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5 minute decorating- Bottles, Books and Blooms on the mantel

Remember that 5 minute decorating series I did a few years back?

The one where I shared how to decorate something like a mantel, refresh the bedroom or set the table for guests- in just about 5 minutes?

Okay- it was probably more like 10 or 15 minutes after finding all the elements for everything.
But basically, it is a quick fix either way. And since I am running around like a wild woman, sipping on extra coffee and spinning plates like my mom used to talk about- I am bringing 5 minute decorating sexy back.

Honestly, how much fun is it to be able to wave that magic wand and have your room look gorgeous that. with just a few things in just a few minutes?

 I don't have a magic wand for decorating- but I can share some of my favorite tips for decor and ambiance in a snap.  And for a quick start- today it is all about mantel decor- and 5 ideas that take about 5 minutes. And pretty much 3 ingredients. My big 3  'B'  for mantels.... haha.

Bottles, books and blooms.

Yes, bottles, blooms and books and you are done.
I am a huge fan of using old books and blooms for decorating the mantel. And this is definitely something you can incorporate in a snap. You know, when your friend texts and says she is randomly the area and is coming by with coffee for a chat.
Grab those three 3 things and sprinkle that magic.

You might remember this mantel that could (oh the work this took to create at midnight in the humidity! Click over to see where I started)  It was from the Hidden Treasure Adventure with GMC a few years ago.
My go to mantel decor worked perfectly for the last minute decor for the big reveal. And I didn't even have too many blooms for this one- they were not plentiful at midnight in the midwest the night before the big reveal.

 A bit of blue

An easy way to add a pop of color to your mantel for a burst of fresh spring beauty is to bring in a bit of blue. I love blue and especially vintage blue in decor- but truth be told- I am more of a subtle color kind of girl. But for this mantel that incorporated the most gorgeous blush peonies- it was all blue and easy.

I used a mix of vintage blue bottles with some brand new ones from HomeGoods and that was it.

Vintage apothecary bottles

If color isn't for you- try some of those clear, pale green or vintage style brown apothecary bottles.

They are plentiful to find at HomeGoods and thrift stores- think soap bottles repurposed as well. An grouped together with the palest of blooms- you can create a charming mantel.

Lay blooms on the mantel

If you are using a flower that is good for drying- such as larkspur - you can easily plop a handful of flowers on the mantel and enjoy them simply as they are.

I love to do this with larkspur especially because it will dry so perfectly - and you can enjoy it even after it is dried. For a touch of height and interest- a couple of small books and bottles with just a sprig of blooms is all you need.


Veering off into a similar but different direction for these next two. What if you don't have bottles galore? The soap bottles at HomeGoods were not fabulous maybe and so you don't have any to grab and quickly style with?
Another go to element- buckets. It is not a stretch to say that I am obsessed with using buckets for decor either.

Like that bucket with a potted plant I shared last week- easy easy easy.

or that zinc bucket with hydrangeas-

So simple and charming.

Go Faux

And.... if you are in a big pinch and don't have any fresh flowers in the house- well, a gorgeous faux arrangement will be a beautiful touch. This Loire Valley faux floral arrangement from my Balsam Hill collection is one of my favorites- and it fits perfectly on the mantel.

As does the Brittany Rose arrangement when it isn't in the kitchen. :)

Seriously though- decorating the mantel for spring or summer doesn't have to be involved or take a ton of time to do. Just a few elements add a sprinkle of spring.
And coming your way next... 5 fabulous bouquets with grocery store flowers. In about 5 minutes... or maybe 15 but who is counting. ;)

Happy Monday everyone.


  1. I just have a question. First I so love your site! However, why are decorators turning the pages out instead of the spine? I started noticing this and was wondering. Thank you. P.S. This year I painted my outside bike ballet pink and filled the basket with pink hydrangeas and peonys. I really love it!

  2. Hi Courtney, thank you for the inspiration on an easy mantel. I am all excited to rev mine up for summer and also for the great Romantic Homes issue on Flea Market style. Love, love, loved it! You and your team are doing an amazing job! Have an awesome day!
    xoxo Jo

  3. Oh yes! the books! I have all these books. I kind of display them - I used a bunch of antique like old books inbetween cedar shelves to create a bookcase, but the way these look! I love it and together with flowers and the bottles - beautiful!

  4. I have the same comment as Sharon above. Please someone, tell me why the books are facing with the pages instead of the spine showing. Joanna Gaines started showing books this way and to be honest, it makes no sense. The title is generally facing the potential reader.