June 13, 2014 at 1:00 am

Smart Solutions

Create pleasing vignettes that draw the eye

A striking vignette created by Rima Belau mixes modern chairs, colorful art and a bevy of beautiful objects. (Tauras Bublys Photography)

If you’ve ever admired the displays in storefronts and catalogs, but can’t seem to create them at home, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes all it takes is a little practice and some guidance from a pro.

Rima Belau, interior designer and owner of Rima Designs in Plymouth, is working on a design book that will feature her inspirational vignettes, along with easy decorating tips.

For those who want to create their own intriguing interiors, she provides some advice. “Start with things you love, whether you picked something up on a vacation or a piece that has fond memories,” she says. “I like the idea of surrounding yourself with things that make you smile. Build from there.”

Photographs and artwork are among her favorite pieces to group together for greater impact. “I enjoy looking at images of family and paintings that I love,” she says.

Color combinations can be a great starting point. “Whether it’s a collection of brightly colored pottery, black-and-white photographs or a collection of antiques, as long as there’s some sort of connection, it works,” Belau says.

“I enjoy mixing the old with the new, too,” she adds. “In this photo, old items were placed on a clean-lined shelf and flanked with modern chairs.”

Mixing price points can result in an arrangement that’s pleasing to the eye. “If you fall in love with an expensive piece, go for it,” says Belau. “Sometimes, you just need fillers. Shop around your house or check out discount stores, such as HomeGoods.”

Organized displays get attention. “The neater the display, the more appealing it is to look at. Clustering things really helps,” Belau says.

You can never have too many sources. “I shop everywhere. We have so many amazing accessory stores in Metro Detroit,” says Belau, who also frequents antiques shops and thrift stores. “Often times, when you see something you really like, it already ‘goes’ with other things you’ve purchased.”

There’s a method to maximizing bookshelves without cramming too much inside. Belau recommends grouping like items first, such as big books together, then small ones, etc. Alternate the directions when stacking them to create visual interest and keep it looking neat, she says.

“Once the books are in, it’s easier to go back and place smaller trinkets in the empty spaces,” Belau says.

Playing with multiples is another fun trick, such as perching a bird figure in front of a bird-themed painting. “Sometimes it’s not even planned, but I’ll look around the room and spot something that makes sense to add,” she says.

Symmetry lends a sense of order to your arrangements, but it’s not your only option. “Sometimes it’s easier to start symmetrically, and then add a few things sporadically. I’ve always found that things look more natural when they’re placed in odd numbers,” says Belau.

“If you have two matching topiaries on either side of a mantel, adding a smaller interesting object next to one of them finishes the look.”

For information, contact Rima Belau at (313) 346-5770 or go to rimadesigns.net.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.