HomeConsidering the Vignette


vi·gnette (vn-yt) n. A decorative design placed at the beginning or end of a book or chapter of a book or along the border of a page; An unbordered picture, often a portrait, that shades off into the surrounding color at the edges.


In the world of home design and decor a vignette is simply a grouping of objects (furnishings, objet d’art, accents, flowers, etc.) used to create focal points that bring rooms to life and make a house the sacred, safe, special place its meant to be.

The Plan

LOCATION: Where will you put it? From what perspective will it be viewed? Choose the spots that are most visible for the most impact when someone enters the room.

PURPOSE: What purpose does it serve? The best decorated rooms are also those that help you live comfortably. Incorporate catch-alls, hooks, and decorative trays in entryways or a stack of books or magazines near a window seat.

STYLE: In styling your vignette, whether it’s traditional, contemporary, chic, or eccentric you should decide on the tone and stick to it. If the style is too busy the vignette loses its wow factor.

The Details

  • Build your vignette around a light source: Arrangement of objects is in a dark corner won’t be seen and the effect will be lost…think lamps and windows.
  • Stick to a theme: Group candles, for example, or family vacation photos. Vignettes are also an especially great way to decorate for a holiday.

halloween decor

  • Choose objects to support the style of your room: If your room is formal, a symmetrical design works best. If the room is casual, asymmetrical groupings are better.
  • Use color in your vignette: Either coordinate with the room or offer pops of brightness. Flowers are great way to introduce color.
  • Display objects in odd numbers: Place several objects of similar shape, size and color together in odd numbers for maximum impact. Groups of three or five work particularly well and are stronger visually than a group of two or four.


  • Vary the height of the objects: Use small pedestals to elevate items. Try stacking books to create a platform for smaller objects.
  • Create depth and a sense of dimension: Place objects from the back of the flat surface to the front instead of in a straight line the length of the surface. Placing objects atop a mirror, or leaning them against a mirror that’s on the wall.
  • Vary the textures of objects: Mix hard and shiny accessories with rough and natural. Use weathered wood or iron architectural elements to introduce an unexpected texture. Photo frames, which come in finishes from shiny enamel to beaded, offer an array of texture options.

images via Inspired Mr. Stevens, Vintage Mint, Elle Decorsome text adapted from HGTV


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