Spice Up Your Space // Gallery Mantel

January 24, 2012

We’ve been in our new flat for almost a full two months, and between the holidays and various trips/events I feel like we’re finally starting to get closer to being completely settled in to our little love-nest.

I’m trying to take things bit by bit, which means decorating little corners at a time, and being very patient with myself and my assistant’s, er, husband’s work schedule. :)

 Before: Not horrible, but that’s a lot of negative space, up top!

While other areas took first priority (um, my closet!?), I began collecting some of our favorite art pieces from our old space and leaning them on the mantel (above).  I love that they all had a very similar feel to them, but I knew I wanted to take it one step further.  Then when I saw this gorgeous image from Better Homes and Gardens, I was inspired to try our own version!

All items are vintage and were either thrifted or gifts from friends.

It might be hard to tell in the photos, but I love how the height of the new arrangement really accentuates our tall ceilings, and with everything going on in the rest of the room, it seems to feel much less cluttered.  I’m still experimenting with the other little goodies on the shelf, but I know that now with that space free, it will be an evolving and seasonal display – love that!

We’re still working hard on getting the rest of the family room the way that we want it (including an ongoing debate on whether we want to paint the walls something other than the warmish-beige that was there before we moved in).  As first time renters, it’s been a little tough getting used to not being able to do whatever we want, but I think it’s made us be more creative and patient in our efforts – both definitely good things!

To all my readers who are renters, I’m so curious: is it worth it to paint the walls a color you love if you’ll have to paint it back when you leave?  We don’t know exactly how long we’ll be living in this space, but we totally love it so I’m hoping it’s not just for the year!  On the opposing side: we HATE painting. Haha, a true conundrum!

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36 Comments

  • Reply Shanna January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I feel like it’s only worth painting if you’re going to be there more than a year OR if your landlord doesn’t require you to paint it back when you move. Otherwise, it is a lot of work for just 9 or 10 months of enjoyment…Love the driftwood!

  • Reply Genny January 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    So lovely! Thanks for sharing this with us! (And good to hear you have your priorities – closet THEN mantel!!)

  • Reply Flavia January 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Love this! Thanks for sharing
    xo

  • Reply Leigh January 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Love the gallery wall!

    Sometimes landlords will not make you paint it back when you are done if it’s a neutral enough color. Paint can definitely change the whole feel of a room. Without seeing the rest of the room, maybe a more grey/beige tone would look good to offset the browns and tans of the gallery wall?

  • Reply Wendy January 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I say PAINT! I love color and sometimes it can truly make the difference between liking a room and LOVING it. I also hate painting. Just do it all in as little time as possible, that’s what helps me.

  • Reply Rebecca - A Daily Something January 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I absolutely love this gallery wall – what a great assortment of art. Great idea to hang drift wood, to!! :)

  • Reply Mary Hone January 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Looks great! Painting is kinda up to you and the landlord. If they say yes, and you want to paint…..Go for the color.

  • Reply Jessica Gitler January 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    love what you did with the space, it looks great!! as for the painting thing … I am right there with you … but I guess if it makes you happy every time you look at it then it would be very worth it!
    jess
    http://www.jesscauseblog.blogspot.com

  • Reply Supal January 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Oh I love the textures on the mantle! Such a smart idea! I’d say go for the color if your landlord allows it. Make the rental yours. Unless you think you will move after a year, of course.

    http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com

  • Reply Kirsten @ Triple Max Tons January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Try that removable wallpaper if you hate painting…my friend did it in her SF apartment, and it looks great.

  • Reply Sara B January 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Good choice on the gallery wall! I love it! Also, as much as I hate painting too, it is worth it! I did that at a past apartment I had to paint back (after only a little longer than a year) but I was so glad to have an accent wall in my room the whole time I lived there.

    Love you! xoxo

  • Reply chris @ court + hudson January 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Did I NOT just paint giant gold stripes on my walls? I can’t handle doing all of them with 14′ ceilings, but maybe a little accent wall will make you not hate lovely beige SO much? ; )

  • Reply Sarah Hulbert Style January 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I think it IS worth it to paint and be able to love the space you’re in… even if it’s just for a short time. If you hate painting, hang fabric (like curtains) on a large wall to bring in color. OK, there’s my decorator spiel! On another note, LOVE all your vintage art pieces. Especially the one on the top right! :)

  • Reply Savvy in San Francisco January 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I say either paint or there is a great tutorial on Oh Happy Day for temporary wallpaper that is pretty fabulous!

  • Reply Chelle Lynn January 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    That mantle display is simple genius. Also, I’m a renter and can say that I regret painting our walls. I’m already thinking of painting them back soon…I’m tired of the colors I picked and just want white walls again…they’re so much more versatile than bright yellow and blue! Then again, I’m pretty fickle, so you may not want to listen to me. ;)

  • Reply Amy January 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    as a 5 year NYC renter, I’d def say PAINT! I had lived in 3 different apts, until I decided last year to paint the 4th apt I had rented. I’m so glad I did, even if you just stay for a year it makes all the difference! it will instantly feel like home – and if you aren’t sure how much effort you want to put into it, just paint an accent wall or two.

  • Reply Becca - (extra)ordinary wonders January 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I love this post!! So fun what you’re doing with the mantle. We recently moved into an apartment with high ceilings too. I am working on arranging lots of pieces on the wall, and haven’t finished yet….now I am rethinking how high to go! Thanks for sharing! I’ll try and share mine when I’m finished.

  • Reply Lauren in SF January 28, 2012 at 4:00 am

    A curtain wall can look really stunning. The choice in fabric and drape makes the possibilities endless. If you use the adjustable curtain rods, it’s an easy installation too – no matter how many times you move.

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    Looks great! Thanks for sharing

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