Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Basics for Building a Tabletop Vignette

Although I haven't been changing things up around here too much lately, boredom has set in big time, and I needed something fresh to look at here in the Living Room. Each time I think of putting together a vignette or grouping I panic. Good Grief, where do I start? Then I spend a lot of time hunting down and trying things, moving stuff around, then discarding them; generally wasting my time. Decor books and magazines help, but even then I'm sometimes left without an idea of where to start.

I LOVE doing seasonal vignettes, but no matter if I'm decorating for a specific Holiday or Season, or just something basic, I've learned some foundational "building blocks" that make it pretty simple to put together an "Easy Change" Tabletop Vignette.

If you are decorating a smallish tabletop space the first thing I try to keep in mind is not getting too many "littles" and spreading them all around. All that does is make it look messy and cluttered. It's easy for me to do that, so I like having a tray for a base to keep me corralled.

I wanted to do a white/neutral look, so I started with a white painted wooden tray and a couple of old boxes. I collect old wooden boxes (one on the bottom), but the top one is a vintage wooden cigar box, that I painted white. These gave me a good start on adding some height for my "anchor piece". Then to stack some books and top it with a chalk "pineapple" piece.

 You can see that I'm experimenting as I go with different books and objects.

I ended up with two neutral books and the boxes for the base...

I like to use the concept of working with odd numbers for a vignette. In this small space I'm just doing 3 main elements. You need one of the elements to be taller to balance things out with some height and "heft", and it should be toward the back of the tray. I knew I wanted to use one of my sheep for my second mid-size piece, but thought I'd try a couple of different third elements to see what I liked best. This is a small vintage ironstone pitcher that I've been rooting some ivy in, but decided to try a candle instead.

Try to use different textures and shapes too, especially if you're doing an all white or neutral grouping. All wood, or all glass elements would have been visually less interesting.

You could keep your larger main stacked element through the seasons and change out the two smaller elements, in this case the sheep figure and the candle. Early Spring could be a Rabbit and a Nest; for Fall you could use a Pumpkin and some Bittersweet with a Squirrel instead of a Lamb. There are lot's of ways to change up a basic vignette without having to start completely over. (I know you all know this, but I keep having to remind myself of these basic concepts.)

So here is my basic "easy change " vignette in a tray...
 The larger lamp grounds the whole area.
 Having some draperies would help with the background, 
but I'm still working on that major decision...

We all have our own little ways of reminding ourselves how to decorate certain areas. I think my biggest problem is with grouping and "editing". I tend to try to get too much in the space. I think that's from having a shop space, and if you have, you know we tend to want to get as much product out as we can. So with me it's an ongoing mindset I'm having to retrain. This is just a little "help" that saves me time and usually ends up with a pretty easy fix. 

My CTO Heart Procedure is next week...it can't get here fast enough! thanks for all the sweet and positive thoughts, comments and prayers! 

joining in here:

The Scoop at Stone Gable
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Show and Share at Coastal Charm
Tweak it Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Dream Create Inspire at Lehman Lane
Share Your Style at The Essence of Home
Thoughts of Home at Decor to Adore
Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Boutique
The Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm


  1. Your vignette is beautiful, Debra. You really are a master at that. Great instructions too. Starting with a tray is always the answer. ;)

    Thinking of you as you move forward with your heart.

  2. Looks great- though I am always inclined to prefer greens over anything in any setting - so the plant in the ironstone pitcher is my vote. Though you didn't ask. Love it all. You do it so well!

    Deb, praying for you! Hang in there better days are coming, my friend. ♥

    1. Hi Michele, I love the "green" too, and need to get some smaller ivies potted to use as accents. thanks for the prayers, hope you're doing well, my friend!

  3. Debra,

    I think I've told you many times that I simply love your vignettes. This post was so absolutely helpful I could do a dance. Off to make some major changes. Thank you!!!


  4. you are so good at this Debra....

    healing thoughts for your procedure.

