If you are looking to create an effortlessly cozy room, then the best place to begin is with the humble vignette. In decorating, a vignette is a small grouping of objects that creates a pleasing focal point. I love adding vignettes to my space because they are an affordable way to bring charm, character, and life to any room during any season. Here are 7 Tips to Creating Simple Seasonal Vignettes.
Tip 1: Choose your “anchor object”.
Most vignettes have at least one large object which anchors everything else within the story. This piece is usually your main focal point and the item you will first put into place. Your anchor object might be a large piece of artwork, a collection of picture frames, a mirror, a sculpture, a lamp, etc. Anchor objects draw the eye up and provide the backdrop to the story you are about to tell.
In the vignette below, my anchor object is this gorgeous Tree of Life artwork (click to buy). It provides the “stage” for the entire vignette.
Tip 2: Layer your pieces from back to front.
Starting with your anchor object, begin layering your objects from back to front. If you are creating a vignette on a tabletop against a wall, you will want to place your wall decor, tall candle sticks, and tall vases in the back. This gives your vignette the structure, or “scaffolding” it needs. You can then fill in the blanks with your smaller accessories.
When I was creating this fall vignette in my dining room, I began by placing my mirror up against the wall. Hanging things securely on 100 yr old brick is a pain, so I prefer to just “lean and layer” rather than drill into the brick. The mirror ended up looking a little small for the scale of the space, so I amplified my focal point by surrounding the mirror with white plates. Next, I placed the candlesticks and wood log on the hutch. I finished the look with hydrangeas and pumpkins. Without the hydrangeas, this vignette looked very flat. Using some type of floral and greenery always enlivens a space!
Tip 3: Pick your color scheme.
Choosing a limited color palette is my number one tip for pulling together an effortlessly cozy room! I believe the more colors you choose to combine in your space, the trickier the decorating becomes. In the fall vignette below, I used all neutral colors. The key to decorating with neutrals is to choose items with differing textures. I also like to throw something furry into the mix—such as a sheepskin rug, fur throw, toss pillow, or a pomeranian—to warm up the vignette. 🙂
Tip 4: Add natural elements.
If you were to go right now and grab one of your home decor catalogs or magazines, chances are very good that in every picture featuring a room you will find at least a sprig of greenery, a plant, a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit, or something living. Bringing elements from the outdoors inside is a way to add a pop of color and complete the look of your vignette. Imagine the vignette below minus the berry branches, apples, and leaves. All of the beauty would be gone, and the picture would lack interest.
Tip 5: Cluster objects and add varying heights.
Vignettes that have all the items displayed as “ducks in a row” seldom work. You want to add varying heights to your vignette. Cake stands, stacks of books, stacks of plates, candlesticks, etc. can all be used to elevate objects within your story.
In my fall mantel below, I have a “ducks in a row” situation happening. However, this look works because there are other elements to draw the eye up and to allow the eye to rest. I broke up the row of bottles with a white pumpkin and a stack of books. I also used a mini-chair to elevate a mini-pumpkin so that the pops of white create a zig-zag pattern.
Tip 6: Work with what you have to reinvent your vignettes each season.
I like to “shop the house” and “shop the outdoors” when creating seasonal vignettes. My fillable table lamp (click to buy your own) is a staple on my living room end table. In the series of pictures below, you can see how I altered the same lamp for each season. Remember that you do not have to buy all new accessories to create different looks. Work with what you own and find creative ways to reinvent your pieces for the season.
Tip 6: Create visual triangles by using the “Zig-zag Method” in decorating.
Items and colors look more pleasing to the eye when staggered. I always use a “zig-zag” pattern when placing objects in a vignette. For example, in the tiered tray below I have zig-zagged my use of white, green, and silver. Each tier has a bit of these colors staggered throughout. Using this method and purposely staggering your colors will transform the way you decorate.
Tip 7: Styled shelves are just vignettes en masse.
If you can create a good vignette, then you can style shelves! Below is a picture of just two squares of a bookshelf that I recently styled for a friend. Each shelf is it’s own mini-vignette and mini-story.
When you back up to see the entire bookshelf, each vignette works in harmony with the other. This didn’t happen by accident! Each item that you see here was purposely placed with both the small story and the big picture in mind. Quiz yourself! Look back over all the tips in this post and see if you can spot all of them at play in the picture below.
Would you like more help in decorating? Check out my How to Decorate Series for more tips and tricks on pulling together an effortless space. Need more tips on How to Style Shelves? I have several posts here, here, and here to help you out!