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How to Create Vignettes at Home

Vignettes and Displays at Home

We went to visit interior designer Abigail Ahern at home to learn how to create displays of art and objects.

Abigail’s vignettes are a mix of quirky flea market finds, ceramics, plants (some fake, some real), and art, all layered into a composition that has plenty of depth and keeps the eye moving. There’s an art to achieving an eclectic look—here’s a step-by-step guide from two of Abigail’s displays.

The wall vignette

1. Base your vignette around one central piece (in this case, the blue painting from a gallery in LA). All you’ll need is a shelf (most of Abigail’s are from IKEA).

2. Limit your color palette to about three colors (here it’s turquoise, bright red, and ochre) and bring in objects that loosely fit into that color scheme.

1. The red lamp on the left echoes the reds in the painting behind it, while the foliage adds depth.

2. Add a few more pictures and paintings of different shapes and sizes to the background.

3. The blue painting mimics the blue in the painting above.

The idea, using color and a variety of shapes and sizes, is to make the eye zig-zag up and down so it doesn’t gravitate toward one sole focal point.

Now, the layering begins. Abigail isn’t afraid to partially cover the objects in the background with a few in the foreground like this fun blue vase and quirky dog lamp. This way, not only is your eye moving up and down, it’s also switching between the foreground and the background.

She brings in a few “neutrals” to the foreground by way of some cuttings from the garden in small glass vases.

In the end, you have a vignette that catches the eye and keeps your attention through layers of depth and a mix of objects that you wouldn’t normally associate with one another.

The quick coffee table display

Abigail uses round coffee tables to soften all the angles in a room. This is an African drum that she uses as a table.

Start by adding structure by placing two neat stacks of books in an L shape around a small vase of flowers.

You don’t need very much to create a visually interesting display: Colorful books, a small vase with a casual arrangement in it, and a few candles do the trick.

Nothing is centered, not even the flowers. The candles, placed at different heights make the eye move up and down through the display.

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