Vignettes….?

This word (Vignettes)gets tossed about regularly in blog land and I happened to use it last week while discussing a room with a client  She had not heard the term before and it occurred to me that perhaps there were other people who also had not heard of this term.

image via Lonny magazine
image via Lonny magazine

Essentially, vignette is a decorating term used to describe a grouping of items which appear on a table top, a coffe table, an ottoman or even shelves. Vignette comes from the French word “vigne”which means : the use of vine tendrils in decorative design. It also loosely means an unbordered  picture or a short scene…all of which apply in decoration really.

image via athomearkansas.com
image via athomearkansas.com

For most decorators, it basically means : to create a little display or image by grouping interesting items together on a surface of some kind. As more and more people are becoming exposed to all styles of decoration via blogs and images on the internet, homes are becoming more “decorated”and by that I mean finished in a more professional way. I think people are inspired by what they see on the internet and they are prepared to try new things in their own homes. While a lot of times this works well , I do believe that one either has an eye for balance and proportion or one does not. Perhaps it can be learned, but I think it is mostly instinctual…knowing what works and what doesn’t and how to fix it, if it appears to be wrong. I also firmly believe that a home is never “done”and that it should grow and change organically as the person who lives there changes and matures.

image via John Jacob Interiors
image via John Jacob Interiors

 

I find a home which never changes  to be very boring and uninspiring….I used to put together window displays for a beautiful interior store in Dubai (sadly the recession put the owner out of business) and I regularly used to be just putting the finishing touches on a window ,when a customer would come into the store and buy the entire window…from the vases of flowers right down to the linen or cushions on a bed! One customer even took a photo of the window as it was ,and insisted that our delivery staff from the store install it in her home exactly as I had done it in the window! I was always amazed that these customers were unable to play around and experiment with their furniture and decor at home, but it made me realise that not all people have the “eye”.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

 

With visual merchandising, one has to tell a story with a vignette which will draw the customer in, and at the same time show them how to use the items on sale. At the time, I knew what I was doing by grouping objects to create a pleasing display…I just didn’t know that it was called a vignette!In your own home, the idea of a vignette is to do the same thing….draw the visitor in to a focal point in a room.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

The best vignettes are personal and tell a story about the person (or people) who live in the house…they have a good balance of high and low pieces and of course colour and texture.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

This image above is a great example…it is very symmetrical and balanced in terms of the colour. It also tells the viewer that the occupants of this home are clearly well traveled, or at the very least interested in different cultures.

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

This image has a slightly ethereal quality to it, particularly the butterflies..I find myself wanting to look closer at all the objects under the glass cloches.

image via adesigndairy
image via adesigndairy

A good rule of thumb is also to use groups of three and five…and vary the heights of objects. Then stand back and look…if you feel something is too low, use a stack of books to lift the object up and create interest.

image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary

While this vignette above looks quite chaotic and busy, it has been carefully curated with antique perfume bottles, silver cigarette cases, antique silver frames and some beautifully coloured ceramics.

The most important thing to remember is to make a vignette yours…with personal items that work well together but mean something to you . The beauty of a vignette is that everyone is unique and different depending on who is putting it together, so there is really no right or wrong as long as the scale and balance is right.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Vignettes….?

  1. Hi Julie, interesting that you should post this blog on vignettes, because just yesterday I decided to attempt to build ‘live plant vignettes’ in classical vases, and see if the flower shops might be interested to sell them for me. There are so many new varieties of plants in the nurseries…just so inspiring! Mosses and grasses …

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