Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover

I don’t know about you, but any time I’m feeling extra stressed or anxious there are three things that really help me: prayer, going for a run, and doing something creative. Prayer is definitely my best stress-reliever, but being creative has always been a great outlet for me too. I LOVE working with my hands, even if it’s something as simple as organizing a closet or doing a small DIY, it’s therapeutic for me. Especially if I have good music playing and a cup of yummy coffee in hand–I just zone out and focus on what I’m doing. Anyway, when I woke up yesterday I was craving a project. I needed a project, so I grabbed the sander and did a simple and rustic mantel makeover in our front room.

This project turned out better than I ever could have imagined and it totally transformed this space. I’m so excited to share it with you today!! Let’s start with a before photo of what the mantel looked like when I started:

Mantel Before

Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover

This space always felt kinda blah to me. Sure it was pretty, but it lacked pizazz. Something just felt off, but I never could figure out what it was until it dawned on me that the mantel should be a natural wood color! The white needed to go.

Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover

Here’s a progress shot. I honestly thought this project would take me about thirty minutes, but oh boy I was wrong. It ended being about 2.5 hours of sanding, mostly due to the fact that I had to sand down through one layer of paint and two layers of stain. It was way more work than I anticipated. And let me tell you, sanding makes a huge mess. I wasn’t expecting that either, but this entire room was covered in dust. Anyway, I got it done and here is the finished look:

Rustic Mantel After

Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover
Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.

Eeeeek!! Isn’t it so pretty?! I seriously love it so much more than the all white. It gives this fireplace much needed contrast and warmth. I just can’t get over what a difference this made and now I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. The natural wood is what was missing all along.

Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.
Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.
Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.
Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.
Simple and Rustic Mantel Makeover. Farmhouse style fireplace.

I can’t get over the before and after of this simple and rustic mantel makeover–it’s just so dang good!! And it’s amazing to me how a little bit of natural wood tones can really warm up a space. It just makes this whole area feel more cozy and pulled together. I’m loving this change and now I’m wondering what else I can sand down. Ha! Anyway, I hope this post gives you an idea or two for your own home. And I hope it inspires you to get creative or simply spend time doing something you enjoy. I promise you’ll feel better for it! xo

Welcome!! I’m Sarah-- mama to three kiddos + wife to my high school sweetheart. I'm usually over-caffeinated, browsing Amazon + running on lots of grace. Grab a snack + get comfy!

shop the feed


Stay in the know for exclusive content, advice, discount codes & much more!

Leave a Comment!


  1. 3.16.20
    Michelle said:

    Love the results! Thx for sharing your inspiration!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thanks for stopping by Michelle!

  2. 3.16.20
    Joann said:

    Looks so good Sarah, at first I thought you were trying to sand the brick!! Whew ! 🙂

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      haha oh boy that would have been tough!

    • 4.1.20
      Coreina Spencer said:

      Luv it.have a mantle with sides painted gray. I’m coastal farmhouse any suggestions. Ty

  3. 3.16.20
    glenda lafont said:

    looking good, Sarah

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thank you, Glenda. xo

  4. 3.16.20
    Melissa said:

    love the natural wood mantle. The perfect contrast!! Also, where did you get those little mini benches on either side of the mantel? Please tell me you have a link, they would be perfect in my living room! GAH!!!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      Hi Melissa! Those chairs are from Target, but unfortunately they’re not sold anymore.

  5. 3.16.20
    Lynsey said:

    It’s perfect! I love natural wood with white.

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thanks so much Lynsey!

  6. 3.16.20
    Deedra said:

    The natural wood is exactly what the space needed. It looks great!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      yes, Deedra!! This is what it was missing!

  7. 3.16.20
    Nikki said:

    Love the natural wood!! The change really did make a difference. What a cozy space.

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thanks Nikki! I’m loving this change. Hope you are doing well! xo

  8. 3.16.20
    Jena said:

    Looks good

  9. 3.16.20
    Debbie Sigler said:

    Beautifully done! Your insight to accomplishing your goal is right -on. Thank you for sharing.

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thank you Debbie!!

  10. 3.16.20
    Karen said:

    Wow ! So much better . Isn’t it funny how it all cycles …. we paint the things …. then sand the things 😉 it really is so pretty !!❤️

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      haha yep! So funny how things change.

  11. 3.16.20
    Suzanne said:

    Looks great – it really ties in with your floors now & warms up the room as well!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      I agree Suzanne–it really does go well with the floors!

  12. 3.16.20
    Kathy M said:

    So pretty Sarah!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      thanks Kathy!

  13. 3.16.20
    Tracy said:

    Love the change! Love how we can see things differently and making those changes makes the difference ! LOL!

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      Yes, you’re right Tracy! It’s funny how we change our minds on things over time.

  14. 3.16.20
    Linda said:

    It looks great! I didn’t think anything was wrong with it, but that made a huge difference! ❤️

    • 3.16.20
      Sarah said:

      So true Linda, it made a huge difference!

  15. 3.23.20
    Debby said:

    Love everything! Where is the mirror from?

    • 3.24.20
      Sarah said:

      Hi Debby, that’s from Arhaus!

  16. 3.31.20
    Lesley said:

    I love the wall color you use! It looks so fresh and bright yet cozy! I can’t find anything on your site, however, that specifies the color.

    • 3.31.20
      Sarah said:

      Hi Lesley, it’s Alabster by Sherwin Williams!

  17. 4.1.20
    Judy said:

    You’re so right. This project was a great idea to really make a difference. Thank you for sharing.

  18. 5.8.20
    Jess said:

    It looks so beautiful! We are in the process of renovating our fireplace, and we’re also looking to remove the white paint on our mantel. Would you mind sharing what sandpaper grit and type you used? Thank you.

    P.S. Thank you for all the DIY home reno inspiration on your page! You make it all very approachable and easy-to-follow! And not to mention, beautiful!