the perfectly styled vignette

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.

The ideal vignette has height, depth and
Layering objects of varying size in front of each other or
overlapping them is an easy way to build interest. Normally you’d start with
the largest items at the back, maybe a picture, a mirror or a taller vase.
Varying the height of the displayed items makes the eye move around and invokes
visual interest. Remember that putting everything in a straight line can
look awkward. You’ve probably noticed on the images above the artwork
is hung really low to the horizontal surface but you could equally lean a
picture or book against the wall instead (very helpful if you are
is important too. If everything is the same size your focal point isn’t going
to be easy to discern, so remember to include small accessories as well as tall
or over sized pieces. Clustering and spacing
helps create dynamic between items. The closer items are to each other infers
they are part of a group but be careful not to overcrowd.
There also needs to be a focal point, the place you want the eye
to rest the longest – usually the most interesting item.

The colour you use is purely down
to you and your interior scheme. It is possible to create calmness though pale
shades or through tones of the same colour, equally you can help create
drama by using high contrast.  If you then add items with unexpected
or an unusual texture or different finishes such as a gloss
finish and rough beside each other this can also help make your display
more dramatic. The idea hardest to convey is balance (above image). I’m not talking
about symmetry here, more about being careful that one item doesn’t
overpower others in the grouping.  Use odd numbers of objects in
asymmetrical configurations for the most casual yet aesthetically pleasing
vignettes. BUT beware of the over used power of three! If everything is in
groups of three it feels a little odd.  As with all things these
principles are not cast in stone so above all else have a little fun.

Images sourced from top of post as follows 1) from House No.31 blog 2) Kelly Wearstler 3) 4) Kelly Hoppen 5) Katharine Pooley 6) Rita Konig 7) vogue australia and wood n cotton 8)


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