The Art of the Vignette

The early mornings before the shop opens is my favorite time. I get great satisfaction from turning the key in the lock, pushing open the door, and looking at all of the beautiful things standing tall and proud – just waiting for their new lives in your homes.

I run my fingers along the countertop, light the candles in the entryway, and take a quick turn around the shop, hoping there’s something to tidy up (there never is) before diving headfirst into my emails. I pass by room after room of gallery walls, tabletop displays, and beautiful vignettes that have become synonymous with Nell Hill’s, and all at once I’m struck by how special these things are, and how integrated they’ve become with New Traditional decor. The vignette, especially, has ensconced itself firmly in our designs and our hearts.

Vignettes help tell the story of your design, and are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to change up the look and feel of a room without a significant investment in repainting or new furniture. Vignettes can introduce new colors and textures to a room, and are creative and fun ways for you to highlight some of your favorite pieces.

While I firmly believe that there is no “wrong” way to style a vignette, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to make it even easier for you to recreate this look in your own homes:

  • Work with items in odd numbers. Odd numbers add visual interest and groupings of 3 (or sometimes 5, for a larger vignette) help keep your eye moving across the display, giving it an air of whimsy. This rule is pretty universal, when stacking books, or even picking candlesticks for a design.
  • Use items of varying height. This is a great way to add visual interest and to create a layering effect and depth within your design. This way, the longer you look at a piece, the more interesting things that you find!
  • Showcase your beautiful books! I believe that your most treasured pieces belong out where the world can see them. Don’t let your favorite books collect dust – use them in your designs! When selecting the right book for your vignette, make sure to take size, color, and texture into account. I find that they add warmth to a space and their soft muted tones are calming – perfect for a bedroom vignette.
  • No detail is too small. A tiny bird statue perched on top of a stack of books adds the same impact to your design as the books themselves. A tiny nest of eggs cradled within a fern adds an element of life to your room that just can’t be recreated with art and furniture alone.
  • Incorporate organic elements into your design. Using plants (whether faux or real), wood elements, and animals as rotating seasonal accents is one of my favorite ways to decorate seasonally on a budget. A bunny statue and a pop of yellow tulips or fresh greenery in a vignette harken spring but are still seasonally appropriate after Easter décor comes down.
  • Experiment with color. This is your opportunity to make a big impact in a small space! Sometimes, monochromatic vignettes are just as impactful as colorful ones. I like to use vignettes as a way to incorporate secondary colors that tie back into fabric choices. If using a lot of color overwhelms your area, try using books or other small elements to incorporate hues in your vignette!
  • Remember, there are no rules! Sometimes in the shop we place small framed pieces of artwork on a stack of books, or sitting angled in an urn surrounded by books. These aren’t “traditional” ways to display artwork, but that’s what makes them so interesting!

Designing your home should be fun, not stressful. So, remember, if you love it, you’re doing something right! At Nell Hill’s we’ve styled more vignettes than I can count, and the only constant is creating something that will make people smile.

Do you have a Nell Hill’s vignette in your home? I’d love to see it! Share it on Instagram with us using #nellhills