I get a LOT of questions about styling. The truth is- it is something that has always come naturally to me, and I spend a lot of time moving things around because it brings me joy and stress relief. I’m constantly composing vignettes and switching things up in our home, just for fun. Emmett catches little nuances, asking “Wasn’t that there the other day?!” In addition to playing mind games with my husband, it’s just a fun hobby of mine that eventually turned into my job. Styling really isn’t difficult- especially when you have a good foundation and formula to work from. I thought it may be helpful to break down my top five foundation pieces for interior styling in a blog post. Any guesses what they are? Trays, books, vessels, art, and objects. These pieces work for styling year round, and might come in handy this holiday season once you’re ready to decorate. Click through!
In this post, we’re going to zoom into a vignette and focus on the objects that support it. I also want to explain why they work, how function comes into play, and what makes a beautiful styled vignette. Ready to dive in?!
#1: Trays & Pedestals
First up… trays and pedestals. Trays are quite literally the foundation piece for styling. They help to ground a vignette and provide a grid for other objects to rest upon. They’re great for visual organization, and also come in handy for functional purposes- like a place to rest a drink (no coaster necessary). Trays and pedestals also help to elevate a styled vignette. Adding height and layers is all part of creating balance, and to do that- you need items that lift, while grounding. Make sense? I’m dropping some favorites below!
In September, I shared a giant post filled with my favorite interior design books. In addition to new books, I also do a lot of thrifting when it comes to adding to my collection. If you haven’t read my 10 tips for shelf styling with LOTS of books, it’s a must read! Regardless of where my books come from or what content they are filled with, they serve multiple purposes: entertaining, inspiration, and of course- interior styling. Books are probably my most used and relied upon styling tool. They really are the most versatile object you can style with! They add height, texture, color, interest (I love browsing favorite titles & topics in homes), and they act similarly to a tray to ground a vignette. You can stack them, slide them onto a shelf, or use them to elevate other accessories. Books are a must for a great vignette.
#3: Vessels & Bowls
Next- vessels and bowls. These super functional objects help to corral items and provide organization (both visually and physically). Most bowls are round and have a curvy feminine shape… soft lines are always a welcomed feminine addition to any styled vignette. Adding these softer pieces helps to break up hard, angular lines (remember contrast is a great thing). They also carry a sculptural, gallery look- which I really love in residential settings. I can never have enough vessels & bowls to style with. They end up in the majority of my vignettes.
Artwork is sprinkled throughout our entire house. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes you really have to look to discover a piece tucked here or there (like a scavenger hunt). From large art to small art, to art of all different mediums… I truly enjoy layering it into our home. It works great as a backdrop for styling and helps to add a vertical, two dimensional plane when you need to fill negative space. It also tells the story of the inhabitants of a home. I love that people walk into our house and find a horse in every room. They immediately wonder why we like horses and the story behind our equine artwork. Art gives a vignette personality and shouldn’t be skipped!
#5: Interesting or Functional Objects
Last, but certainly not least… objects! Objects can be functional (like our hand that holds our keys, pictured below) or they can just be interesting. From sculptural objects to pieces that spark conversation, these items also add character to a vignette. Might I recommend a bust, a bookend, or a vintage hand? Hah! All of these quirky objects found throughout our home complete the vignette and are the finishing touch in the foreground.
I hope this post was helpful if you’re working to compile your very own “capsule collection” of styling objects. These are the five components that nearly all of my vignettes include. They’re versatile, always work well, and don’t go out of style. Just like in fashion, maybe you have a black dress, an awesome pair of jeans, and a fabulous handbag- think of styling objects in the same way… but for your home. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comment section below! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead. I’m actually headed out of town with two of my best friends for a little road trip. Sedona, here we come! I’m looking forward to escaping work for a few days. Have a lovely day, my friends!
