Inspiration Elements - Nothing Beats a Nice Vignette

We finally made it to spring!

Time to watch new life appear as the cold winter fades (OK, I think here in San Diego the temperature dropped to 52 °F once in January but it was cold to us!). I’m talking new green grass sprigs, bunnies, leaves, flowers, the whole shabang.

It’s also time for something else new... decorations!! I am aware that the season of spring doesn’t get the same level of hype from the general public that, say, fall and winter holidays tend to enjoy (I mean come on, boots and hot drinks on a chilly day...I heart you), but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it right on the home decor front.

The question is, what can we do to show our appreciation for the April showers and May flowers and June gloom (marine layer anyone)? Let’s take a look at a simple way to spruce up the place in honor of spring (or any season, just trying to keep it relevant).

How to style a vignette

A little lesser known term, a vignette is a grouping of objects displayed on a surface such as a table or shelf. It sounds fancy, but it really is the simplest way to add some small (or even grand) seasonal touches to a room that may not have a dining table or fireplace mantel. This isn’t just a mishmash of things around the house however. Follow these tips to look like a pro.

1. Light it up!

It may seem like common sense, but don’t underestimate the importance of lighting. If you put in all the work to assemble an awesome display, make sure everyone can see it! To keep your vignette out of the shadows try to style around a lamp, window, or beneath a skylight.

2. Vary the vertical height of objects

This can be achieved by one of three ways. First, you can simply use objects of differing height to get the look you want. Warning: If you’re like me, I tend to gravitate toward pieces that are all the same height when looking at them by themselves (I love mason jars and mason jar-sized things!).

There’s a reason that consumer marketing has figured out a specific width and height of cans and bottles to put on shelves to maximize appeal, which compels you to buy. There are actually dimensions that are more optimized to provide maximum value (volume of short and fat cans, for instance) for the consumer, but the ones we see are the ones that sell. They are super cute and we can’t help ourselves.

Anyway, resist the urge to collect all the same-sized objects for your display; we’re not at the grocery store.

Second, a work-around for similarly-sized objects are to create the illusion of height. An item on a stack of books or other non-eye catching stage like a tray or glass platform works well.

Finally, hanging items can certainly add dimension to the display. A larger piece hung on a wall directly behind the vignette or if possible, from the ceiling can really stretch everything out.

3. Vary the depth of objects

For the same reason as the need for vertical variability, the depth of each item is just as important. Depending on what you are going for, smaller items can go in the front and larger ones placed toward the back. Photos or other rectangular items of differing sizes can be stacked.

4. Display items in odd numbers

The number of objects you use in the vignette will depend on the size of your surface, but usually I work with groups of three or five for a coffee or end table display. Similar to the grocery store analogy I mentioned before, we want to avoid looking like a we have a shelf of canned goods next to the couch. It might be a bit counter-intuitive, but symmetry does not work well in the case of the vignette. Items in groups of two or four causes a bookend effect, and unless you are holding up your four-book Twilight saga and displaying it pridefully on your coffee table, I would steer clear.

5. Mix textures

Creating a display of varying textures like smooth/shiny, metallic, and organic will really bring your vignette to life. If you find that most of your items are within the appropriate theme but the same texture, the addition of a plant (real or faux) will usually work well. Other organic additions can be any fibrous material like burlap or linen.

So there you have it, my tips for an awesome vignette. Are you motivated? If so, awesome, go for it!

IF, however, after reading this you are like, “ugh, this is terrible and I have no desire to do all this work!” Well, that’s where frillist comes in. frillist (with a small ‘f’) offers specially curated seasonal decor (I’m talking the whole vignette!) that goes away at the end of the season. No storage, no clutter, and new stuff every season. Learn more at


©2020 by frillist, LLC

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