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Simple Fall Mantel

They say yesterday was the first official day of fall.

But I don’t buy it.

Maybe fall started up north already, but here in the South, everything is still fresh and green, and you can’t find an assortment of live pumpkins in any store… not even if you NEED them to decorate your mantel for fall!

It’s almost as if the people deciding the calendar of the world did not consult me. (I don’t ask much: just for the seasons to perfectly correspond to the weather in my specific neighborhood. It’s reasonable.)
Fall mantle decorated with watercolor pumpkins and fall leaves

But while I wait for the weather to catch up to the calendar, I whipped up a quick, simple little mantel for fall. Pretend like the leaves are real (they’re not) and the pumpkins are live (they’re not either). But they WOULD be real and live if it was really fall. (It’s not.)

The anchor of the mantle is this octagon mirror we made last year out of pallet wood:
DIY reclaimed octagonal mirror! Knock off of a pricey designer version but cost nothing.

I saw this awesome tutorial for watercolor letters at Jones Design Company and thought it’d be fun to try to recreate that… ON the pumpkins.

Since I couldn’t find any real pumpkins, I grabbed some craft pumpkins from Michaels and painted them. (I’ll show you how to do that in the next post… maybe? I don’t know… do you guys want to see that? I’ll be honest – I’m conflicted about how I feel about them.) Update: see how to make your own watercolor pumpkins here.

Watercolor lettered pumpkins for fall!

Maybe changing your mantel for the seasons is what it takes for the weather to catch up to the calendar. Or maybe next year, we could all just agree to not call it fall until there’s a chill in the morning air and the trees start to look like they’re catching fire. I’ll get started on a petition we can sign.
Fall mantle decorated with watercolor pumpkins and fall leaves

Are you decorating for fall? Does it still feel like summer where you are right now?
Linking up to: Thrifty Decor Chick

Let's connect


  1. This looks great! I really like the pumpkins, and it’s a fun and different way to decorate them. I’m working on a pumpkin project myself, although I”m just hopeful it will be in place by Halloween. No promises.

  2. I think your pumpkins are adorable! I’m in Virginia and up until today it has still felt like summer. Today is a really windy 68 degrees. Such a weird temperature jump but I love it! I have been looking for pumpkins about the size of yours for my mantel so thanks for telling where you got them. I hadn’t checked out Michael’s yet!

  3. I think your pumpkins look really cute. I always pass those pumpkins in the big bins at Michael’s but am too cheap to buy them…why are they so stinkin’ expensive? I still love that mirror!

    • So Michaels is unfortunately one of those places (like JoAnn’s) that marks WAY up (80 points at max on import private label merchandise- think of it as cost x 5!) then they give you ‘coupons’ so you feel like you’re getting a deal. In actuality, you are still paying TRIPLE of what it cost them to buy it. Sick, isn’t it? I used to work for an import company that sold to JoAnns, so I know how much things SHOULD cost. I’m not sure if those pumpkins are made in USA or China, but if they are from China, the cost of the product is fairly low but the freight (shipping) on them is high. They are large, round and don’t pack efficiently.

  4. I like how the pumpkins look- subtle and artsy. 🙂
    I decorate for fall on September 1st, partially because I’m in Massachusetts and partially because I just can’t wait any longer. …and by decorating for fall, I mean Halloween. the best holiday of all time.

  5. Luv the pumpkins. The entire mantel is beautiful…

  6. this is such a cool idea, kelly! LOVE it!

  7. Julia @Cuckoo4Design says:

    Oh it’s totally fall here already.
    Your mantel looks awesome and I adore the watercolor letters.

  8. I would sign your petition. I live in Houston and the weather is still mostly hot, with the exception of the occasional tease-of-a-cold-front. And when I say “cold,” I mean “70 degrees.”

  9. Such a beautiful mantel! And I LOVE that mirror! So pretty. Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday, Miss Kelly!

    ~Abby =)

  10. From Halloween to New Years there are approximately two months of time and four (time consuming) big event holidays. We are still enjoying the dog-days of summer — for as long as possible


  11. I, too, am bemoaning the lack of real pumpkins thus far this year. And I like your pumpkins!

  12. This is so cute!! You don’t want live pumpkins anyway right?! These you can keep and reuse. The best kind! Love that mirror! Happy hot fall:)

    House envy

  13. Oh, fall has definitely said hello to us here in Michigan, that’s for sure! I switched my front porch from summer to fall last weekend and added a touch of fall to my mantel. I think your mantel turned out great….even though it’s really not fall where you are. 😉

  14. So pretty!! I love the wood with the white……a subtle nod to Autumn. I am starting to get into the spirit of fall…..starting with the batch of roasted butternut squash soup I made tonight!

