top of page
  • Writer's pictureTina

Cohesive (Art and Vintage)

The word, Cohesive, as defined ...

When the parts of the whole work or fit together well.

We all want our vignettes to be cohesive and work together and bring out the best in what has inspired it to begin with.

I recently began an art journey where I've committed a year of my life to completing an art mastery program through the Milan Art Institute. In this most recent study, we were to do quick studies in gesture drawing and work with charcoal and create from live models, photos, and then statues. I literally fell in LOVE with this style.

The romance and movement, even though it could be more refined, I found that the sketchy, in process, pieces were so moving and attractive to me that I stopped, sealed her and ran out on a mission to discover the perfect frame for her.

And, OH MY!, did I ever swoon over this one when I dug it out of the bottom of the pile at the dusty thrift store. Solid wood with the most stunning classic details, I knew immediately, it was meant to surround, "Bringer", the piece that was drying in the studio just waiting for to be surrounded by this lovely border.

When I got back to the studio, removed the sailboat photo that was in it, removed and cleaned the glass, I thought surely I would need to paint this frame, but a good cleaning with a tooth brush and some rubbing alcohol and a quick satin spray sealer did the trick to reveal the beauty that was hidden by the dirt. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's beautiful to just seal in the dirt, but not this time.

So that brought me to the moment of styling her and the subject of this post.

When styling and creating a vignette, I'm a firm believer that it is done when it is pleasing to you...after all, it's your home and your space to enjoy, but I do have a few little guidelines I like to follow.

As an artist, I tend to approach design from an artist's perspective.

What I mean is....

Art often begins with inspiration. What is the inspiration? In this case, it is this piece of art...."Bringer" This romantic and classic image and the beautifully paired found frame. So, I made the decision that this would be the focal point which is also the STARTING POINT.

Whatever the Inspiration is, OBSERVE + EVALUATE the details of the piece.

1. Color

2. Texture / Weight

3. Unique Details

WHERE will this vignette be Displayed?

1. Choose a background and space that makes your inspiration piece shine.

I have walls painted in Sherwin Williams Alabaster as well as SW Tricorn Black. I love the classic look and versatility of Black and White as a backdrop for home design.

You can see, in the photos below, which background brings out the most beauty in the piece. I chose the black and I have a beautiful Alabaster painted mantel on that wall so no brainer.

Also, this helps if you have a specific space no matter the color of the wall, just choose a piece or frame finish that will sing on that color.


You've observed and evaluated the look and feel of this piece which will help you create a look, now you can shop your home and begin creating your vignette.

In this case, I observed how the warm, golden tones of the frame began to sing so I looked for warmth and I had just acquired these brass round pieces from a friend (Havenberry Vintage) who is one of the most amazing vintage finders and she was kind to offer me pieces she couldn't use (love this community) so I grabbed them.

1.Choose similar tones

2. Look for shapes that are different from the shape of the focal point

3. Choose odd numbers for interest.

I chose three


Create a balance by adding something of similar height to balance the look and begin framing the focal pieces

1. Similar Height

2. Natural element

* The florals have the same warm tones

* The white sticks relate to the paper of the sketch

* The reflection on the glass of the vase and clock pieces creates movement.

3. The Larger version of the clock piece pull the eye up without distracting from the focal point.


In this case, I had these architectural pieces, painted them white, distressed and stained.

1. Contrasts with the wall

2. Relates to the white in the art

3. Brings in height for balance

It is interesting and unique, compliments and doesn't distract from the focal piece.

Ground the design

1. Add visual weight with something chunky and dark.

2. If using a collection of items to fill the space, think of it as a mini vignette within the whole look.

3. choose elements of the focal point.

Here I chose a black, a warm wood piece with similar designs as the frame, and a patina covered brass door knob which has a cool tone.

Trust the process and play

After taking a look and evaluating what's working and what's not, I added a clock face and another dark piece of wood to support the glass vase and ground it a bit.

These pieces all are cohesive with the other elements that we are using in this vignette

All in all,

A vignette is really an art installation and viewed in that way, you can create art within art and make a beautiful statement in your home worthy of a magazine layout.

Artfully Yours,


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page