Restyling on a Budget

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Finding the right decor for any space can be difficult. With changing trends and seasons, committing to a decor piece let alone a whole arrangement can feel like entering a long term relationship. So I have a few rules of thumb. First, I absolutely never buy anything I am not in love with and if I have to I make it myself over settling for the more expense, less "me" option I do it. So I'm always on the hunt for my next treasure but I don't buy every trip! For this project, I looked around my house first for items I either wasn't using or were tucked away where no one could see them. Honestly, I got a lot of my vision from those items already in my house, then determined what I still needed to complete the look. Secondly, in general I tend to go with a more neutral or subtle color scheme, variations of whites, grays and other natural colors, as the foundation then I work in pops of color and textures like wood grain, baskets, colored glass as I go to give the arrangement its depth and character. Finally, I tend to rearrange and move things around every six months or so to keep each room looking fresh and interesting.

So today I wanted to share my newest arrangement- my mantle! Since it is the focal point of not only our great room but our first floor due to our open floor plan, I really wanted it to create an arrangement that was intriguing, functional and personal. I knew right from the start I wanted the anchor to be the seating chart we used for our wedding reception. It is one of our engagement photographs blown up and arranged into a mosaic... a post for a different day. It was a do-it-yourself idea, I found online as we were planning our wedding and it has dubbed as a beautiful keepsake ever since! There is something about black and white photography that is so reflective and emotional; I absolutely love seeing it every day. With such a neutral anchor as well as the wall color and fireplace, I wanted to bring in subtle colors that would be reminiscent of springtime, one of my favorite seasons. When I found this blue colored glass vase (world market), I knew it would be perfect! I love using glass in interior design because of its clear dimension and it keeps an arrangement light and airy. So to continue with a feminine touch, I need to incorporate some flowers. I am a flower snob so fake flowers aren't my jam, but having fresh cut flowers everyday all day isn't practical either so I have an obsession with dried natural florals- a beautiful compromise. These yellow forsythia-like flowers (michaels) brought height, spring color and a subtle contrast to the blue glass and neutral wall. I finished it off by adding these topiaries (rose&remingtonhome), which I bought on a whim knowing I'd find a place for them. Sure enough they were exactly what I needed to balance out the height of the floral arrangement while adding weight, texture and greenery. Finally, I added a little copper pot to add some warmth and metal texture.

What to do in the center...hmmm. I thought about this one for awhile searching through my treasures in my house. I knew I wanted to incorporate some color to break up the white mantle and black/white photograph and I knew it would need to fairly long, short and not very deep. Then, I spotted this poplar trough (diy) in my office closet that my dad made me out of some scrap wood from shelving we put in the nursery. Let me tell you, I think poplar wood is gorgeous! It's subtle grain and delicate color make it a unique wood choice. This piece in particluar makes for a beautiful centerpiece, especially filled with these green and white decorative spheres (target/tjmax). I propped them up with some extra potpourri I had laying around the house and voila!

The secret behind interior design is to assemble an arrangement like a pyramid. You want to begin low on the sides and build up to a peak. I knew I wanted to incorporate a lantern on the left side as it would complement the vase on the right. However, I was having trouble finding one that wasn't going to be too deep for the mantle. As I considered a different options, I decided this is where I could add some functionality! We have an 11 month old so having "coffee table" type books on the actual coffee table isn't an option. But I could put them on the mantle! After all I am such a visual person...if I can't see it I forget I have it and that was the case with many of my books. So I played with a handful of my favorite books-- Elements of Style by Gates, The Magnolia Story by Gaines and Ottolenghi by Tamimi. I stacked the books up to make a little platform to give the lantern a little more height, then added a few more on the side with this deep turquoise blue agate bookend (marshalls). I even recovered some old journals I had with fancy shopping bags I had kept from Anthropologie and Altar'd State. The final touch was adding a ball jar with yellow bellybuttons and eucalyptus (roseandremingtonhome) to tie in some yellow and green colors. I was so thrilled that I was able to re-style this space by simply treasure hunting in my own house. I turned my so so mantle into a gorgeous, functional and uniquely me focal point for virtually nothing.