13 Easy and Affordable DIY Fall Mantel Decorating Ideas

updated Sep 30, 2023
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Dressing up your fireplace mantel is an easy, budget-friendly way to decorate your home for the season. Going all-out with decor swaps all around the house can be time-consuming (and expensive!), but sticking to one little stretch makes the process totally doable in the span of a lazy afternoon.

Decorating a fireplace mantel for fall is especially apt. After all, you’re more likely to gather around a cozy fireplace as the weather begins to cool — so what better time to give the mantel a little something special?

While there are plenty of store-bought ways to decorate your mantel for the fall season, there are lots of DIY options for adding autumn vibes, too, from fall wreaths to fall art. These DIY fall mantel decor ideas will help cozy up your home just in time for fireplace season.

1. Mini Botanical Wreath on a Gold Mirror

This wreath, from Craftberry Bush, looks luxe thanks to the rich colors of the faux botanicals and the velvet bow. But it’s actually made with dollar store materials and came together in just five minutes! Displaying it on top of the mirror only increases the impact. Get the full tutorial here.

Credit: Liz Marie

2. Gilded Mushroom Candelabra

Candles are a classic addition to mantel decor, and the right candlesticks or candelabra can give them even more wow power. Take this gilded mushroom candelabra from designer Liz Marie. The rustic shape — a birch log decorated with faux twigs and botanicals, plus some mushroom figurines — is given a (literal) glow-up thanks to gold spray paint. Find the instructions here.

3. DIY Branch Arch

If you don’t have space for a traditional garland on your mantel, this DIY branch arch from The Honeycomb Home is a great option. A grapevine serves as the base for the faux stems, and string lights add a little extra sparkle. See how it’s made here.

4. Cloche Leaf Display

Another way to put fall leaves and branches in the spotlight? Use glass cloches to display them like artwork, as shown on So Much Better with Age. It’s a great way to show off any particularly lovely sprigs you’ve spotted this season. Find the instructions here.

5. DIY Chalkboard and Chalkboard Art

For a piece that you can leave out beyond fall and reuse season after season, try this DIY chalkboard from Tatertots and Jello. MDF is the affordable base; once topped with chalkboard paint, it’s ready to display fall sayings and charming fall-themed plaid art. Get the how-to here.

6. DIY Fall Botanical Garland

DIY garlands don’t have to be complicated to be impactful. Here, Emily of LeCultivateur used branches of dried fall leaves as a base then added pink roses, white pumpkins, and brass candlesticks to make the whole assembly feel extra luxe and elevated. To get the most out of natural leaves and branches, use a clear acrylic craft spray to preserve the color. Find the instructions here.

7. DIY Eucalyptus and Rose Display

Of course, you can also go a little less traditional with your botanical decor. This one, also from Emily of LeCultivateur, shifts away from typical fall florals in favor of eucalyptus, roses, and berries. A few white pumpkins act as seasonal bookends. To copy the style at home, look for items that are already on your mantel and swap them for pumpkins to get instant fall vibes. Get the instructions here.

8. DIY Fall Leaf Bouquet

A matching DIY wreath, garland, and floral arrangement make a beautiful display that warms up your whole home. But the showstopper in this decor, from Carol at Bluesky at Home, is the overflowing bouquet. Bouquets like this one are great if you’re short on space, since they make a big impact within a small footprint. Find the tutorial here.

9. Printable Pumpkin Art

This moody pumpkin piece from Lucy of Craftberry Bush is a unique twist on incorporating pumpkins. It carries the same seasonal impact without the finickiness of real pumpkins or the logistics of storing faux gourds, and is a perfect fit for the trendy dark academia vibe that’s making the rounds on social media. If you’re not artistically inclined to create your own, she generously shares a free printable of her artwork. That means that to pull off this decor, you’ll just need to print it out and frame it. Easiest DIY ever! See the instructions here.

Credit: Liz Marie

10. DIY Rustic Collected Display

This mantel is bursting with texture, from soft pampas grass to rough-hewn rattan and silky feathers. Designer Liz Marie pulled together “rustic, gold, and muted greens” with this display, using found materials and other decor to create a layered look. The great thing about this DIY mantel decor is that the individual pieces can be swapped out seasonally, so you can make use of different parts of it all year. Thrift stores are a great resource for a project like this. If you find a piece that’s shape would work but isn’t the right gold, you can use Rub ‘n Buff to quickly get it into scheme. Find the directions here.

Credit: Modern Glam

11. Simple DIY Wheat Arrangement

A DIY wheat bundle takes center stage in this soft and subtle arrangement from Ashley of Modern Glam. A pink ribbon helps the wheat tie in to the rest of Ashley’s decor; for yours, choose a color that complements your own home’s palette. Find the instructions here.

12. Faux Aged Plastic Pumpkins

Plastic pumpkins look a lot more luxe when given a faux aging treatment. Jessica Sara Morris (White Picket Farmhouse) shows off the look here. She gave a few cheap, plastic pumpkins a vintage-looking makeover by painting them her colors of choice before rubbing the dried pumpkins in dirt to give them a little extra dimension. (Using dirt to create a DIY antiqued look is a method you can use on other decor, too.) Jessica completed her vignette by swapping out the art on her TV to a pastoral landscape to complement her newly “old” pumpkins. Find the how-to here.

Credit: Amber Thrane

13. Hanging Wall Display

This hanging installation from Amber Thrane is perfect inspiration to reach for if your fireplace lacks a mantel (or if you want to add extra oomph above). Get the look by attaching a bundle of faux or dried grasses to a wood dowel, making sure to fluff up both ends for extra volume. Then, tie rope or cord to each end of the dowel before hanging. And bonus idea: If you don’t have a working fireplace, the hearth is a great place to display seasonal decor like this stack of pumpkins. Get the tutorial here.