Mantels, Entryways and Mudrooms Oh My!

During this time of year, mostly due to the colder temps and shorter days, I spend much more time inside of my home. Last week we had a rather large storm and as I was staring at the mantle above my fireplace, I realized that it needed an update, that along with a few other areas of my home. Thankfully, easy ways to decorate and update were only a click away.  Below are some great ideas that I found for refreshing the fireplace mantle, the entryway, and the mudroom.

The Fireplace Mantle

According to, mantels are usually the focal point of any rooms they are found in, and there is nothing like creating an eye-catching display to really make the most of them. They are the perfect spot for everything from flowers to candlesticks to photo frames and treasured objects d'art. Here are some important tips to remember when decorating a mantle.


  • Treat the mantle as you would a piece of furniture. Consider its shape, structure, color, and style before you decide how you are going to decorate it.
  • Use items of different shapes and sizes. Start with taller items at the back and use smaller items as you work your way forward.
  • Layer items in front of each other. Layering creates depth and that is important in every kind of vignette or display.
  • Create a formal display with symmetry. A very classic look is to place one significant item in the middle and then flank it on either side with matching items (vases or candlesticks, for example).
  • Give your display room to breathe. You do not want so many items that it looks crowded or cluttered. When too many items are forced together, they get lost and no longer stand out.
  • In most displays, odds are usually better than evens. Placing similar objects together in a group of three or five usually works better than grouping them in pairs.
  • Lean items like framed art and mirrors against the wall. It creates a relaxed and casual type of display.
  • Change your mantel decor with the seasons. Mantles are focal points all year round, but great mantle displays that can be created in the fall and around the holidays really make a statement.


  • Do not forget to make sure your mantel display is in keeping with the overall style of the room. Whatever you have on it needs to complement the mantel itself and the rest of the room.
  • Do not use a completely random assortment of items in your display. Find items that complement each other in some way. The objects should connect to each other through color, style, or theme.
  • Do not completely hide items when layering. Items in the foreground should overlap those behind them, but you still need to be able to see the item in the back.
  • You do not have to have matching items to have a balanced display. Several lightweight items on one side can be balanced with one visually heavy item on the other.
  • Do not just put any old items on your mantel, include things that have meaning to you in some way.
  • Do not use items that are all the same shape. Create balance by mixing shapes within a display. For instance, a stack of elegant boxes can be topped with a small sculptural item to give a little more interest to the overall look.
  • Do not use too many materials at one time. For instance, don't mix gold, silver, pewter, glass, wood, at any one time. Try to limit it to two or three finishes. Ultimately, trust your own eye. It will tell you when enough is enough.

If you do not have a mantel, do not worry about it, you can get one if you really want one. Beautiful second-hand mantels are available at second-hand stores like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, or you can make a DIY mantel. Once you have got an idea of theme or items you would like to display, here are some additional items from and Better Homes and Gardens to consider when putting it all together:

Fireplace Mantel Decorating Tips

These simple guidelines will help you to be thoughtful with your mantel decor decisions.

  • Variation: Use items of different shapes and sizes. Start with taller items at the back and use smaller items as you work your way forward.
  • Layering: Don't be afraid to layer items in front of each other—this creates depth. Remember, a mantel is not a photograph and people won't always be looking at it straight-on. Items in the foreground should overlap those in the back so that no item is obscured.
  • Symmetry: The tried-and-true formula that always works is to put one large item in the middle (such as a bowl of flowers) and then flank each side with matching items (creating a mirror image).
  • Odd Numbers: When using multiple items, always use an odd number of them. For instance, three candlesticks instead of two, or five bud vases instead of four. This goes for just about everything in decorating: when it comes to groups, odds are more interesting than evens.
  • Elegance: For a formal look, anchor the mantel with matching items on each side. A pair of Staffordshire dog figurines, for example, always looks classic and polished.
  • Connection: Try not to use a totally random assortment of items. Find items that complement each other either in color, style, or theme. The objects should connect to each other in some way.
  • Proportion: Balance doesn't have to mean that all pieces match. Several lightweight items on one side can be balanced with one visually heavy item on the other.
  • Accent Piece: To really create focus and call attention to a piece, place one large item in the center.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Don't put so many objects on the mantel that it ends up looking cluttered. Give the items breathing room or they'll get lost in the mess.

