In my younger days… (before children), like a couple of decades ago, I worked as an interior designer and visual merchandiser.
I got to work with lots of lovely home décor and furnishings every day, which was no hardship I can tell you. In that line of work, even though you have to be across all different decorating styles, there are some basic design principles that stand true no matter what your style is.
I’m the first to put up my hand and say I’m no decorating expert and I’m certainly guilty of breaking a few design rules from time to time…
But honestly, I believe you have to love the space you live in and it should speak to ‘your heart’, not someone else’s.
Personally, I love to be visually inspired by my home and for me that means having lots of my pretty things out on show. For that reason, I love open shelves, dressers and hutches and they fit right into my shabby cottage decorating style.
Today I’m sharing my 5 styling tips that I find helpful when arranging a shelf vignette… and they may help you too.
I start by gathering all the elements; a variety of items in varying heights, shapes and textures. I may not use them all, but I can mix and match elements as required.
I change out my dresser and open shelves with some frequency and I usually have a theme in mind when I do. That may be seasonal, colour orientated or based around a newly acquired décor piece… if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that is secret code for GreenGate.
Sometimes the basic elements may stay the same eg, all white décor items and I simply add a new accent colour in the form of flowers, fruit or accessories.
I’m a bit old school when it comes to grouping principles and I still like to group within a pyramid shape.
Basically, your items are arranged in different heights within a triangular or pyramid shape.
Odd numbered items eg. 3 or 5 work best and are most pleasing to the eye.
I start with an anchor piece… usually substantial in height and weight, placed in the centre or slightly off centre. Next I fill in the rest of the pyramid/triangle with items of varying heights, shapes and textures. Some pieces overlap to tie the vignette together.
4. Design elements:
To create vignettes that are pleasing to the eye, you need to consider the design elements; colour, texture, balance, proportion and contrast.
Varying textures within your vignette adds visual interest eg. smooth and rough, shiny and matte. I most commonly use flowers or handmade fabric pieces in my GreenGate vignettes.
Creating vignettes should be fun… not stressful.
I know many of you have told me before that you don’t know where to start and ask for advice on styling. Let me just say, I never get it exactly right with the first placement. Even if I was pretty happy with it first go, I’d still have a play with it. Don’t be frightened to move pieces around within your pyramid. Sometimes you need to remove items if it is too busy or maybe add in some extra pieces to balance colour or contrast.
I’d love to hear your styling tips too!
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Thanks for the very useful tips Kerryanne.
I was a window dresser and in-store design supervisor for a large retail chain before I got married and I really enjoyed having almost unlimited items to use in my displays. I have to be a little more thoughtful at work & at home as my available resources are much more limited.
Karem Jiménez says