Vignettes When to Break the Rules

Or Just Bend Them


Decorating is and should be fun! Creating vignettes on your tabletops, ottomans, sideboards and even piano tops can be like a game when you learn and attempt to apply established rules and even ‘The Golden Ratio’. So, in creating vignettes, when to break the rules depends upon you.

‘Let’s not break the rules, lets just bend them a little…’ Aunt Eller -‘Oklahoma’

You can begin with the ‘Rules’


Start with your Focal Point and or a Theme. Then begin to build your ‘story’ from there. If you’re using a theme – you’re telling a story. In the summer it can be centered around the beautiful colors of blue and white, hobbies or vacations. Or your theme can be ‘What You Love’. 

Use What You Love


I love Ironstone Pitchers When I am thrift shopping I always look for white pitchers or white dishes. I have been finding a lot of bowls lately – Just LOVE it! I thoroughly enjoy cloches too. I have one gifted to me by my son – it is huge and can easily take up a tabletop. My bread dough bowl can do the same. With something so large don’t shy away from using it! You can create little stories inside these decor items – or leave them blank. 

Statement pieces


There are some interesting decor items being used – trendy items. If you love it and you want to incorporate it into your decor – do! Experiment with combining this item with items that may contrast – creating a juxtaposition can draw incredible interest. 


family photos


Don’t have to be set at three – one look I love and I see often in English decor is a table full of framed family pictures – you’ll most likely see a lamp set to the side and more often than not a round table – heavily covered with one or two tablecloths then loaded down with family photos. This is definitely telling a story- love for family.

The Unexpected


and interesting – things that may not seem completely finished or which hold your heart. Several of us love rusty and chippy things – loaded with patina – you can add these items – for texture. Using a collection of empty photo frames can add interest alongside other items – shop your house – experiment.

One single item


can be used to decorate a tabletop – this moves from a ‘vignette’ to a ‘display’ – you don’t always have to fill a tabletop with decor. I love mornings when I walk by this tabletop – the sunrays are sweeping across creating lacy shadows – this single candlestick on this table completely charms me.

What can you and your family live with


Our homes are a reflection of us and they’re also a place where we come together to enjoy each other. So, making sure your decor is approachable, appropriate for all family members is important too. If you have little ones dancing around your home throughout the day – making sure your decor is pretty and safe is very important. Making your decor mobile can be a solution as well. I love using trays in decor, they anchor the decor items and are portable!

Follow the Rules, Break The Rules or Just Bend Them


Decorating is fun, is fluid – the most important thing is you love it and you enjoy it!

More on Creating Vignettes:



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  1. I love all these groupings. All so comforting and warm. Blessings, Catherine

  2. I love all the vignettes. So many ideas and much inspiration!

  3. Kathy: You just have a great eye! I always enjoy your beautiful ideas. Love the way it all looks. Hugs, Martha

  4. Those are some lovely suggestions, Kathy! I really like what you said about “if you love it, do it.” I think far too often we get caught up in whatever the current trend is and lose our own style. So, thank you for breaking or bending some rules!

    • It’s fun to learn the principles and rules decorators use – but, really – our homes are a reflection of us and our lives…in a sense an extension of us!
      Have a happy week!


  1. […]  I’ve been teaching myself and sharing with you the basic principles of creating a vignette…this time I share with you my opinion on when you can break or even bend the rules. […]