I got it into my head this year that I wanted to fill our fireplace with pumpkins for fall. I love decorating for autumn. I know that’s pretty basic to admit, but decorating my house the minute the air starts to chill (or the calendar rolls over to September, whichever happens first) sparks so much joy for me.
We have a wood-burning fireplace in our house that we never use. I would convert it to gas but I just don’t plan to live here forever and it doesn’t really seem worth it (to me), so instead I take the opportunity to fulfill random decorating dreams I have like filing it with pumpkins. Ha.
I have seen other pumpkin-filled fireplaces on the internet before, mainly my friends Julie Blanner and Kelly Mindell. And I talked about wanting to do this on our podcast in Episode 52. In case anyone out there is like me and wanting to achieve this look, I thought I’d share a few behind the scenes tips. Although every fireplace is going to be a little different, as there are so many different sizes and styles, I still thought showing how I achieved mine could be helpful.
First off, I had my wood-burning fireplace professionally cleaned. Yes, I called a chimney sweep. We’ve only used our fireplace once since living in this home, but it still manages to spew little bits of charred ash from time to time, so I figured this would be a good time to get it cleaned well. As they were cleaning they found I needed a small repair to our flue, so I had that done at the same time.
My fireplace is relatively deep and just generally a pretty large opening. I had purchased what felt like a LOT of faux pumpkins (JOANN was having a sale and I had a coupon so it was all 50% off—like a true Midwesterner, I have to take a second to brag about this).
But I still needed to fill in the cavity quite a bit in order to fill up the space with pumpkins. I already owned an accordion dog fence, so I used that (along with one of my food photography backdrop boards) to fill in the space. You could use anything—even leftover cardboard boxes or books. Anything you won’t need access to for a few months while the pumpkin decor is in place.
I knew the pumpkins wouldn’t fit together quite like Tetris pieces, so there would be peeks and gaps between. So, I covered the backdrop with black fabric. I thought I had some scrap black fabric but I guess I donated it, so I just used a dress and a vest wrap that I rarely wear and didn’t mind not having for a couple months. Can you tell I spent all my money on the pumpkins so the rest of this project was me looking around my house and saying, ‘Hmm, what do I already have that can work?” Ha.
Filling in the now-much-more-shallow space was pretty easy—you just stack pumpkins so they fit around each other and stay in place. It did take me a couple tries before I got them to stay, but it was fun, like autumn Tetris.
I used 90% faux pumpkins and then a few real pumpkins and gourds (all the tiny ones you see) to fill in the space. My husband called this “excessive,” so I feel my work here is done.
Thanks for letting me share and happy fall, friends! I hope you find little projects that spark joy for you this season. xo. Emma