PeggiNovember 5, 2020 at 4:56 am
Styling. Not my best thing. I’m much better at its messy cousin…piling. Part of the problem is likely that I don’t own many of these items, other than art. I fear if I started collecting all the beautiful brass, marble and wood, I would get into trouble! I must say, that fluted marble bowl from cb2 just about made me faint. House cleaning is on my agenda today. Armed with these helpful tips, maybe I will try and whip up a couple of pretty vignettes. (Expectations low, Sarah.)
SEDONA?! I looooove Sedona, although I haven’t been in eons. It is so magical, and has some of the most incredible spas! Ugh. I am so excited for you!! I hope you’ll share some stories or a recap when you return. I’m dying to know where you’re staying, hiking and eating. (Can you tell I need a vacation?🤣) Have the most amazing time!!🌵☀️
SarahNovember 8, 2020 at 7:26 pm
Haha! Piling… I’m pretty good at that, too ;) I hope you’re enjoying your clean house right about now, and had a lovely weekend. I’m just getting home from Sedona and it was MAGICAL! We didn’t visit any spas (still social distancing), but we did a ton of hiking, meditating, visited the vortices, checked out the Frank Lloyd Wright chapel, and all sorts of cool things. It was a wonderful girls weekend celebrating and enjoying each other’s company. I totally checked out and unplugged (it was nice to leave my phone behind), but I’ll try to work on a little blog post recap or share a few images. Goodnight! xox
MelissaNovember 5, 2020 at 7:36 am
Great tips Sarah. One of my favorite things to do is put on some music and start rearranging. It’s a good way to get a refresh without spending and my version of nesting. Only trouble is it’s hard to do when you are NEVER home alone. Argh, COVID. A girls trip to Sedona sounds magical. Im sure you’re ready to completely disconnect but I’m with Peggi, a trip recap would be a treat. Enjoy your weekend and safe travels!
SarahNovember 8, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Same, Melissa! I love that :) Covid is really cramping everyone’s style this year. I’m sorry! I feel that, too. Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy decorating and styling for the holidays soon. Sedona was so wonderful! I’ll try to work on a blog recap. It was really nice to unplug, enjoy friend time, and get out in nature in a beautiful place. Thanks for your kind words! xox
LaurenNovember 5, 2020 at 7:43 am
Oh this post is everything I needed to hear! I have so much trouble styling! Like Peggi, I think it’s because I don’t already own many of the items you suggest here. Shopping for pieces like these I find to be a bit overwhelming. Having these tips will definitely streamline the process for me! I’m already thinking of specific areas where one or more of these items can be used. My plan for our house is to go room by room updating and renovating as needed, and adding these personal touches as I go. It definitely will help my mind to focus on specific vignettes as I go-but I’m not putting any expectations on this front lol. Have the beat time in Sedona!! I’ve never been but it’s on my list of places to visit. I hope you share all the things in stories, but completely understand the need to break away and unwind. Enjoy yourself and have a lovely time with your friends!
SarahNovember 8, 2020 at 7:19 pm
I love hearing that, Lauren! I think that’s an awesome plan. I’m just getting back home, but it was so nice to unplug and just enjoy the weekend in real time :) You’ll definitely have to plan a trip to Sedona- you’d love it. I’ll try to work on a recap blog post and share some of my photos. It was incredible! Hope your weekend was awesome, too! xo
Danna FNovember 5, 2020 at 9:51 am
Kudos to Emmett for noticing a change in decor! When our hubbies complement or notice our efforts it makes what we have done more meaningful….or they are noticing we spent more money. LOL!
One of my favorite pieces of yours is the wooden hand. I think it is so unique and a conversational piece. No better item to put keys when you come into the door.
I love trays and get excited when I find a new one. Vases or bowls too. I am collecting more art which is fun. This holiday I have a few new decor books on my list (thank you Sarah). I cannot wait to snuggle on the couch and devour them.
Sedona is beautiful! Have a wonderful trip with your friends.
SarahNovember 8, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Haha!! You’re speaking the truth, Danna. Lol! I do love our vintage hand. Everyone asks about it :) I love your planning of cuddling up with good books this winter and holiday season. I’m just getting home from my trip and we had the most wonderful weekend. Thank you!! I hope your weekend was lovely as well. xo