Quick Weekend Decorating

Inspiration for the decorating the mantle

We had some family come for a visit in early March. With work and managing all of my consulting clients, house decorating has fallen to wayside. I wanted to spruce up the living area without spending too much time and money for a quick weekend project.  
With a giant house that needs a ton of work in renovations with many areas to decorate – I was a little overwhelmed on where to start.

Here is a game plan that helped focus on what to do: 

  1. Choose one area to spruce up that you want to focus on.  (10 mins)  Don’t over think this! What comes to mind at first?  For our house, the living area is the most put together and the most used (beside the kitchen). I chose the Mantle to decorate since the days are still cool; and gathering by the fireplace is still a nightly / daily ritual.
  2. What are the challenges? (20 mins)
    • Temperature – The mantle gets very WARM (it’s actually the perfect spot for dough to rise). Because the warm temperature, the center should be off limits. Candles cannot go directly above the fireplace, since they will melt on the mantle. I’m worried about frames warping so let’s hold off on big frames.
    • Many cooks in the kitchen – We tend to disagree on color. While I love neutrals with small pops of colors; I want to make this space bright and colorful. It will be a fine balance of not overdoing it.
    • Design – This space is huge and empty; I wanted to fill it vertically without making it feel very cluttered.
  3. Create a visual inspiration board. (15 mins)
    Pinterest and home blogs can be a time suck. I like to give myself a time limit to quickly get a sense of what kind of decor ideas that I liked that could inspire the place. Design inspiration takeaways are: Minimal, neutral earth tones, varied height for vases.
  4. Budget (5 mins)
    My sister in law gave me a gift card from Michael’s and I wanted to stretch that as far as I could with an all in budget of $100 (including the gift card).


In about an hour, I set the parameters for a quick weekend project!

At Michael’s I found the Indigo Spice by Studio Decor on sale with 50% off. There was a nice mix and match of vases and different decor. I was there when the store was about to close on a weekend, it was pretty empty – and I was able to quickly create a little vignette on the shelf there. Yes, I was that person to move things all over other place and make sure they matched and looked cute together!

Getting crazy at Michael’s.


Design & Conquer (1.5 hours) Hierarchy is a crucial role in my professional design work and helps in every aspect of design, including, home decor. When choosing the Dominant, subdominant, and subordinate elements it helps create a focal point and logic for eye.

With this project, the Dominant tall vases matched with the tall Forsythia to fill the space vertically. The subordinate features with the small vases and photos ground the overall composition with the subdominant medium vases with the sweeping cherry blossoms filling in the space in the middle.


Note on fake flowers – They look fake, period. But when bending the wires and pulling them to different heights and adjusting them so they don’t look flat – you can make it work.  It also helps that this is on a wall and not a centerpiece. 

Final Project time: 2 hours 

I want the mantle to look overall very pleasing yet, not take over the focal point in the room as an accent. The colors remained balanced and muted with the earth tones of the vases and the small pops of colors in the flowers. The varying height of the 3 vases helped fill in the space to create a cozy vignette on each side. I love fresh cut flowers; however it’s not a realistic for me to have them cut every week. Maybe next year it’s something I can plan on. 


Total Budget: $75.00

Vases: $50 ($50 gift card used on the vases — Thanks Liz!)

Flowers: $25

As a new home owner I’m pleased with this quick weekend project. Big renovations are so time consuming and expensive, it’s nice to squeeze in a quick project and to feel really productive.

2 Comments on Quick Weekend Decorating

  1. Helen
    March 13, 2016 at 9:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Hey, Your place looks amazing. I love the minimalist approach you are taking right now. I can’t wait to see more.

  2. Christina
    March 31, 2016 at 5:36 pm (6 years ago)

    Love your house — total fireplace envy!!


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