Thursday, July 16, 2015

Arranging vignettes: Do you know your design letters?

 Are you challenged when it comes to arranging  accessories? Do you look at details in  decorating magazines and marvel at how everything  looks just right? Many people think the final touches are the most difficult part of home decor, but they don't have to be.  There are all kinds of tips and tricks of the trade. 

One of the simplest design tips I can offer is the use  of  letter formations to organize interesting accessory vignettes. I'm calling on my background in visual art and floral arrangement to offer you this advice.  Other decorators may have different ways of describing their approach. 

The most useful letters for designing vignettes are ....  A, V,  O, C, L, and M.  

Here goes...


eclectic bedroom traditional bedroom bedroom vignette

This is a very tight A line of design.  The visual height is always through the middle and the base is wider, but the bottom width can vary.  My eye wants to see something slightly taller than the dish - a sphere  would be lovely here. Perhaps the owner is like me,  always looking for just the right object to finish a room.

vignette, black and white, A line of design


Another A with a tall vertical.  Because this is a monochromatic scheme the overall A shape is more evident.  Are you noticing how the height is usually a piece of art?  It  could also be a sculpture, a mirror,  a  tall vase of twigs or flowers or photos hung on the wall.  The base can also  be much wider and the height much less than these examples. 

console table, vignette, V line of design
The reverse of A is V. In a V the lowest point is usually in the middle of the arrangement.  Sometimes thinking about it as a check mark is helpful because one side is usually taller and one is shorter.  A V line of design doesn't  have the height through the middle that an A line of design does. Sometimes only these two shapes are presented in vignette discussions, but there are so many more ways to think about it.  


Quintessential Dressing Table eclectic bedroom
 Lucid Interior Design Inc.

vignette, console table, C line of design


 You don't often find C lines of design and they are the most obvious when there's only one object banked by something that is circular as with the mirror and twigs.  Your eye just wants to make that sweep.  But sometimes it is the placement of objects that creates a C sweep with the largest object placed at the beginning of the C as in the photo above. 

Joni Spear Interior Design contemporary dining room, vignette
 Joni Spear Interior Design

 Some designers may argue this is a classic V formation but I would disagree because the mirror causes the eye to move in a circular fashion around the display.  The lamps are taken in with that sweep.

 Wakefield Residence modern living room, vignette, console table
 Rachel Reider Interiors

 Another  symmetrical O line of design.  The base is set so broadly that your eye just wants to do the circular movement around the objects. The three rounded shapes  add to the circular movement.  

vignette, starburst mirror, o line of design

Another very strong O line of design.  It is even more obvious when you have a narrow base. 

Metal decor modern living room, console table vignette

Urrutia Design contemporary , console table
Urrutia Design

The requirement for an L line of design is a very tall object placed on the edge of the design with a broad base.  Of course you can also reverse the L.  If the hurricanes were taller I would call the  vignette above a V. 


You don't often see the M line of design used, but it works well when you are displaying collections where you have several heights with dips in the middle and you start with shorter objects on the ends.  

traditional mantle vignette


console table vignette blue lamps

If the shorter objects are on either end it is an M, but when you start with taller objects on the ends and it is also high in the middle  it moves into a W.  

What line of design do these vignettes follow? 




1.This is  an A because of the wide base and the tall height through the middle. 

2.  Whenever you see a  lot of objects of similar heights spread out and starting and ending with a shorter object it is an M.  The more objects there are it can turn into a long zig zag of Ms. 

3.  Oh so tricky.  Without the curved object to the right it would be an O line of design, but your eye stops on it making it  a C. 

And there you have it.   Keep your eyes open when you see arrangements and observe the  lines of design  used. Then start arranging! 

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