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Antique Fireplace Mantel Through the Years

I’ve shared how our antique fireplace mantel has changed through the years with different decor, styling and different wood finishes.

Who loves history? Who loves furniture with history? Me me me! One big reason I love antiques and vintage furniture is that it has a story. Even though I might not know that story, I still think it’s cool to have something that’s been passed through the ages. Oh if walls, or furniture, could talk right? One of my favorite pieces of antique decor in our home is my 1890’s antique fireplace mantel. It’s been through a few different “looks” and I wanted to share the evolution of those different “looks” with you in a post all about my antique fireplace mantel with a few different styles.

Let’s talk about what the antique fireplace mantel looked like when I purchased it.

Below is the listing from craigslist. Yep, this baby came from craigslist.

It was salvaged from an 1800’s home that was going to be demolished in downtown Pensacola Florida.

The original Antique Fireplace mantel

original antique mantel

I won’t go through all the details of how I stripped it down (5 paint layers later, ugh). Just know that it was a serious labor of love.

Because this antique mantel was from the 1800’s, I knew it had lead paint. I couldn’t bring it home with my teething toddler knowing that it had a toxins.

So the paint stripping began.

Note: Check out the best paint stripping technique.

antique mantel
antique mantel after stripping the paint
antique mantel after paint is stripped

Finally I stripped the fireplace mantel down to the bare wood.

What next? how would I finish the wood?

I decided on a white wash technique. I wanted to lighten up the wood tones without losing the some color.

I then added a DIY birch wood fireplace cover for a faux wood fireplace insert.

Antique fireplace mantel stripped down and white washed

antique mantel with whitewash finish
antique mantel with whitewash finish

You can see all about how I achieved this look and more about the beginnings of my vintage fireplace mantel.

How to Create an Antique Fireplace Mantel From Craigslist

If you know me, you know that finish didn’t last long.

I decided the white wash look didn’t fit the antique vibe of the mantel. I wanted it to look more “vintage” like something from the 1800’s would.

After some deliberation, I decided to add a “chippy paint technique” to the mantel. By the way, this is the easiest antique chippy paint technique I’ve found to date!

The Easiest Antique Chippy Paint Technique title

Fireplace mantel with a chippy white paint technique

antique mantel with chippy paint technique
chippy paint technique
chippy paint technique
antique fireplace mantel

After I added the chippy paint technique to the mantel, you can see how I styled it different ways for the different seasons below.

How to decorate a mantel for any season.

Fireplace mantel decorated for the seasons

tips on how to decorate a mantel for any season

How to Decorate a Spring Mantel

how to decorate a spring mantel
How to decorate a spring mantel

Vintage Style Christmas Mantel

A Vintage Style Christmas Mantel
A Vintage Style Christmas Mantel

After we made the move to our rustic beach cottage, I found the perfect wall for the vintage mantel.

Rustic Cottage Summer Mantel

Antique fireplace mantel in our new home

antique fireplace mantel

I still felt like something was missing from the wall.

If you’ve been following along my DIY journey, you know the latest DIY in our home.

DIY Feature Wall of Built in Bookshelves

Antique Fireplace mantel with shelves and DIY board and batten

DIY Wall of Built In Bookshelves and antique mantel
DIY Wall of Built In Bookshelves
DIY Wall of Built In Bookshelves

I know I will get a lot of comments about how I should not have painted the antique mantel.

I wrestled with the idea too, believe me. Ultimately, I decided it worked best for our home in this stage. I can always strip it back down, right?

I have to say, this is a pretty permanent DIY, so I don’t expect to be changing my mantel up anymore (at least for the next year).

antique fireplace mantel 2
antique fireplace mantel 1
antique fireplace mantel

Have you enjoyed this post? I would love for you to share it to Pinterest!

antique fireplace mantel through the years

As always, thanks for stopping by friends.


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  1. Pat M. says:

    Love the newest version of your mantle restoration. It needed the bookcases alongside to really bring out its presence without getting lost on a wall. I do not love, however, the faux firewood rounds in the firebox. I once saw a faux brick back on the wall with a fireplace screen in front and it appeared nearly usable. Just my opinion, of course. You come up with the great ideas, not me, so take my suggestions with the grain of salt that they are worth.