Creating Vignettes and Arrangements Creating Vignettes and Arrangements

There are a lot of things I love, but I’ve learned, just because I ‘love them’ doesn’t mean that I can necessarly live with them very long… like Christmas decorations. I love decorating for Christmas, but (just as much!) I love putting away all the glam, glitter and red and green decorations. As lovely as it is, it’s visually taxing too, and I can only take it in for a few weeks. Once it’s put away and the pine needles vacuumed up, it is so enjoyable to spend a little time decorating the house in a less visually demanding style. (although, it’s all relative… I think I probably still have more decor out than some people, so for me it’s streamlined… ha ha) Here are a few tips I have for you in creating vignettes and arrangements…

I thought about doing a ‘before and after‘ with the ‘before’ being the Christmas display and the ‘after’ how I’ve done it for now… but instead, in respect to the streamlining theme of this post, ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll just put the links for you to click over to and see the way it was for Christmas.


At Christmas I had this black cupboard filled with vintage nativity scenes.

Now… arrangement on black plate cupboard

The white dishes stay on the antique cupboard all the time and I add plates, bowls or what have you to the shelves. I kept it especially bare this time… (this old cupboard held canning goods in the basement of a house we owned many years ago, you can read more about that here.) saucer in frame

On top of the cupboard I left the topiaries that I had there with Christmas stuff, with the arrangement I’ve added the mercury glass candle holders.

Featured on the cover story of this post, is this antique tea cart I found last year on Craigslist. antique tea cart

For Christmas, I had some vintage ornaments spilling out of the champagne bucket, (I didn’t do a post on that display, but I did share that on my Facebook page) so this little Blue Willow bowl seems so much calmer and serene. The pewter coffee pot set was my grandmother’s on my dad’s side, and the silver plated tea set on the platter was my grandmother’s on my mom’s side. This does seem like the appropriate spot for them.

On the opposite side of the dining room from the black cupboard is the built-in sideboard. I’ve shared with you a few arrangements on it, including this post with the #1 tip in arranging. At Christmas it was decked out in a winter wonderland style. That was beautiful, but once I got it cleaned up, I was ready for a little more ‘void’ in my ‘mass and void’ arrangement! sideboard

I did keep out the antler candle holders I showed you how to make. They look natural and simplistic, and though the battery operated candles are red, I do have a few red touches around the house, so that works well here without feeling ‘Christmas-y’. I also have touches of silver and mercury glass in the dining room, so even just the simple vintage silver plate tray along with the silver edging on the Lenox anniversary bowl my husband bought me several years ago are enough to repeat that in this arrangement. antler candleholders

The antique beadboard cupboard on the other side of the dining room, I found at a garage sale at least 20 years ago for $30. I’ve had it in just about every room of the past 3 houses we’ve owned. Above it is a very symmetrical arrangement with a pair of prints stacked in the center and flanking them are a set of 6 Wedgewood hand painted wooden chargers. A TJMaxx find from a long time ago… antique wainscot cupboard

Since that arrangement on the wall is so symmetrical, I decided to repeat a bit of that symmetry with the topiary arrangement on the cupboard top. Then introduced the touch of silver into this vignette the champagne and ice bucket set.


I guess I haven’t shown too much of the living room in our 100 year old house yet, (here’s a corner of the living room and front stair where I hung the deer antlers for Christmas)ย  but flanking each side of the fireplace, we have these built-in bookshelves. At Christmas, I put the ceramic village splayed out across both sides of the shelves. Once that was put away, I re-did the arrangement with a much more streamlined look than before. built in left of fireplace

I wanted the two flanking shelves to look like a set with each other, but didn’t want to have it be ‘smatchy-matchy’… therefore, play along with me as I explain a bit of my pattern making with building a balanced vignette…

I put the visually heavy and curvy white object in the center of the window on each shelf. That’s the bust I used in last year’s Valentine’s centerpiece on the left and the pair of white vases on the right.

Then I placed the tallest piece, which is also a warm brown tone on the outside edge.ย  On the left that’s the antique clock and on the right it’s the vintage (alabaster?) lamp.

On both side I have antique books, and clocks, in different forms, but both feeling like they relate to each other… built in flanking right of fireplace

Continuing with a balanced look on each side, I added the pottery vase on each inside corner. The blue vase, on the left, we got up North on a day trip we took a while back, and the green piece, an antique Chinese pottery piece, on the right side, I found at a yard sale a couple years ago.

I have to interject a funny story here…

I was recently perusing through a Pottery Barn catalog, wait, what?!

Hold on a minute… Look at that!! via pottery barn display

There on the table in front of the Buchanan sofa room setting in the catalog was the exact match to my antique Chinese pottery piece! I actually thought this particular piece was fairly rare, as I had a challenging time finding information about it after I bought it. “Well” said I to myself, “Maybe it’s not so rare after all, but my goodness, if Pottery Barn has it out on display, photographed in their catalog no less, I better put mine out in a more prominent spot, to show everyone I’m ‘with it’ too”ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ok, so I actually don’t worry or think too much about what others think about my decorating… I just pretty much do what I like and makes my eyes happy. But it really was kind of fun to see my antique Chinese pottery piece in their casual room setting.

I’ll show you one more vignette arrangement…

This is the top of the cabinet by the front entry. I went with a bird theme here, I guess… as every object has some sort of connection to a bird, everything that is except the large handled basket in the back, but one could argue that it too resembles a bird’s nest. vignette above entry cabinet

Speaking of bird’s nests, I moved the cloche with the blue jay’s nest in it up here too. (in this post I shared with you about this blue jay’s nest and how we nearly, unknowlingly to us, murdered the baby jays that lived in it and how that mother’s desire to care for her babies over-ruled her self desire)

So that’s what I have going on in a couple of the rooms in our 100 year old house for the next couple months. How about you? What are your secrets you have for creating vignettes and arrangements? Do you keep it the same year after year, or do you get get a whim… especially when you see something you have, displayed in a Pottery Barn catalog? ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Reader Interactions


  1. Donnamae says

    I love that tea cart of yours…I think because it’s wood! I’m kind of hit or miss with my arrangements….trial and error mostly. If it looks good, balanced, I’ll leave it…if not, I’ll tweak it til I get it right…my version of right! That was quite the antique Chinese find…it’s lovely! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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