7 Frugal & Rustic Fireplace Mantel Decorating Ideas

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I have wanted to incorporate frugal fireplace mantel decorating ideas ever since moving into my two-story brick colonial in 2013, to create a rustic, yet elegant look. My goal with decorating my fireplace was to spend as little money as possible to create a beautiful look.

For the longest time, I was having difficulty trying to incorporate frugal and rustic fireplace mantel decorating ideas. You see, my fireplace is not your typical fireplace. My house was built in 1978, and with that comes 1978 architecture. Instead of a typical brick fireplace in the middle of the wall, I have an entire wall made of brick and a fireplace that’s left-aligned, instead of centered, on that wall. Additionally, I have an incredibly long fireplace mantel that tends to look unbalanced without the proper decor.

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Before undertaking the decorating aspect of the fireplace, I had to figure out what I was going to do with the brick wall itself. The brick wall is original to the house and was the same color orange brick as our brick exterior. The brick color didn’t really suite the interior of our home. We considered a variety of solutions, including painting the brick, putting drywall over it, or adding a wood overlay to it. After much research and discussion, we decided to whitewash our brick wall. It was a tough decision because we knew once we painted it, there was no going back!

We were relieved when we painted it and realized we LOVED it. It was one of the best decisions we ever made, both financially and decoratively. It completely changed the entire feel to the space. I even wrote a detailed tutorial about how we whitewashed our brick.



After the whitewashing was complete, I was ready to decorate. I am notorious for decorating on a budget. I believe it’s possible to create a beautiful space without spending a fortune. My goal with creating my new mantel display was to utilize decor pieces I already owned so I wouldn’t have to spend a penny. Despite my love for interior decorating, I don’t have a huge decor stock pile. I have enough decor to accent throughout my home, but I do not keep too much extra. The extra bit of decor that I do have sits in my renovated buffet.

While I’d like to increase my decor stock pile, I don’t want to have too much extra because I wouldn’t have enough space to store all the goodies – and I do not want any extra clutter in my home. 

I managed to find just the right amount of decor pieces lying around my home that I didn’t have to spend any money on new decor. Even on my zero dollar budget, I was able to implement frugal fireplace mantel decorating ideas to create a beautifully decorated mantel.

HERE ARE 7 FRUGAL & RUSTIC FIREPLACE MANTEL DECORATING IDEAS: 

STACK OLD BOOKS

I think this is one of the easiest frugal fireplace mantel decorating ideas to implement.

I have a lot of books sitting on my office book shelves collecting dust and not serving any purpose. I don’t have any built-in book cases to display them, so I keep them in my office, which is somewhat hidden away from the main areas of my home.

It only made sense to utilize these unused books on my fireplace mantel.

In order to maintain simplicity on the mantel, I specifically placed the books with the ‘page side’ outward. I didn’t want the various colors of the bindings to show nor did I want the titles on the binding to show for the fear of looking too busy.

The books helped create variated heights on my display. I originally had the bronze candle base, like this one, directly on the mantel, instead of on the books as you see below. The candle looked way too short, so I was glad to alleviate that issue by placing it on the stacked books. Additionally, my wood mantel is bowed, so I have a challenge of trying to balance my decor pieces on an unleveled surface. Fortunately, the stacked books alleviated that issue, too!

The books ended up being the perfect decor addition for my mantel – and they didn’t cost me anything.

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

PROP MIRRORS, PICTURES & FRAMES

My husband and I got married in 2014, and many of our accompanying wedding pictures made their way into a closet a year later, after the hype of the wedding died down. When I was perusing my home for the perfect decor pieces, I almost overlooked our wedding pictures.

Many of our photos boast bold colors, which I love. But, I didn’t want too much color variation on the mantel because of the other decor pieces I was using. The large mirror that hangs above the mantel is one of my staple pieces. I don’t normally take it down, and I didn’t want to remove it for my new display. Instead, I wanted to add to it.

After digging through what seemed like boxes of pictures, I came across two frames that already had black and white photos in them.  They were the perfect accenting frames to prop against my bronze-colored mirror.

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home



Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

DISPLAY PAINTED WINE BOTTLES 

I love painted wine bottles. In fact, I have a couple sets of painted wine bottles. My white-painted wine bottles are displayed on our fireplace mantel, as you can see below. I wrapped a piece of Ashland™ Burlap Garland, Tight Weave around them to create a farmhouse feel.

I also have teal-colored wine bottles that accent my master bedroom and bathroom. For my teal-colored wine bottles, I simply inserted Ashland® Natural Curly Willow to give them some height. Both options are perfect ones for low-budget mantel decor.

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

UTILIZE CANDLES

I have so many candles! We had purchased a ton of ivory pillar candles for our wedding with the hope of reusing them in our home afterwards. I have a lot them placed sporadically around our home, but there were still a few leftovers sitting in my cabinet. I decided to use them as decor items on my mantel.

They make a nice combination with the bronze candle holder, similar to the Ashland® Pillar Candle Holder, Mariposa Rustic.

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

ARRANGE BASKETS, BLANKETS & PILLOWS

This is one of those fireplace mantel decorating ideas that can be great for your fireplace hearth too.

I love baskets, and I love decorating with them as much as possible. This beautiful large wicker floor basket from Bed, Bath, & Beyond is one of my favorites. The great thing about baskets is that you can supplement them by adding throw blankets and pillows you already own.

I simply inserted one of my off-white throw pillows that wasn’t being used into the basket.  Simple and beautiful!

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

HANG PLANTS & FLOWERS

As I noted above, I have a lengthy fireplace mantel. I had been searching for something to hang on either end to give it just the right balance. Originally, we used candle hangers to fill the space, but they just weren’t the right fit.

I had wanted to add some greenery anyway, and then one day it hit me to use hanging planters on my fireplace mantel. I already had hooks installed under the mantel, so I just needed to get the hanging plants. I opted for real plants, as I don’t mind watering them and I like the added benefit that they’re a natural air purifier. My plants need very little maintenance and are thriving in a fairly sunless area.

If real plants aren’t for you, fake ones will do the trick too and still look great.  There are so many fake plant options these days that look so real!

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

 ACCENT WITH UP-CYCLED FINDS

I have had the pitchers (shown below) for so long now that I can’t even remember where I got them! I do know they were definitely a thrift find.  A couple years ago, I painted them at the same time as the mirror I have hanging above the mantel. I used the same paint in hopes of making them look like a matching set. I like that the bronze tone is a bit of a lighter one than a typical oil-rubbed bronze. It gives some variation to the other bronze-colored decor pieces that are on the mantel and in the room.

If you have done any thrifting lately and have a few pieces that would work well on your fireplace, try them. If they’re not the right color, you can always paint them. Painting is such a great way to restore frugal finds.

Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home



Budget-friendly fireplace mantle decor | A Brick Home

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Marly Dice
Marly is the founder of A Brick Home, a blog about home renovation, DIY projects, and decorating ideas. A Brick Home helps readers create their version of a beautiful and thriving home on a budget. Marly has had a passion for beautiful home living since she can remember. Even when she used to work in the corporate world as a marketer, she spent her evenings and weekends creating an inspired home space one DIY project at a time. Marly also has a passion for everything blogging-related. She often outlines blogging tips and strategies to help others achieve their blogging goals.

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