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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

Faux & Foraged Mantle: an Autumn display

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

How to make a stylish Autumn display for under £20

Autumn display

A handy guide to creating a stylish mantle that everyone's sure to 'Fall' for!

Chimney breast with DIY abstract canvas art above it

One of the best things about this time of the year is the change in decor, it's all about Autumn vibes now. The colours and textures become cosier and more comforting and lead us up to Christmas (don't worry, it's a bit early to be talking about that yet - even for me!!).

I wanted to create an Autumn display on my mantle to add some colour to the front room, but as usual, I was sure to stick to as low a budget as possible as I find this makes you be more creative and less wasteful.

I used a combination of foliage from the garden, old recycled faux stems and a handful of new ones. I only spent £14 and here's how I did it...

Step 1: Garden Foraging

Baskets of green foliage on the floor in front of a black and white fireplace

Our garden is pretty wild and overgrown at the moment, for once that was a good thing as there was a wide selection of greenery to choose from for this little project. I opted for three main kinds of foliage, Conifer, Bay and another sturdy shrub which I don't know the name of. If you don't have a garden or you do but it doesn't have any suitable foliage then pop over to my foraging page here to read my top tips for how to forage flowers and foliage for home styling. I gave all the branches a good shake before bringing them in to ensure there weren't any bugs on them and then stored in wire baskets ready to arrange.

Step 2: In with the old

Hand holding a spray can of paint over faux foliage stems

I always try to reuse and recycle old props and home accessories, as well as saving money it saves space and that is something I'm really struggling with at the moment (a big declutter is on the cards!).

For this project, I used some pink sun heart spears that I bought from Dunelm last year (I think there were about £6 for a bunch) and some large faux white and green roses. I borrowed some orange, yellow and red spray paint from my other half (having an artist husband comes in handy sometimes!). If you don't have art supplies you can borrow don't panic as what I'd usually do for a small crafty project like this is buy a couple of tiny tester pots. B&Q usually have a sale basket where you can pick up pots for about 50p, but failing that you buy little own brand testers for about £2 and you only need a couple.

Step 3: Top up supplies with a trip to Hobbycratft

Selection of faux Autumnal stems from Hobbycraft lying on the floor

I made a quick trip to Hobbycraft to see if they had any good bits. There were a few good bargains and I picked up these Autumnal-looking steps that added a bit of texture and will be useful for future displays (they might even work for some festive arrangements with the addition of a bit of glitter).

Step 4: Start arranging your Autumnal display

wire for the autumn display
Chicken wire in wooden trugs on mantlepiece

I used some old chicken wire which I use and re-use for these projects and scrunched it up in a couple of wooden troughs, but you can use any kind of box or container as it will be hidden when you've finished. As this was a dry arrangement, I weighted to troughs down with heavy items to make a sturdy base. If I was using real blooms I would've filled the containers with water and that would've done the same job.

Initially, I used some really tall faux grasses, but I quickly realised they were going to be too tall and I didn't love how they looked so I took them out and kept the shape more contained and rounded.

Autumn floral arrangement being made on mantlepiece by Claire Douglas DIY

Starting with the greenery, I built up the shape I wanted, threading the stems of the foliage through the chicken wire to hold them in place. Once I'd got a rough shape that I liked, I added in some of the faux stems that I'd sprayed, followed by some more greenery in between and finally finishing with the sprayed roses and the new textured stems from Hobbycraft.

autumn display close up

I faffed for a bit until I was happy and that was it... a super quick and simple arrangement that adds some Autumnal colour and cheer to the space. All for under £20. Let me know if you have a go and I'll share your pictures on my insta stories (@clairedouglasstyling)

The final results

Here are the final results...

Claire Douglas' Autumn mantle floral arrangement using faux stems and foraged foliage

I hope this was helpful.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page). Why not check out some of my other posts...


Interior decorating and styling

This part of my site is concerned with all things aesthetic and building a connection with your home through your decor and styling decisions. If you are looking for bedroom decor inspiration then you need to read Styling tips for a beautiful bedroom. or Budget bedroom makeover to beat the lockdown blues where I show you how I completed the ultimate budget bedroom upgrade using tester pots to paint an ombre mountain mural. If money-saving decor tips is what you are after then you need to read Upcycled pantry shelves of joy and Money-saving home decor hacks.

This year I've been busy revamping my kitchen DIY Kitchen Makeover - part 1 shows the before and the ideas and DIY kitchen revamp has the results.

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Thanks again.



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