People ask me all the time what my best free design tip is. And I tell them, rearrange what you already have. You obviously liked it enough to buy it in the first place, right? Why go buy something new when all you need to do is find the best way to display what you already have.
Here’s an example. I have been collecting cobalt blue glass and copper items for many years. After we moved into this house 3 years ago, I pulled my pretties out of boxes where they had been stored for over 6 years (we were previously in a tiny apartment with no display area whatsoever). I just shoved them up on the open shelf in the kitchen. There were so many other house projects to work on that I just never took the time to really arrange them attractively. I got to see them but that was about it. Until the other day when I looked up and practically gagged. Oh My Gosh! What a mess. I’m embarrassed to even show the before pics. Everything was covered in dust bunnies the size of a VW Bug. Ewww. Not to mention the sad soldier syndrome going on, lined up in row. Time to fix that, Pronto!!
Of course the first step is to pull everything down. Wash everything. Including the shelf and the wall. Ugh =( Please note this shelf is 8 feet long, 13 inches high and only 7 inches deep. No wonder I’ve ignored it for so long. It was a little daunting.
After everything is nice and clean it’s time to start building vignettes. OK, I can hear you already. What the heck is a vignette? A vignette (pronounced vin-yet) is a grouping. Ok, so how do I create a vignette?
First I decided how many vignettes the shelf would hold. With this 8 ft shelf I figured I could do 5. Odd numbers are almost always more pleasing to the eye. Unless your looking for a more formal display. Then a symmetrical grouping would be the way to go. Since this is my kitchen I wanted a more casual/ informal look.
So I started in the center with my largest piece, a blue and white pitcher. I placed two open white frames behind it to create some depth. Layering in some cobalt blue and a green crackle glass bud vase with a spiral up the neck completed this grouping.
Next I worked on the ends.
A cookbook and the lid off a Coach box gave depth and a little deeper orange color to play off the wall color. Anchored in the center with a large cobalt blue jar. Finished with my penguins within a penguin and a vintage copper lidded bottle. I can’t say I totally dig this one but for now….
On the right side……
I hung a small white mirror in the center. To the left is a tall blue vase and on the right is a tissue paper lamp I made several years ago. A small McCoy planter echoes the orange lamp. I still needed something else. I used five small white frames to give more height to a blue bottle. If I had some greenery for the planter I would have used it but I didn’t. I’ll keep my eyes open for some at a yard sale. Until then….done.
Ok…now what? Back to the left of the center grouping. Let’s see, hmm. How about the plaque the niece and nephew gave us for Christmas several years ago. Yeah, that’ll work. I shortened up the leather-like handle and used a clear push pin to hang it on. I love those things! They are easy to push into drywall and since they are clear they practically disappear.
I finished it off with a fruit-embossed jar, an embossed wine bottle, small white planter set on two white frames and a blue cruet. Done.
Ok…only one more to go. Geez this is taking For-ev-er. What do I have left? Ah yes…my copper colander.
Paired with a light blue wine bottle with a sun logo and a small cobalt bottle. I could have changed out the pine cones for something else but for now I can deal with it. I like the texture they add.
Well you can see I’ve already changed out the penguin for a frosted votive holder. But I think you get the idea. Also the tissue paper lamp disappears in the bottom pic but oh well, it’s there. At some point we will replace the fluorescent light fixtures with some can lights but until then this will work. And it didn’t cost a dime =)
…here’s a quick recap on building a vignette….
- Decide whether you want a formal or informal grouping.
- Coordinate your color scheme.
- Layer items for depth.
- Vary the height to keep the eye moving.
- Use different textures for interest.
- Leave some space between groupings to allow breathing room and let eyes rest.
That’s it…now, where will you create a vignette? Take your time and have fun!