

But first, she needed to paint the tiles of her fireplace…

A Rustic Fall Mantel

I was over the moon with excitement when my friends at Home Depot asked me to join in this years Home Depot Harvest Style Challenge. It really doesn’t get much better than working with one of your favorite stores! I’m definitely a “Do it Yourself” kind of girl, and lucky for me, I can cartwheel to my closest Home Depot store.

Truth be told, I screamed like a school girl the minute I learned my fireplace mantel was my design assignment for the Style Challenge.

Woo Hoo! I’ve had a couple DIY projects on my “to do” list, so the Harvest Style Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time.

How to Paint Fireplace Tiles

If you live in a newer built home, as I do, you too, may have grown tired of the standard “builder beige” everywhere you turn. To better suit my decor style, I have slowly changed each room’s paint color to a more cooler, neutral tone of gray or white. Not only were all of my walls (and ceilings) painted beige, but my fireplace surround tiles were the same beige color as my kitchen floor.

This was a change that was long overdue, so I headed up to my Home Depot store to talk to Mike.

Do you have a “go to” Home Depot associate you always seek out for advice? Mike and I go way back… he listens to my (sometimes crazy) DIY ideas and always helps me find the perfect product or tool to get the job done right. Way to go Mike!

Painting the Fireplace Tiles

I knew that I couldn’t just paint over my fireplace tiles because they had a slick surface that paint wouldn’t adhere to properly. After speaking to Mike, he suggested that I use Zinsser Bullseye 123 primer. It is a water-based primer that sticks to all surfaces without sanding. The best part? The quart was priced under $10.00.

I picked up the primer, straight edge and angled paintbrushes, and got busy washing down the tiles.

I filled a bucket with warm water and added a few drops of liquid dish soap. I made sure to give the tiles a good rinse before taping off the fireplace surround with painters tape. Be sure to cover up all exposed areas that you do not want to paint, including any carpet or wood that meets the lower tiles.

I really loved using this product. It was odor free, went on smooth with a paintbrush, and was fast to dry within an hour. I applied two coats of the primer and took a step back to look.

How to Paint Fireplace Tiles

Holy white! This wasn’t just white, it was an electric white and definitely stuck out like a sore thumb against my Behr Swiss Coffee painted walls. You can leave the primer “as is” without applying an additional paint color, but I wanted my fireplace and walls to compliment each other. I also noticed the primer alone had a tendency of easily scraping away.

I applied two coats of Behr Swiss Coffee paint in eggshell finish, which solved the scraping issue, as well as being a perfect match to my existing wall color. The surface is now very durable and washable.

Mission accomplished!

Rustic Shim Wall Hanging

Another fun DIY project I wanted to tackle was to create a main focal point for the top of my mantel. I thought: inexpensive, easy to do, and rustic. Why not wood shims? I already had some shorter roofing nails leftover from a previous project and these wood shims were only $4.98 per bundle!

I had the Home Depot lumber department cut a standard piece of ½-in. plywood to 32-in. x 40-in. for the base, ran home, and started arranging the shims in two rows over the flat plywood. I wanted the finished shim wall to have depth and texture, so I kept randomly stacking and overlapping the shims. This was the fun part! I chose shim pieces with the most knots, distressing and interesting colors because I really wanted a “punch of rustic” for the finished piece.

Rustic Shim Wall Hanging Tutorial

Once I was happy with the shim arrangement, I grabbed my hammer and started nailing in the roofing nails. I needed to hammer through all layers of the shims, in addition to the ½ in. piece of plywood underneath. I quickly realized this process was going to take FOREVER.

Since I wasn’t interested in living in my garage and hammering nails until the end of time, I ran back to The Home Depot to see Mike. He found me the perfect solution, a Stanley 2 in 1 Electric Nailer & Staple Gun! This electric nail gun is super easy to use, went through the shims like butter, and cost less than $30. In no time at all, the shims were nailed to the plywood and this beauty found its way onto the top of my mantel.

Rustic Shim Wall Hanging Tutorial

This shim wall hanging project adds the perfect touch of fall to your mantel, but can be left out year round as a staple piece of your home decor.

If you don’t have a mantel, no worries! The shim wall can be created as a smaller version and propped up on a dresser or console table in your entryway. You can easily decorate it with each new holiday by adding a simple festive wreath.

The possibilities are endless to your imagination!

Styling the Mantel for Fall

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

Once my DIY projects were completed, it was time to have fun styling the mantel with my Home Depot fall goodies! My home decor style is farmhouse with rustic touches, and as soon as I opened the boxes, I knew these items were totally up my alley.

Home Depot, you read my mind!

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

The rich, traditional, fall colors lend themselves nicely to my existing farmhouse pieces, and I love the added pop of color! I’m a huge fan of owls, so this little guy immediately stole my heart. He stands about 12-in. tall and is super soft.

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

One of the funnest parts of fall decorating for me is to mix up textures and patterns. I love how the rough texture of this rattan pumpkin compliments the shiny metallic gourds. The pumpkins bring a rustic element to this display and even light up!

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

Who doesn’t smile at a cheery yellow sunflower? The matching sunflower cornucopias and sunflower wreath are the perfect fall pairing! This time of year can be filled with chilly, dreary days and I love how this fun color lights up my entire mantel. It’s the perfect compliment to my natural wood color shim wall.

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

It just wouldn’t be fall without a little bit of whimsy. This fun duo of sitting scarecrows fits the bill perfectly!

I perched them on top of an old crate covered in burlap, and added pumpkins and acorns around the base. The tall rustic lantern features a black sloped metal tin roof and battery operated candle. This is such a cozy little corner all lit up at night!

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

Burlap, jute and linen are a few of my favorite fabrics to decorate with for fall. I’ve never met a burlap pumpkin I didn’t love and this trio is no exception. They are the perfect size to nestle around my vintage wood cobblers bench.

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

Keeping with my farmhouse style, I placed river rocks in the bottom of a clear vase, tied jute twine around it and created a unique way to display my cotton stems. Add a rustic wood calendar and a mini white pumpkin and you have instant fall!

How to Decorate Your Fall Mantel With Rustic Style!

I have had such an amazing time participating in the Home Depot Harvest Style Challenge and my family and I are looking forward to enjoying our new fall mantel! I’m so happy to be able to cross off a couple DIY mantel projects from my list, and hope I have inspired you to do the same.

Fall decorating is meant to be fun! Remember to enjoy yourself and mix new decor items with pieces you already own and love.

Collette Osuna Spindle & Rye  is an interior designer who loves to spend her spare time completing DIY projects, cooking and hunting down old things. She lives in Michigan with her fiancé, two kids, and two cats.

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