Design Recipes: Using vignettes

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Design isn’t always about the big pieces in a room. Sometimes it’s the smaller, specialty pieces that can make a room shine. Vignettes have long been the secret weapon of stylists to make aesthetically pleasing, stylized statements throughout a space.

What is a vignette?

A vignette is a snapshot or mini-grouping of items to convey a design message. A vignette can be a grouping of furniture items, accessories such as pillows or tabletop items such as sculptural pieces, vases or even flowers.

What makes a good vignette?

When it comes to the components of your vignette, consider incorporating your favorite things into a single vignette. Another design idea is using key colors that are present or dominate elsewhere in your space.

Do’s and Don’ts


■Create a vignette using a minimum of three items.

■Consider creating a vignette using a single color.

■Use colorful accents such as florals and artwork.


■Overdo it; less is more.

■Hide your vignettes. Locations like the floor are never a good location to make a vignette you wish to highlight.

■Use perishable items in your vignettes. While seasonal items can be interesting, they will be hard to maintain.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at