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What is a Vignette? Plus How to Style a Winning One at Home

What is a vignette, you ask? It’s a term that gets used (and possibly overused) a lot in the world of decorating. If you’re keen to find out more about what a vignette is – and get loads of ideas on how to create some dreamy ones at home – this post has you covered!

coffee table vignette styling ideas on TLC Interiors

What is a Vignette?

The easiest and fastest way to answer the question, what is a vignette, is this: A vignette is a grouping of objects. It really is as simple as that. The grouping is usually made up of homewares pieces but it might also feature flowers and other natural elements, art, craft objects and other mementos, too.

Essentially, a vignette is your way of clustering your favourite items together to create little ‘scenes’ in your home. The best thing about a vignette is that you can change and evolve them constantly. As a new season arrives (or as you get bored, as I do frequently), you can bring items in or out to change up the look of the vignette display.

If you’re on a tight budget, rearranging your vignettes is a good way to change up the scenes in your home without having to spend any money. More on that here.

Visuals are always the best way to illustrate what a vignette is, so let’s explore some options below and get you inspired by all the different vignette possibilities.

bedside table styling ideas vignette styling on TLC Interiors

“I find that the more you study other people’s vignettes…the more you can start to better piece together your own versions at home. And half the fun is in the experimenting.”

plant vignette on tray with cactus and succulent on TLC Interiors

Creating an ‘A’ or ‘L’ Vignette

Experimenting is the best way to find a vignette that you love the look of, but there are some basic guidelines I want to share with you too, and the first is creating the ‘A’ formation.

If you look at both the two images above (the bedside table scene and the tray with the plants on it) you’ll notice that the configuration of items resembles the letter ‘A’, or a pyramid, if that makes things easier.

This formation is a fool-proof way to get a vignette looking good, because any nice cluster of objects needs height – and items at varying heights – to really create wow factor.

To create the ‘A’, you’ll need one piece that’s the tallest, with some smaller pieces around it. The ‘A’ doesn’t have to be symmetrical with the tall object in the middle, though, it can veer more toward an ‘L’ shape (with the tallest item to one side) and still look amazing.

Same Same, but Different

What I love about the two images above is that they are both completely different. The bedside table utilises the wall behind it, bringing art into the scene to help achieve that ‘A’ formation, while the tray groups several items together and uses those gorgeous twigs to draw the eye up.

Both scenes are very different in look and feel though. The bedside table is a traditional ‘A’ scene, while the tray above is almost a backward ‘L’. Can you see it?

The kitchen scene below is another example of an ‘A’ vignette. In fact, if you look at all of the photos in this post, they all feature ‘A’ formations to some degree.

You’ll start to look at homewares groupings in a whole new light now 😉

Kitchen vignette on TLC Interiors rustic breadboard and recipes tin

Image Credits for this post: coffee table, beside, tray, kitchen, shelf, sideboard.

what is a vignette shelfie floating shelf vignette on TLC Interiors

What do you put into a Vignette?

I actually don’t like to dictate what you should or shouldn’t include in a vignette, because I think you should display what you love and have fun finding out what looks good together in your space and what doesn’t.

As a rule, though, you can approach a vignette by grouping items according to elements like; similar colours, textures, themes (like coastal homewares) or choosing items that contrast against the rest of the room; arranging a bright red scene against a while backdrop for major impact, for example.

Also, notice that in every image in this post, the vignettes are displayed in very different ways; along a coffee table, up a shelf, using a wall for added dimension, mixing rustic items with high gloss, and using a tray to ground several objects in the one scene.

what is a vignette styling ideas white sideboard styling on TLC Interiors

Commonalities in Vignettes

The one thing all vignettes have in common, is that the items are at varying depths (not all in one straight line). Ensure you style your vignettes with this in mind and you can’t go wrong 😉

I find that the more you study other people’s vignettes, and really look at how they came together and why they look good, the more you can start to better piece together your own versions at home. And half the fun is in the experimenting anyway.

Tip: Take photos of your vignettes once you’ve arranged them. It does help you to see what is and isn’t working. You might notice that you don’t have enough differing heights in the scene, or that there is too much of the same texture. Oh – and feel free to show me your work on Instagram because I’d love to see your progress; my username is @tlifecreative.

Did this post answer the ‘what is a vignette’ question for you, and has it inspired you to get trying some new formations and clusters at home? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for helping me out with clutter Chris. Didn’t know organization could look so good. Learned a couple of new things by reading this article that I am sure to use in my home!

    1. No worries at all Natasha – glad you enjoyed the article. You’ll have to tag me into some of your snaps on Insta if you post any. Photographing vignettes is a tonne of fun 🙂

  2. Beautiful article Chris, especially about my favourite subject. Seriously, anything that relates to decorating is always good. I basically called my Instagram account ‘my tiny vignette’ for that one very reason. All those ‘tiny’ squares of gorgeousness, as vignettes. It’s too cute.
    And for anyone that’s interested you can follow my Insta’ account @ my_tiny_vignette. Thanks again Chris. ‘tlifecreative’ is awesome too.

    1. I hear ya Penny! Nothing gets my heart racing more than a good looking vignette. I also love that a vignette is so personal and can include things nobody else has. That’s what makes them so special!

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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