I'm a fan of a creating a little vignette in interiors, particularly on a sideboard or a console table. I was explaining this recently on a workshop I was leading when someone asked me to elaborate further, not understanding what a vignette was. I was surprised that this wasn't jargon understood by everyone, as practically every magazine I read seems to have something about styling a coffee table or a bookshelf. So for the uninitiated a vignette is a small scene that creates a focus on one point in a space by creating a composition. This usually is a small pleasing view made up of meaningful or related items. It's a extremely useful way of creating a focal point and can be easily changed overtime when the feeling takes your fancy.
A vignette is sometimes used to help create a particular emotion in an interior space such as calmness, it can express drama or it can just simply be a decorative distillment. The arrangements above show how easily they can be put together and equally changed when you feel like it. The main elements remain in both compositions - the mirror and light on the top shelf and all the items on the second shelf - but the arrangement on the top surface has been modified and updated. It's easy to use items that you usually already own trays, bowls, vases, boxes and stacks of books and unusual finds.
Incorporating art can be highly effective as seen in the two below images and both also show a light source - there really is no point in putting in the effort of styling a composition like this and then not lighting it! Both of these also include a stack of books which is a great way to incorporate books into your interior. I personally have so many large format books that I have included stacks all around my house and often with an object on top like below.
There are however few guiding principles to building a successful vignette.