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Collection of porcelain trinkets

Vignette: A Brief, But Powerful Scene


Valerie has an exceptional talent and love for arranging accessories into beautiful displays. Her design firm used to be called Vignettes of Refinement, but the word vignettes confused too many people.  I love vocabulary.com’s definition of VIGNETTE: A brief, but powerful scene.  


Eventually, to simplify things, she changed her firm’s name to The Home and Garden Stylist.  The name change has made life easier and it still implies her ability to create order out of unwieldy accessories and collections.  The following photos of displays, designed by Val, illustrate how to attract the eye with effective vignettes.

Collection of miniature porcelain trinkets grouped together

Corralling porcelain trinkets together on a porcelain tray, rather than each trinket sitting alone, creates an organized and cohesive collection that attracts the eye.


An Easter table was set to coordinate with beautiful dinnerware.

Displayed collection of marble figures

A collection of marble items is arranged together on a side table; a stack of books and a healthy green plant adds color and life to this otherwise monochromatic display.

Display of childrens wood shoe lasts

A stack of earthy looking books serves as a riser for a sweet pair of childrens wooden shoe lasts.

Display of silver serving pieces

A collection of silver pieces, used for entertaining sits together on a silver tray.

Opera binoculars displayed with books

Pretty Opera Binoculars are displayed atop a stack of dressy looking books.


This cabinet displays primarily red white and blue objects, with pops of silver.

Collection of Asian pottery and figurines displayed

A collection of matching Asian pottery and figurines is well proportioned for this narrow powder room shelf.

Use the following rules to help you create attractive vignettes.  Rules 1, 2, 3 and 4 can be used separately or together, but rules 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 are the law!

10 Rules for Displaying Collections and Accessories:

1) Display Similar Items.

2) Display Similar Colors. 

3) Display Similar Materials.

4) An odd number of items in a vignette is usually the most attractive; a stack of items can read as a single item.  

5) Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should show it or (for that matter) keep it.  

6) Collections should be shown together, they tend to look chaotic when they are scattered around a room or home.

7) Display only the best of the best!  When collections get too large, they become unwieldy and lose their impact.  Exercise discipline and become an editor of your accessories, so that your best things get to be the star ✩. 

8)  Try corralling small items on a tray, a plate, a book or a small shelf.  Small objects look busy and and messy when they are not anchored by a properly scaled platform to sit upon.  

9) Don’t be afraid of negative space.  Negative space is the empty space / the breathing room around your displays that allows the eye to take in the beauty of your special things.  If you want your surroundings to be restful and attractive and if you want to live with good design, negative space is imperative!

10) Rework old vignettes.  Look at your collections and accessories with new eyes. A hoard of accessories and mementos makes a room feel stale and oppressive.

✤ If you liked this post, you will probably like the following posts, too.  Click on the links below to see them!

      ~Less is More

      ~Get Rid of 100 Things Today

✤ Challenge:  Create one attractive vignette in your home today!  



2 thoughts on “10 Rules for Displaying Collections and Accessories

  1. Janea says:

    Wow! What a beautiful way to decorate. I am inspired! I have a collection of Mexican and Guatemalan handicrafts which I display on a wooden desk with a glass top which hovers a few inches above the wood. I never thought of this as helping to contain the collection, but it works.
    XO, Janea @ http://theSTYLetti.com


    1. That is a great way to display a collection! Giving a collection a place of its own, makes it feel important and organized. It’s like candy for the eyes!


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