Some of these fireplace mantel ideas, particularly those dealing with balance and proportion, can seem confusing, but they're really not. Your eye will tell you if something doesn't work. Just keep experimenting until you find your mantel pleasing to look at. The really important thing to remember is that no display is permanent. You can always move things around and play with the setup.

Great Items for Fireplace Mantel Decorating 

Don't know what to put on your mantel? Here are a few ideas:

  • Picture Frames
  • Candlesticks
  • Statues
  • Vases
  • Clocks
  • Decorative boxes
  • Framed prints, paintings, and mirrors (lean them against the back wall for a casual look, then layer smaller pieces in front of them)
  • Decorative plates (on stands)
  • Stacks of Books
  • Shadow boxes with interesting items

The Entryway

Another area that is always difficult for me to decorate is the entryway.  Check out these tips from on how to create a lasting impression with your entryway:
Making a first impression for your home is important and entryway decor can help you succeed. The entryway is a space of great use and importance but sometimes it is underestimated. We put all our energy into the living room and dining area but clearly the entry hall or foyer is the first space that we see when we come home and where we welcome all our guests. Thus, if you want to make a good first impression and also enjoy your home the moment you get in, this is the space to focus on. Here are the top tips for entryway decorations that will wow your guests!

Entryway Decorating Ideas

1. Create Wow Factor With Entryway Decor

Surprise your guests with entryway decor that they don’t expect to see at the hallway or with something that is really catchy and impressing. This can be a large chandelier, an extra large wall art piece or a glamorous large floor mirror. The “wow” feeling can be also created with more permanent choices such as a wallpaper or interesting floor tiles. This is the room where you can be risky and make some noise!

2. Light It Up With Entryway Decor

Pendant lighting, lamps and sconces are absolutely necessary in the entrance but can also serve as entryway decor creating a special lighting atmosphere. You can have a chandelier or pendant, a table lamp, a floor lamp, sconces or even a combination of these. A nice ceiling light can always be the answer when you want to impress. For example, a large chandelier can give a dramatic feel to the space, especially when you have a double height entry hall. You can have the same impact even in normal height spaces with a pendant or with a flush mount/ flush mount fixture.
The next common light to use and decorate your entryway with is a table lamp. Table lamps give height or volume into a decorative set up. They can light up a bold wall background or they can be used to give color into the room since there are so many different types and colors to choose from

3. Make Your Entryway Personal & Welcoming

This is mostly for you and then for your guests. It is nice when you get into your house and it feels like home. A favorite item, a written quote, a frame with a family photo or a gallery wall with family photos (why not?) can make your entrance very personal and homey. As for your guests, they may not appreciate the photo of your wedding that much, but they will sure find other things cozy and inviting. You can try small and comfy pillows on the bench and some flowers in a vase and the whole room will feel welcoming.

4. Keep Your Entryway Decor Organized

The A-to-Z thing that you should have in mind when selecting entryway decor. An organized space is always welcoming and inviting even when not being decorated. If you have clutter, think clever and add some storage to hide it! It is important that you have space to store shoes, bags, coats, umbrellas, and anything else you need to take with you when you go outside. This way, you will be able to find them easily, while at the same time your guests will not see a mess when they get in. You can have a storage bench or some good-looking baskets, a cabinet or even a closet.

5. How To Decorate Your Entryway With Seating

Not every entry hall has enough space for a seating area but when they do, it is great! Practical for those living in the house and inviting for those visiting. Usually, we prefer benches because they don’t need much space but if you have some extra square feet, an accent chair or a loveseat would look amazing and add some personality to the room.

6. Be Bold & Colorful with Your Decor

Don’t be afraid to use bold colors and colors in general. This is one of our design experts’ favorite entryway decorating ideas. Neutrals are great and can be amazing, but the entry of your house is the perfect area to try something different. Since you will not spend too much time in the room, you will not get bored or overwhelmed. You can even paint a wall red or have a colorful wallpaper with a bold pattern! Nothing is forbidden.

7. How To Decorate Your Entryway With Greenery

You have to add some greenery in the entrance and to other rooms too. Not only because green is the color of the year, but for many other reasons. A plant cannot fail any room. Having something alive and organic goes a long way. Plants make a blah space look stunning and fresh because of the green leaves. Bring nature into your home and it will match everything.

8. Try Unique Entryway Decorating Ideas

It is not easy to think outside the box for entryway decor. A console table, a table lamp, a mirror, a gallery wall, a bench. We have seen it all. Try to make something from scratch for uniqueness. Re-purpose an old item or give a vintage look to your grandmother’s old console table. You can even try making a sculpture or a DIY construction. These kinds of things will change the entrance atmosphere completely and also make you feel proud for yourself.

