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Throwing out the decorating “rulebook”

So I had been looking for a fireplace mantel for a couple of months. This summer I pulled up to a garage sale and spotted a beauty with a sign on it that said FREE… one of my favorite words in the English language! I couldn’t put the car in park fast enough. The owner was in construction and his client had replaced this mantel and was going to pitch it. ย I loaded that baby up, brought it home and spray painted it white.

I put it against the wall between the two windows in our dining room. Do we have a fireplace in our dining room? Nope. GASP! Is there a rule in the decorating rulebook somewhere that says you must have a fireplace to have a mantel? Nope…I googled it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s how the wall looked before: Okay, but a tad on the boring side.

And here it is after:

A mantel opens up all kinds of decorating possibilities!

The inspiration for the chalkboard came from Rie at Home and Harmony. If you’ve never visited her blog, you are in for some serious eye candy. What an absolutely gorgeous home! Just click Home and Harmony under “Blogs I Love” in the sidebar. ย Here’s a link to her amazing mantel.ย ย Home and Harmony mantel and chalkboard

Translation: “Oh Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:8

Just for the record…everything in this display (with the exception of the pillows, candleholders, swag, and top three platters which came from HomeSense) was purchased at garage sales and thrift stores.

It’s time to throw out the decorating rulebook, people! You know what? The most striking rooms and arrangements are usually the ones that break the rules in some way or at least bend them a little! The decorating police will not come to your door and write you a ticket. Pinky swear!

Linking up with:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
The DIY Show OffUndertheTableandDreaming

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow! LOVE IT!! Score!

    October 17, 2010
  2. Ann #

    Rulebook? We don’t need no stinkin’ rulebook! Love your creative flair and style….your “non regulation” mantel looks great. I want one now and I’ll figure out how to get it, too. Love the monochrome look, so simple yet so stylish. I love COLOR but this simple look is really growing on me. I think the garland is the perfect final touch. Kudos!!

    October 17, 2010
  3. Once again…awesome post, and decor!

    October 17, 2010
  4. Could this be any prettier? It’s absolutely charming! Thank you for sharing!

    October 17, 2010
  5. Wow! I love your mantel. I love the way you have it styled. The chalkboard is fantastic…I love everything about it. What a lucky find for you. I think it would be fabulous to have a mantel in the dining room whether you have a fireplace or not.

    October 17, 2010
  6. Your mantel is gorgeous! I love mantels and you have done a fantastic job of decorating yours!

    October 18, 2010
  7. A free mantel, wow!! That is awesome! Your whole display is so, so, gorgeous!! I just sigh with love while looking at it! (okay that sounds really weird)

    October 18, 2010
  8. I don’t believe in any rule book except for inspiration and vision. Your vision turned out superb! How terrific that you got the mantel for the bubble too. Fantastic!

    October 18, 2010
  9. ldh #

    So very lovely! I love all of the white pieces.

    October 18, 2010
  10. I love your mantle! The chalkboard is tres magnifique! And I love all of your wonderful accessories, too ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 18, 2010
  11. It looks so great! The way you displayed it is really cool!

    October 18, 2010
  12. Your mantle is so gorgeous! I love the way you decorated it. All the white plates, and chalkboard. I just love it. The best stuff doesn’t have rules. I’m so glad i found your blog….Kathy

    October 18, 2010
  13. Incredible and affordable transformation. Adorable post. You don’t follow fashion; you’re a leader in fashion and it shows!

    October 18, 2010
  14. Lydia #

    Oh this is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! You inspire me to do away with my actual fireplace (which NEVER gets used in the sunny south) and use it to store a basket of blankets:) I also LOVE the Bible verse in french. I may do that to get my kids to practice their french more:)
    Thanks for sharing- oh, and I visited from Cottage instincts. My decorating blog is

    October 18, 2010
  15. Absolutely gorg! How lucky were you to get that FREE?! It looks amazing, I love all of the accessories you have around it. What fun you’ll have at Christmas time.

    October 18, 2010
  16. I absolutely love this — the china especially is so beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing, this was a treat to look at


    October 18, 2010
  17. what a beautiful mantel! I love how the white pops off the grey! I recently painted my dining room a similar color!

    October 18, 2010
  18. Your new mantel looks beautiful. I love the colors. Love the creamware too!

    October 18, 2010
  19. I really love your mantel! Keep breaking those rules. I always say, If it ain’t broke, break it!

    I’m hosting a link party so get your best cocktail recipe ready and dust off those glasses! Join the Happy Hour link party this Wednesday!!

    October 19, 2010
  20. Wow, that mantle is impressive. I love it! Thank you for sharing, I feel inspired (:

    October 19, 2010
  21. Thank you all so much for your nice comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 19, 2010
  22. Susan You mantle makeover is simply stunning. I love every little detail and the chalkboard is fabulous. Beautiful. I featured this today. Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Thanks so much for linking to The Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it. Hope you enjoy your week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

    October 20, 2010
  23. Wow! this is fantastic!! Did you spray paint your existing plates are these white plates original? I have candlesticks like you have that are not the right color and hadn’t even thought about maybe spray painting them-

    Love love the verse!! What a great way to memorize by having scripture all over the house!

    bee blessed

    October 21, 2010
    • Hi Mary, Those are the original colors. I have spray painted a platter before with glossy white and it turned out fine! Thanks for stopping by!

      October 21, 2010
  24. Oh, my! This is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing this great solution. Your wall and mantle is so wonderful. I’m truly inspired.

    October 22, 2010
  25. Awwww I love it! I’m from the deep south too ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 23, 2010

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