When we think of vignettes we are probably most familiar with a quick character sketch, the portraying of someone in the style of a vignette in the movies or theatre , or according to the dictionary, a brief evocative  description, account or episode. However, in design we create vignettes when we take a collection of items and display them in groups or arrangements in small spaces around the house. The various items make a space personal and add warmth, interest and personality to not just that particular space but to your home. Because items are placed in a group, they allow the eye to catch a glimpse and rest in that vignette space.

When we take items we love or that have special meaning to us, and arrange them in a space, we are creating a happy and delightful space that has special meaning to us, and are offering to share it as well to those that may be present in that space. We can add drama and interest to a corner, mantle, table, dresser or really any space that has the potential to hold a collection of items. The effort can be minimal but the result can be high impact visually. The objects you choose to display will have a much greater impact as a grouping than when scattered around individually.

The key to a well styled vignette is composition and balance, and it includes the following elements: Varying the heights, texture and many times, the colors of the items, varying the size of the objects, and layering. Layering means having objects both in the foreground and the background. Think about a theme, and using odd numbers of items, say three or five grouped together. Try unexpected combinations. Decide whether you want a symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangement. Even if you think you have the basics for a vignette, I suggest clearing the area of everything, and starting from scratch. It really is easier to approach styling your vignette by starting with a clean slate. Don’t be afraid to put some things away for a while. I do this in my own house, and it is fun to see these items again and in a new light. I also change my vignettes around, taking an item from one, and adding to another, etc. Above all, have fun with it. Let’s look at some examples.

One of the simplest ways to create a pleasing arrangement is to pair the lamps with a plant in a favorite container.                                                source

Extremely simple but effective, a mirror leaning against the wall, and a wonderful primitive piece. This does not follow the usual rule of using odd numbers, but it works. I would probably add a small basket on the floor filled with Baby’s Breath, or seasonal flowers.             source

Wonder example of an asymmetrical arrangement. Flowers always add a touch of elegance to any arrangement.


Use mirrors as backdrops for vignettes.


Wonderful use of interesting objects enhanced by the art and mirror.

Simple and elegant.                                                 source

This vignette works because of the balance of the two tallest vases set on the diagonal. When I got bored with this I would move the plate on the right of the mantel to where the bowl is, and move the bowl to where the plate is. The entire vignette appears almost as a piece of art.   source

Here we have unrelated objects providing interest, texture and a pop of silver color.    source

A country vignette fills a corner and would surely cause one to stop and talk a bit about the collection. The unexpected purple flowers give the important pop of color.     source

Beautifully curated vignette. This is a wonderful way to use favorite books and baskets.   source

Great example of layering, that is using your accessories in other than just a straight line….i.e. covering back, front, and middle.   source

A beautiful, yet serene vignette. Again, notice how the flowers really make a difference.    source

A terrific grouping of favorite things. Instead of flowers, greenery can achieve much the same result.

Simple objects, strongly nautical, and effective.                      source

This is a wonderful example of balance. This would not have worked without the appropriately sized tapestry on the wall. The cobalt blue vases sit on varying sized stacks of magazines to wonderful effect.     source

This Swedish designed vignette comes together as a result of the muted colors of the collection and the pop of color from the flower hues.     source

Great example of how the simplest and inexpensive objects can make a charming and engaging vignette. Cost minimal, effect maximum.                        source

Another example of using what you have, adding lights and one small piece with color for a sweet arrangement.                   source

Branches from the garden sitting atop some books is always interesting. Setting it all atop a tray adds additional texture and interest.          source

Having fun by mixing it all up into a delightful combination sure to spark interest in any observer. source

More traditional, yet interesting. The wallpaper adds a lot if interest – I don’t think the arrangement would be nearly as interesting without it.     source

Blue and white is often mixed with nautical accessories. Color and texture all combine successfully here.  source

An exquisite piece of art on the wall enhanced by two lamps and a flower arrangement in an antique vessel. Simple yet exquisite.   source

This is an example of how vignettes can change with the season or by the day with just the addition of varying flowers. Imagine roses, or hydrangeas or white tulips….each with a different feel.    source

Another gorgeous example of how flowers can be the center of attention in a vignette instead of in a supporting role as we saw in some examples above. Do what you love! Of course, the pupster adds a lot, even if just lounging about.   source

Here a lover of blue and white porcelain has achieved a stunning result.   source

Three cobalt canning jars are given bejeweled necklaces with dramatic and eye catching results.  source

A vignette with texture, mix of objects, unusual chevron stripped ginger jars, and added color thanks to dark greenery. The “speak no evil” and “see no evil” bunnies are missing a “hear no evil” buddy bunny.   source

There is no reason that we should not apply the same guidelines to outside as well. Who wouldn’t enjoy sitting here?  source

I hope you have enjoyed these vignettes. Above all, no real hard and fast rules. On this blog, I want readers to feel inspired and willing to try decorating without worrying about rules and regulations. Decor should be about fun and expressing yourself, not feeling intimidated. The more you delve into giving it a try, the more comfortable you will become. Vignettes are an easy, non-commital way of trying on your inner decorator self. Easy-peasy.    Thanks for visiting.   Laters, charisse



  1. An out of this world stuff,great!

Leave a Reply