5 Minute Assignment: How to Create A Vignette

vignetteBHG (thanks Kate!)

When I say the word vignette (vin-yet) I feel all fancy and French like.

When I try to make a vignette I feel all 12-years-old and dumb.

And that’s when I head to Pinterest.



Look at vignettes with a discerning eye (or two if you have them) here are my tips use the ones that speak to you, ignore the ones you think are dumb, and that one that sounds crazy? that’s the one you should probably focus on:

Notice the use of:

  • shape
  • color
  • texture
  • size
  • layering
  • balance and symmetry
  • juxtaposition
  • quirk & personality
  • sparkle (mirrors, metals)
  • matte objects
  • plants & natural items
  • scale
  • white space
  • mixing of styles and eras
  • how the wall art relates to the items on the surface–this is huge and often overlooked
  • is it full or simple?
  • does the architecture of the room contribute to the vignette?
  • look at each item individually, but also, as a whole grouping
  • ask yourself if one item was removed, would the vignette have the same impact?

Don’t forget to notice the difference between liking the way a photo looks, and wanting to have a certain look in your home.


I made a pinboard with over 130 vignettes and or tablescapes so you and I could get a feel for what we do and don’t like.

Once you get inspired, pick ONE place in your home to makeover a vignette. It could be an entry table, dresser, even a fireplace mantel. Give yourself just a few minutes (or more if you want) and remove the art from the wall, clear off the surface and start fresh.

decorate the top of a tableLindsey Bond

Pick a few inspiration vignettes and see if you can mimic a few of the ideas they used to get a look you like.

Shop the house and see what you can find to just try out in the space, you can always move it back. Pick a few things you might not usually try–a large-leaved tree branch, a pair of lamps, an oversized pot and just play around.  We are our own worst enemy when it comes to being creative. We assume we can’t use certain things because ‘that goes here not there’  We are afraid to change it up because it will be wrong. This is decorating, it’s fun. You are supposed to like it, your home can represent you.

You know how your friend is brave and decorates with abandon and you love her house? Pretend you are her and start with that ONE THING that you have packed away that you love, but scares you. That’s your starting point.

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  1. Oh, I love this. That one thing that scares you, do it! Yes and yes. I painted chairs turquoise this past week. It was bold, I loved it on Pinterest and I was scared to do it in my own house. But, now those chairs make me smile and they actually are more ‘me’ then I thought.

  2. I am in need of a few vignettes – great post :)
    xo, Becky

  3. Centsational Girl says:

    That is such a great observation, excellent breakdown of what to look for and so helpful! You’re right I feel all fancyish when I say vin-yet too, or like when I pronounce foyer “foy-yay” :) That top image is a favorite of mine, it’s from here: http://www.bhg.com/rooms/living-room/makeovers/functional-stylish-living-room/#page=3

  4. Janice Fassetta says:

    Appreciate the information and pinboard. I have been told you have to have an odd number of items. Three items on the wall, 5 items on the table, etc. Do you think this is necessary? I am having trouble with one of my vignettes…I have a theme but the items for the theme don’t go together in scale. Thanks, Janice

    • maybe you don’t need a theme? try mixing it up and putting the other pieces in other places in the room just to see? This is one of the hardest parts of finishing off a room for me!!

  5. Oh, I love “Shop the house and see what you can find to just try out in the space”—You just gave me ‘permission’ to go searching for things I love. Stored treasures from my grandparents are where I will start in creating my own vignettes using new eyes with your tips. Thank you for the inspiration and the assignment — this is going to be fun! I have a dusty dresser top just calling for a makeover…

  6. I’m so pleased how you are ‘teaching’ us blog followers. This helps so much!!!

  7. PS: i never knew what a vignette was until now :)

  8. Very helpful! Another thing you’ve taught me, Nester, is to take a quick picture of what I’m decorating during the process. I notice things in photos, good and bad, that I wouldn’t necessarily notice in person.

  9. Love a vignette! Perfect time of year for a change. You and The Inspired Room have the same first pic, I had to do a double take…but now I’m off to trim a branch for a vase and dig in the garage for a relic.

  10. But where is your vignette?

  11. Big sigh. Love this post. Feel so far away from doing vignettes. All the big stuff in my rooms isn’t even really set yet. Do you have a post about gallery walls? That’s what’s driving me crazy right now. Anyways, I do want to do a vignette. And I would definitely feel like a twelve-year old if I tried. However, I love the finished, thoughtful, personal touch they give to a room. And I promise to try… sometime in the next five years. = )

  12. Once again this was a post I needed. I bought dining chairs at an auction last year (OK maybe 2 years ago..). I finally stripped,sanded and stained them and while they are not perfect they are beautiful. So now I have to recover the seats (the fun part). I picked out some fabric that I LOVE!! I think I actually gasped when I saw it. However its fairly bold for me and I think it may not play well with other objects in the room. I have been procrastinating about finishing for fear I may have made a mistake. :( Now I am going to go for it and decorate with abandon!!

  13. I love creating vingettes but sometimes I play it to safe and sometimes think it doesn’t really tell about me. I look at all the pins and I always notice the placment of items in photos and the one that I love the most are the ones that have items that I just know are so personal to the owner. It’s the one thing for me at least that I love.

  14. Excellent post! I am tired of the “groupings” in my house and I need to work on a few vignettes! My sister and a dear friend are very good at creating them. For years, my sister has cut out pages of Architectural Digest and other magazines for inspiration. I am amazed at how she creates vignettes with spending very little or no money. Using Pinterest is a fantastic idea. I must get working on this. Fun! Thank you so much! Cate Pane

  15. I do love some vignette. My head-scratcher is creating a beautiful little nook that’s still somewhat practical. I don’t have a lot of extra space for plain ol’ eye candy. Off to stalk your pin board!

  16. Love your thoughts on this. I style vignettes all day long when I’m on a shoot. I just need to remember to keep things fresh at home. I like the idea of picking one space and starting with one object I love.

  17. Maybe I missed something…but what exactly is a vignette?!

  18. MarySue says:

    The very thing I’ve been needing help with! Thanks for these tips and ideas. Good stuff! I’m going to be re-reading your post and going over your list of helpful tips again, and then I’m going to get going on my foyer table and my sofa table vignettes! I’m ready, and now I’m equipped. Thanks!

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