  15. Cute idea! AND YES!!! I am not ready for fall down south! I am loving the cool weather but not sure I’m ready to decorate for fall….:)

  16. cute pumpkins Kelly!!! It looks very BHG 😉 xo Kristin

  17. I like how the white and cream of the pumpkins contrasts with the bright leaves. Plus, to be honest, I’d love the idea of pumpkins that could be reused each year 🙂

  18. This is so SO good. I love the pumpkins. And I just pinned your pallet post… want! Its scale is so perfect for that space!

  19. LOVE the mirror! Seriously! I’m sending this idea to my brother who is the maker of all things pallet. 🙂

    Happy day to you rock star!

  20. Oh my gosh Kelly! Haha! Well, it was raining here right on time in Seattle, and I have pumpkins by the door. But honestly only because they made us take them at the Fun Run on Saturday. 😉

  21. I love the mantel, it made me feel very Fall-y and happy, and thankfully not overwhelmed! Too much stuff would make me anxious. Love the “Punkins” and will do that next year! I’m in New York, and we have all things fall going on, and even a wonderful little garden center that’s selling Huge baskets of every color mums at 5/$20!! That’s usually unheard of here, but made me extremely happy!! 😀 <—- see? So… Happy Fall to you! and may your leaves start turning and you're weather get cooler by the minute!

  22. Keeps saying duplicate message, seems you already said that, when I comment … So i’ll just say I love it!!! and Happy Fall to you!!! Hope this works!

  23. Love that mirror! Don’t think I had “discovered” you yet then. And here in New England…it is fall. Most definitely. I would rather still be in flip flops. Come spring you will be sticking your tongue out at me and saying, “Ha, ha, you’re still in boots and a scarf” (in a singsongy taunting way). But we’re all over early fall here!

  24. Oooooooo!!! Those pumpkins are delicious to my eyes! I love love love those water color pumpkins. Your mantel looks terrific!

  25. Gah! I am an art teacher and this is what I call love at first sight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Even better than the fall display, which I think is just the right touch in all ways, is your highly enjoyable writing style! Funny lady-

  27. Gorgeous!! I love your pumpkins!!!

  28. That mirror is so beautiful as is your mantle. Puts me right in a fall mood 🙂

  29. Aww, I think your mantle looks so cute! The pumpkins came out great in my opinion!

  30. Love it! I really like how the pumpkins came out too! I wouldn’t mind a tutorial on them…

  31. I like your pumpkins. And that’s not something I often tell people.

  32. I love the letters on your pumpkins and love how you styled your mantel too Kelly! 🙂
    it’s Fall here 🙂 it’s sunny but chilly and we are wearing sweaters too! hope Fall will be there for you soon too! 🙂

  33. Gorgeous! I am totally inspired to decorate pumpkins now 🙂

  34. I’m also skeptical that it’s fall. I mean, when I saw the thermometer read 80 degrees today instead of the usual 90, I remarked, “Hey, it’s getting cooler.” But of course, this is all relative. 80 degrees is NOT fall weather; at least, not according to my childhood memories growing up in New York.

    But fall decor does help with the illusion…and yours is rockin’ sistah! I love the watercolor effect on those pumpkins! So unique.

  35. Down here in the DEEP South (Mobile, Alabama) It was a rockin’ 92F with 100% humidity, so Imma have ta sign your ‘tition! Jes sayin! Ridiculous! Our fall starts about the third week in October. Winter starts end of November and ends promptly the end of January. Spring lasts first of February til first of April, when Summer starts and lasts until mid October. Keep in mind, my Newfie husband (from Newfoundland) wears a tee shirt with no jacket all winter!

  36. I love the watercolor effect on the white pumpkins. Also this is going to sound weird, but you picked and staggered the pumpkin sizes perfectly! Simply beautiful and ready for the south to get with it being fall!

  37. … if you mean “decorating” for fall by placing numerous tissue boxes around the house and a furnace filter on the living room chair (that’s where they go, right??), then, yes! Otherwise, no, I’m pretending it’s still summer. With long sleeves and the furnace turned on.

  38. I love the watercolour pumpkins! That’s the thing that caught my eyes! I originally thought they were spray painted all different colours though, that would also be a good idea 😉

  39. No, fall is here. Unfortunately, it’s because of bad weather and fortunately – because of good ideas for home decoration. I’m about to decorate my house on coming weekend. I have found some ideas of lanterns and candles and now I liked the way you used pumpkins. They look great though even being artificial. Would you decorate mirror with leaves? Or at least with golden paint? As far as I’m concerned it would look cool.

  40. The trees have started changing around here but that’s because I live in an inferior part of the country that doesn’t allow for yard sales to go on year-round. However, it was 78 today so I too am skeptical of what the calendar says.

    Still love your wood octagon mirror!

  41. LOVE the pumpkins and the rainbow-ish colors of the letters… SO AWESOME 🙂


  1. […] only other thing I did to decorate for fall was my fall mantle and the watercolor pumpkins I showed you a couple weeks ago. And I bought two pre-potted mums and […]

  2. […] the last post, I showed you my fall mantel with watercolor pumpkins: I was a little conflicted about the watercolor pumpkins I made. I think […]

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