Here’s the #1 Tip to Making an Arrangement Look Great

The key to make a great looking sideboard arrangement, or any arrangement for that matter, I think, is to find balance in arranging. There are tons of other rules of arranging to be observed… and broken, but balance is really key.

Let’s run through the steps to make an arrangement on this sideboard and see just what balance does to make it look visually appealing:

Balance in Arranging

Here is the built-in sideboard, original to our newly renovated 100 year old house.

Balance in Arranging

First thing I start with, is the big center piece, which in this case is this large birdcage. This birdcage is quite large. I love that even though it is big, with the open wire walls, it allows the mirror mounted behind it to bounce light around. However, just because it is the biggest piece of the composition, it’s not necessarily the focal point… keep reading…

Next, some light and freshness…

Balance in Arranging

I have used these faux amaryllis flowering bulbs from Target in so many arrangements. They have so much going for them… fresh white, natural texture, and height.

Here’s the first balancing tip…

See how there are 2 amaryllis on the left and only 1 on the right? That weighs the left a little more, pulling your eye there to start, and the way they’re arranged on the left, from the front to the back, your eye reads it from the far left front to the back left corner of the birdcage and then off to the front right.

But I’m not happy with just the plain painted top of the sideboard in this layout, so after I went to search for something interesting, I decided on this:

Balance in Arranging

It is actually a piece of landscape burlap, with a very open, textural weave. (here you can see how I used some of this burlap for a tablescape in our former house)

This burlap piece helps ‘tie’ all the pieces that make this arrangement into one unified group.

Balance in Arranging

The burlap is laid loosely, slightly bunched, for a very casual effect.

Now just to fill in the arrangement a little, without getting it too busy with a lot of small things.

Balance in Arranging

OK, so remember what I said about breaking the rules? You must be willing to adjust as you’re making an arrangement.

Yup, I changed it up so that the 2 potted amaryllis bulbs are now on the right, but to compensate and still start your eye on the left, I added an even taller yellow orchid, that I placed in a champagne bucket. (I bought the pair at an estate sale in Maine last summer. I just loved it for it’s shape and color) Then to compliment the champagne bucket, I placed it’s mate, an ice bucket slightly in front and right of the champagne bucket.

So now, my very subtle accent color is yellow. Do you see how it’s balanced and flows throughout the arrangement?

Balance in Arranging

First the tall yellow orchids on the left, the very subtle yellow centers of the amaryllis, and then the Villeroy and Boch bowl on the right front has yellow accents.

Balance in Arranging

It is this balance of color that gives flow and what makes an arrangement almost have movement, pulling your eye around it. Besides balancing the yellow in the composition, do you also notice the white balanced and flowing from the silver pieces to the amaryllis and candles in the back and around to the other side curling up and ending at the Villeroy and Boch bowl in the front? And the way that all the pieces are arranged to almost hug the small white bowl?

Balance in Arranging

Aha! Thus the smallest piece, the white Villeroy and Boch bowl is the focal piece of the whole composition on the sideboard, isn’t it?

Now there are certainly other aspects one could note in this very basic arrangement, such as groups of 3 are for some reason pleasing to the eye. Note 3 amaryllis, 3 objects on each side of the birdcage, and 3 main groups, (the yellow orchid group being 1, the birdcage being 2 and the pair of amaryllis and bowl on right being the third)

And how about texture, and certainly juxtaposition… look at the contrast from the humble landscaper’s burlap to the fine Villeroy and Boch bowl sitting on it! (I love, love, love juxtapostion in decorating!!)

I could go on and on, in fact, the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, comes to mind when I think of practically that many things to help explain my thoughts when constructing an arrangement such as in this picture. But for now, much is explained and hopefully intriguing you to do some arranging with just thinking about balancing.

You can find more tips on arrangements and vignettes I’ve written about here:  Details on Creating Tablescapes, Vignettes and Hanging Pictures

If you liked this tip and would like to see more household tips I’ve written about, check out the DIY, Tutorial & Tips Page here.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

Yay!! We were featured at: My Repurposed Life  This post is found at these other blogsites: A Stroll Thru Life, Between Naps on the Porch Tablescapes,  A Bowl Full of Lemons, Catch as Catch Can, French Country Cottage, DIY Showoff, Coastal Charm, My Romantic Home, DIY ShowoffI Should be Mopping, Savvy Southern Style, The Shabby NestBetween Naps on the Porch, DIY by Design, Serenity NowUncommon DesignFunky Junk InteriorsHome Stories A to Z

Reader Interactions


  1. Brianne says

    Would u mind sharing where u got the hardware for this buffet/sideboard piece?? My husband is building me something similar and I love the vintage looking hardware!

    • Liz says

      Thank you Brianne, I too liked the vintage look to it. I found it at Menards. I know they still have that hardware, because I just saw it in there yesterday. If you’re not located by a Menards, they do have a website and thou could track it down that way hopefully. If you still can’t find it, let me know… I am in Menards frequently (like almost every day, with the house renovation we’re doing) and can find info for you.

  2. Kim @ Cozinest says

    You did a beautiful job! This is simply gorgeous! I use the time of packing away Christmas to re-accessorize my house. It gives me a totally new look with old things every January.

    • says

      Thank you Pinky. So I bought these amaryllis several years ago at I’m sorry, but I bet it was close to 10 years ago, I wonder if they are now discontinued? And actually, they may have just been offered for that particular season even. Good luck finding something similar. Liz

  3. Donnamae says

    Good advice…it looks lovely! Funny thing…after I took down my Chtistmas decorations and tried to put back what I had there….i couldn’t remember what I had on my dining buffet! ( I had forgotten to take pictures!). So I had to start over, retrieve what I thought would look good from various hiding places, and I’m still playing with it three days later. I guess I’ll get it, but I’m also trying for a more uncluttered look! It’s not as easy as it looks. That’s such a perfect spot for your birdcage! 😉

    • says

      Oh my gosh, me too Donnamae! I totally forgot how I had the shelves and tabletops before Christmas decor changed them all too. Oh well, it’s fun to re-create them and see all the special knick-knacks in a new light.

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