Cozy Up Your Fall Decor With A DIY Amber Bottle Display

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The air is getting chilly, ladies and gents. As a girl who sweats more than Steve Harvey at a beauty pageant, I for one, am ecstatic. Throw in some college football, extra long cardigans, knee high boots, halloween costumes, some fabulous fall decorating and BOOM, best season of them all. While my closet is transitioning to darker tones and comfy knits, (just kidding - my emo self wears black year round), my decor is turning toward natural objects and textures, vintage vibes and cozy tones of reds, oranges and golds.

image via  lizmarieblog.com
image via PotteryBarn.com

image via PotteryBarn.com

This might explain why I was immediately drawn to the super cozy amber bottles that have been popping up all over the design world the past few weeks. I was especially inspired by a post by the AMAZING Liz Marie. (see the above left photo for her picture perfect arrangement.) She had curated an insanely beautiful collection of vintage medicine bottles, jugs and jars of all shapes and sizes.

I wanted to create my own little version in my place, but didn’t want to shell out the amount of money a lot of major stores or smaller shops wanted in order to get the look (see below). As a young professional aka broke millennial, I still think twice about buying name brand peanut butter over store brand peanut butter, so I don’t exactly have $60 laying around to spend on a jar. (Even though I really, really wish I did)

On a quick trip to Target to buy some ink for my work printer, (and after a particularly boozy weekend that left my stomach feeling like I had eaten an entire buffet of bad Mexican) I grabbed a bottle of kombucha. A few hours later as it sat empty on my desk, I realized I had found my solution.

Here was an amber bottle that only cost me $3 and even came with a drink in it. Not gonna lie, I felt like a crafty, resourceful, bad bitch. I had outsmarted the system.

The next day, I went back to Target and searched their kombucha options for another bottle that was hopefully a little differently shaped and found the perfect one. Another $3 spent and a healthy gut to go with it.

For my third addition, I got really resourceful and stole a beer bottle from my boyfriend’s basement. I won’t drink the stuff, but I’ll sure as hell decorate with it.

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To achieve the look I wanted to create, I swung by my local Hobby Lobby and picked up a few cheap stems from their fall floral section. To my bank account’s delight, they were all 40% off.

So armed with my amber bottles and fall stems, I set to to work. I got a little help from my close friend Joanna Gaines’ guide to styling a mantle (see below). While I created my display on a dresser instead of a mantle, it was still a wide rectangular surface, so the rules still applied.

image via @magnolia on  Instagram

image via @magnolia on Instagram

I peeled the labels off the bottles and was left with some gross, gluey residue. To remove this, I sprayed paper towels with Windex, wrapped them around the bottles and let them sit for an hour or so, then scrubbed with a rough sponge. You can also try dish soap!

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I then pulled apart the stems, placing them in the bottles. No real method to this except I put the tallest piece in the tallest bottle because, well, gravity and balance and all that scientific stuff I know nothing about.

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Then, following Joanna’s advice, I started with my anchor, a cute framed picture of a highland cow I had bought at Hobby Lobby a few months back.

Next, I moved on to establishing my height, this I did with the bottle/stem combos on each side. I also added a lamp to one side for both height and asymmetry.

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For layering, I used a woven placemat I picked up on clearance at Home Goods for $2, and paired it with a photo frame of me and my very attractive better half.

Then, I added a stack of books, topped with a pretty perfume bottle and a watch to make the display look a little more casual and “lived in”.

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With leftover pieces of my faux cotton stem, I added in a few more organic elements by scattering them around the bases of different objects.

I wish I could say this took me 5 minutes and I was done, but I tried three completely different set ups before I settled on the one you see here. So really, just have fun with it. You might make one that looks like a 5 year old was playing with some empty beer bottles, but keep working it. Keep mixing in random objects that fit a neutral, natural color scheme and see what you come up with!

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Some recommendations for bottles:

  • kombucha bottles

  • medicine bottles (wish I still had my bottle of Codeine laying around after I almost died from mono a few years back)

  • beer bottles (craft beer bottles are best since they usually have different shapes than your average domestics, but a good old bud light will work just fine too :) )

  • growlers

  • amber whiskey bottles

For the florals/stems:

  • Hobby Lobby has a great floral section, you could try Michael’s or similar stores as well

  • Save some $$$ by using natural objects from you backyard - sticks, small branches with fall leaves attached, wheat grass, etc. Whatever you think is pretty!

  • Feathers! I wish I would have thought of this sooner than right now as I’m almost done writing this post, can’t win em all I guess.

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Have fun with it! If you create a fall display with your amber bottles, share it to Instagram and don’t forget to tag me! @delaneylaneliving!

Erin Gallagher