9. Bring In The Runners

Flooring is one thing, but the rugs is another. Rugs are absolutely necessary in high traffic areas and can make a large impact to the space. Depending on the shape of the room, we either use runners or round rugs as an awesome accent. (Tip: Prefer indoor/outdoor rugs because they are more durable.) From traditional to modern, from Moroccan kilims to transitional geometric patterns, rugs can make a statement. Sometimes you really don’t even need anything else to decorate.

9. Rock Your Entryway Decor with A Rack (or Hooks!)

If you feel that this post is not for you because you don’t have enough space for entryway decor or because you only have a wall behind the door, there is decorative hope. There are so many wall coat racks and hooks that you can select and change your wall in an instant. Small, large, hidden, sculptural or simple, these can make your wall look like a piece of art without any other space available and without any effort.   
Once inside your home’s front door, regardless if it’s a large front entryway or small space – your home’s front entryway is your chance to make a great first impression.  As the first thing visitors see, you have an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of your home – as far as style and design goes.  Interior designers recommend you really assess your home’s front entrance layout first.  Think about the other spaces in your house which you may or may not be able to see from the entryway space. has a great article that provides some ways to add pieces that will create an elegant entryway:


As the first space people see, your entrance area is often the perfect place for a table of some sort – as this can provide a beautiful focal point.  An entry table is also a great place for a table lamp and possible floral arrangements (both look so warm and welcoming.)
If your front door is the door you utilize the most, a table can also create a handy “drop zone” for your keys and mail on a daily basis.  As far as extra storage for coats and boots, wall hooks and cute baskets


Typically a traditional rectangle area rug if often used, but you can also opt for a more organic shape, or round rug if it better suits the space.
Additionally, you can also choose to incorporate a little eclectic or modern, or quirky style to reflect you personality in the space as well.


When it comes to art in your own home, think about your personal taste and style.


You might want to consider flushmount fixture if you have a small hallway or limited space. Or if you have high ceilings consider a statement piece wrought iron chandelier in the entry.  If you have enough space, I think a simple lantern or pendant light can also be a great choice.

In conclusion, at the end of the day, the best entryway design is one which suits your home’s needs and creates a warm welcome for you and your guests.

The Mudroom

Oh the Mudroom, if you are lucky enough to have one, then you know it can be both a blessing and a course.  Below are ways to make the chaos of the mudroom a bit more bearable, and practical too!  Jennifer Ebert, with Homes and Gardens, shares some great ideas in her article 10 Decorating Ideas for a Tidy and Organized Space:

If you're looking for entryway mudroom ideas, you may be wondering whether to limit the space to mudroom-only, or whether making room for laundry, coats and shoes, tinned foods, and pets is a wise option.  Your choices will, of course, be limited by how much space you have, but with clever planning, you can fit a ton of uses into even the smallest of entryway mudrooms.  And, whatever the practicalities, from incorporating mudroom ideas and laundry room ideas, to layout considerations and storage options, aesthetics are still really important to get right.

Entryway mudroom ideas
Whether you're designing a mudroom from scratch, or you want to give your current entryway a new look, below we bring you the best entryway mudroom ideas to help you choose a look that suits your home perfectly.

Make sure your mudroom storage is fit for purpose

In high traffic areas such as entryway mudrooms, boot rooms and porches, clever built-in mudroom storage is key to helping keep things organized. Shoe and welly space is top of the agenda, so incorporate shelving units with varying heights for these. 
Be sure to include an entryway bench to make switching footwear easy and for all those miscellaneous items, from dog leads to gloves, consider adding baskets to the shelves, which will keep things ordered while hiding the mess. Including a tall, well ventilated cupboard makes it easy to store muddy anoraks and damp raincoats.

Choose materials found in the rest of the home

Hallways are often purposeless thoroughfares that could be put to much better use, so why not consider turning yours into an entryway mudroom? 

More often than not, homeowners create a new entryway mudroom at the same time as redesigning their kitchen or hall. While this can be a cost-effective plan, it’s likely that the bulk of the budget will be weighted to the kitchen as this is used the most. 

‘Where countertops are concerned, if you’ve gone for a beautiful quartz, for example, in the main kitchen, consider choosing a similar look in a more cost-effective finish for the mudroom,’ suggests Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmark Kitchens. ‘Laminate options can echo your kitchen choice perfectly.’