  5. You've always been good at staging vignettes, Debra. I agree, if you've had a shop space, the tendency is to cram it all in. I have a Mr. who pretty much dislikes all stuff, so he's my metric when it comes to using restraint at home. At the store, it's Katy bar the door!
    You'll be in my thoughts & prayers throughout the coming weeks. It's always good to see your post pop up in the mail.

  6. You've always shined in your vignettes like no other. I've learned a lot from you about creating beautiful vignettes...and this one is simple and lovely. I'm sending you prayers and positive thoughts that everything works out good!

  7. Good tutorial on vignettes! I pinned it for future reference. Sending lots of prayers and hugs for you as you go through your CTO Heart Procedure next week.

  8. Pinned! I love that you showed how to do a vignette with graphics. And I think I've acquired your love of sheep. I just can't find any!

  9. Very nice balance to your lamp---another addition to your recipe...is the negative space around your vignette, which actually becomes part of the compostion...or basically air---since the background is basically/whites--beige---it works very well. If there was more of a contrast---a compostion may need more weight to counteract the darker---negative space. Love this post though, hard for some people to do and your approach is spot on. Sandi

  10. Enjoyed this so much today! Thanks so much for the tips. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  11. Your vignette looks wonderful..great tips and l really like the idea of changing out part of it each season.

  12. Great advise, your vignette looks so pretty. Will be praying for The Lord to guide the Doctors and a quick recovery for you.

  13. Done like a pro! And of course I love all the white. It gets addictive. I am liking things more spare so your backdrop works for me too. Sending love and prayers and all good thoughts for you when you have your procedure.

  14. Beautiful Debra, you always do such a wonderful job with arranging and composing. You will be in my prayers for a very sucessful surgery and amazing results at the hand of our God. May your healing go smoothly and get you back to your old (young) self. You are an amazing person and a blessing!! Linda


  15. Debra you have such a beautiful way of decorating.
    Just love your gorgeous vignette and the tutorial to go with it!
    We are so happy that you shared your talents with us today at TOHOT!

  16. I missed the post about the procedure, so went back and read that, too. I am glad you have a doctor who isn't in it only for the money. It would make a big difference even to get some help with that main artery...I will keep you in my prayers for a succesful procedure and to feeling better, Debra!
    Your vignette is beautiful...I always love seeing your talents! xo

  17. Wishing you much good luck on your heart procedure next week Debra. Will look for news you are doing well.
    Thanks for this helpful info, have been making vignettes for years but never hurts to have fresh ideas. I love your little lamb, will look for couple myself to use for decorating.
    Have wonderful weekend

  18. Thank you for your share. I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful information. I have read most of them and got a lot from them. If you are looking for writing related help then go through with custom essay writing service you can get better help from the professionals.

  19. This is wonderful advice Debra-
    and this particular vignette is lovely.
    Love to you my friend.
    Everything is going to be OK.
    You are so loved.

  20. Great tips!! I'll be thinking of you next week ~ sending gentle thoughts for healing and health ~

  21. Such great tips Debra. You really are the queen of displays. We so appreciate you joining the Thoughts of Home on Thursday gathering. May you have a delightfully lovely weekend.

  22. I enjoyed this, also, Debra, as I spend a lot of time putting vignettes together for my shop. Large anchor piece, medium piece and a small piece...you simplified it! Thank youy.

  23. Saw your feature at Cozy Little House, congrats - your vignettes are beautiful, thanks for the tutorial and inspiration.


  24. Your description is easy to follow and the result is wonderful. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  25. Great tips Debra!! I've pinned it and I'm delighted to be featuring this post at Shabbilicious Friday this week. I always enjoy having you link up sweetie. Thinking of you and wishing you well for you procedure this week.

  26. Very nice and very helpful. There is a trick to getting it right and you know the how to do it right. I am going to follow your advice.

  27. Thanks for your teachings. Your home is always perfect and I think you are a great decorator!!


I love hearing from you. Feel free to comment, big or small. Be sure and leave your name and blog if commenting under anonymous. Thanks friends

New Posts in Your In-Box