What’s a vingette? Well, we’ve all got ’em, even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a small arrangement of objects in a space. It could be on a coffee table, a credenza, or even a grouping of furniture.
Now, we’ve all got ’em, but do they look good? I have to admit, several of my areas needed some work. As I was going through my house, I figured that I have at least 6 areas on my first floor that fall into the category of vingette. Only one of them was I happy with. So, I started plowing through my design books and pinterest, Google, etc. to find inspiration. What I found was a specific formula for a successful vingette that can translate to a buffet, a bar cart, or even a t.v. console.
Below are the steps I’ve listed to help you create a vingette in your own home. Above all, your vingette needs to showcase your style. It needs to tell a story about the people who live there. Do you love farmhouse decor? (I just saw 75% of my audiences hands go up! Ha!) Do you like Boho California style? Is your house mid-century modern and you’re into the minimalist look? Whatever it is, your vingette needs to reflect who you are and how you live in your home. That said, here are some guidelines to help you get started.
1. Define your Vingette
Clean off your surfaces and collect all of your favorite items and lay them out on a table, floor or where ever you can see them all in a large group together. Items could include lamps, books, candles, art, bowls, plants, book ends, vases, pictures in frames, etc. This will help you start imagining your items in a new spot. Sometimes, I get into a rut and I make this unconscious decision that certain objects need to belong in a specific space for the rest of their lives. I have a hard time moving something that has found it’s rightful home. BUT, it is fun to change things up and more often than not, you’ll end up liking your “thing” in a new place and enjoying it more when it’s in a new setting.
Once you’ve laid out your items, start thinking about your vingette area. Is it a reading nook? A bar cart? A dining room buffet? It could be your console table or coffee table. Defining your vingette will help you sort through your collection to piece together a couple of items that you feel best describe that area.
This is my dining room buffet…not sure if we still call them that, but it’s in the dining room and I occasionally put food on it, so buffet it is!
Because this is in the dining room, I wanted to make sure I didn’t have anything on it that didn’t necessarily fit the theme of the room. I wouldn’t put book or a lamp there. But, I would possibly have a couple of bottles of wine in a small wine rack, or some fruit in a bowl. Since it fall, I had some extra pumpkins on hand and our tall grass is blooming (I think that’s what it’s called), so I cut some of it and put it in a vase.
As you can see there are a few different elements to this vingette. They come together to create height and texture. This brings me to the second guideline for creating a vingette.
2. Rule of Threes
The Rule of Threes is the concept of displaying an arrangement of items so that is more memorable. Variation is key. Emily Henderson’s book Styled is a great source of information on this topic. She says that you don’t want everything to be the same height, color or texture. If you do have all of those things displayed together, things tend to get lost in the mix because they don’t stand out.
In the picture above, you can see something that is vertical (lamp), something horizontal (books), and something that is sculptural (roses). The roses link the tall lamp and the vertical books together in this vingette.
Here’s another example of this concept.
There’s the vertical element from the branches and/or the lamp, horizontal lines from the books, and sculptural element with the spiky gold thingy. I love those thingys by the way, I just don’t know what they’re called! I think you also have sculptural with the mirror, but it also serves as an anchor to give weight to the space.
So back to my space, I have the height of the grasses and the candle holders with the sculptural of the ceramic avocados and bark-edged wooden bowls, and the vertical element in the pumpkins.
Again, this vingette goes well in the dining room because it showcases items that correlate with food like pumpkins, avocados, and bowls. In addition to that it creates a mood for the room which accomplishes my goal of creating a festive eating space.
3. Identify the Mood of your Room
Like I said above, my goal was to create a festive eating space in the dining room. You have to identify the mood of your room when you are collecting items to display in your vingette. I have this beautiful credenza in my office that just did not get the attention that it deserved. It’s a vintage piece that matches my desk. For a while I just displayed my kids school pictures on it, but although my kiddos are cute, the pictures did not work well there. After living with this display in a state of limbo for 2 years, I finally gathered up some items from around my house (see guideline #1) and created a new vingette for my office credenza.
Why did I wait so long?!?!
I was stubborn. I did not want to move that orchid out of the dining room, but in hindsight, it really didn’t belong there. I also needed an appropriate home for those vintage brass herons. They just kept jumping around from surface to surface until I finally got my act together and made them part of this vingette. They now look like they were made for this exact spot!
Ok, so we’ve got horizontal in the books, vertical in the orchid and the heron (lamps too) and sculptural in the orchid pot, brass dish, and silver jar. Obviously, books are perfect for this office space, as well as the framed picture and the lamps. I achieved my goal of creating a bright, intellectual space with pops of artsy elements like the heron and the orchid pot.
Here are some examples of well-defined vingettes that match the mood of a room AND adhere to the Rule of 3s.
This is a nightstand vingette. You can tell because of the wedding photo and the small dish for jewelry. But, it could translate to a console table in a foyer or elsewhere with a few changes. Just remember – Define your space! There are vertical components with the lamp and the artwork, horizontal components with the books, and sculptural components with the vase, picture frame, and the beads in the dish.
Hello! Do you see those heron? Am I seeing double? Ha!
In this vingette, you’ll not only find those lovely heron, you’ll also find that you can use a small tray to group objects together
I wanted to showcase a couple of coffee table vingettes that I like. I’m a big fan of using a tray to keep your vingette compact so that there’s actually room on the coffee table for ummm….coffee. The lantern and the topiary are the vertical, the books (wrapped in brown paper – genius!) are the horizontal and the pumpkin and vase are structural. I could also see the topiary being a structural element as well. I’m really liking the texture that is added to this vingette through the tray and the topiary.
Here’s another coffee table vingette where the items are arranged so elegantly. This is Lauren Conrad’s house as revealed in My Domaine. We’ve got our same three elements represented here again. Books – horizontal, flowers – vertical, and geode/brass apple – structural.
I’ve got a few more vingettes to get to work on in my house. My coffee table and t.v. console are at the top of the list. The two that I’m pretty happy with are the coffee table and bar cart in my front room. I will need to freshen those up after a while because I don’t want them to feel stagnant.
As always, I would love to hear your comments! Happy styling friends!