Curate a pretty yet practical display

‘Entryway mudroom ideas really do have to work, so the trick is to combine function and longevity with decor that feels authentic rather than over-dressed,’ says Helen Parker, creative director of deVol. ‘There’s no need for decoration unless it’s useful or relates to the mudroom’s function, so I’d advise against putting up pictures or displaying ornaments – just let the room dictate its decoration. If you are a gardener, nothing is prettier than packets of seeds, terracotta pots, jam jar vases and baskets for gathering flowers.’

 Step up your storage 

'Ease of use and accessible storage ideas are key when designing an entryway mudroom,' says Peter Humphrey, founder and director of Humphrey Munson. 'This classic oak ladder allows safe access to upper cupboards, providing masses of storage and making full use of the available space.'  While floor space in a mudroom can be limited, use tall cabinetry to your advantage. This design includes two freezers, a drying cupboard and shelving. 'By raising the height of the washing machine and tumble dryer we’ve made the space more practical,' adds Peter.

Place a sink beneath a window

A deep butler sink is practical for washing vegetables and cutting flowers; if possible, place it beneath a window so you can enjoy your garden while standing at it. Keep the sink close to the washing machine, too, as it will make plumbing – and transferring laundry – easier. And install a run of work surface on either side if you have the space. 

We love how this worktop complements the dark rich tones of the American walnut and burnished brass hardware. A pretty blind that adds a touch of color and softness is the finishing touch.

Put the focus on storage

How you plan your entryway mudroom storage can make a difference, as Jessica Sims-Wilson, home designer at Neptune, explains. ‘If you have the space, consider making it all about cleaning – put the dishwasher in there, an extra sink, all of your cleaning products.’ 

Zone the space and give each cupboard a dedicated role. ‘It will change the feel of your kitchen and make it a more lifestyle-focused entertaining space,’ says Jessica, ‘because all chore-related activities happen in a spare room.’

Light the way in a small mudroom

If your mudroom sits in an entryway where there is little or no natural light, think carefully about different ways to illuminate the space. As well as your standard overhead light, why not add under-cabinet strip lighting and task lighting to add a shine to your chores? With no windows, it is a good idea to consider installing additional ventilation too, as heat and moisture are likely. Vented tumble dryers will need to be installed next to an external wall. If this isn’t possible, you will need to opt for a condenser tumble dryer instead.

Use color to add vibrancy

Looking for entryway ideas to transform a mundane space for household chores into an uplifting room to be in? This cabinetry by Guild Anderson has been painted a bright and cheery shade, and the room is further enhanced by the natural light flooding in. If you are unsure of experimenting with bolder colors in your main kitchen, then the utility room is a prime opportunity to get creative. While you don’t need to add too many decorative elements, if you have young children it might be fun to include a chalk noticeboard to leave pictures and messages on.

Introduce small wonders

When creating a narrow utility room, you often take room from a kitchen. This makes practical sense as you can use existing plumbing and electrics but does sometimes leave an awkward and narrow space to work with. In this situation, stick to light colors to ensure the room feels fresh and airy, and consider a handleless design for a streamlined finish. Architecture studio De Rosee Sa gave this design a modern vibe with painted vertical paneling, which offers a sense of height.

Invest in a floor that is durable

Your space may double up as a boot room or dog-grooming zone, which means it should stand up to mud – and wear and tear. Opting for vinyl kitchen flooring is not only an affordable option, but a practical one, too. Luxury vinyl tiling is also resistant to chemical stains and water, so can be cleaned easily. Choose from finishes that mimic wood and stone or playful patterns that add a splash of decoration while disguising pesky footprints. Look out for vinyl floor tiles, as opposed to rolls which are prone to warping.

Further, I love that she says that it is more than okay for an entryway to act as a mudroom as well.

Can a mudroom be in the front entry?

Yes, a mudroom can be sited at the front of the home. Entryway mudroom ideas can be a great way to create a desirable, useable – and easily accessible – space in your home. It’s a location that’s full of potential for adding all the features necessary for a mudroom, and the location is no impediment to fitting in storage for coats, shoes, bags, utilities and more. However, if your entryway mudroom is in full view, you'll want to ensure that the design is in keeping with the rest of your home. 

Well there you have it.  I hope you are able to utilize some of these tips, tricks, and ideas to enhance the mantle, entryway and mudroom spaces in your home.  Easy fixes that I hope will go a long way.  I know I certainly will!


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