Holidays are an especially wonderful time to create a vintage display in your home. An artfully arranged collection of themed items can make the plainest corner come alive with a spirit of nostalgia, whimsy, and humor. And part of the fun is that the vignette is temporary—you gather your supplies, spend an hour (or three!) bringing your vision to life, and then quickly pack it away when the day or season passes.
VINTAGE INSPIRED DISPLAYS ELEVATE THE PRESENTATION
The two Halloween vignettes I’m sharing combine things you might already own—such as a pedestal cake plate, low wooden bowl, etc.—with a few vintage elements you might find at a Denver antique mall or local thrift shop. The first is a larger, more intricate display, spanning the top of an antique wooden buffet. When using a large piece of furniture, it helps to vary the height of your objects to create visual interest. You can use a few old books, a wooden box, and tall candle holders as elevation “tools.”
The vintage tin with a ceramic hand, black cat figurine, and doll’s head come from my personal collection of spooky oddities, gathered over time. It’s always smart to begin searching for unusual pieces several months before you need them since the curating process always takes far more time than anticipated. And don’t forget to add a few natural elements to your design, such as the pumpkins and fruit I grabbed at the grocery store, and the small branches scattered around my backyard. These small touches really ground your vignette in a particular season and time of year.
The second vignette is the direct result of a lucky find I happened upon as I glanced down at the floor of the crowded furniture area in my local thrift store. The vintage cement glove mold hands seemed to reach up to me for a big Halloween hug! I love it when a single object inspires a display because it makes the process so much easier. Rather than rearranging your materials a hundred times to discover the focal point, you only need to add a few “appetizers” to your “main dish.”
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE TO CHECK FOR DEAD SPACE
As you can see, I reused the pumpkins from the first vignette and swapped the large buffet for a small desk tossed with a faux fur for texture. On the base of the glove mold, I placed a decanter of wine, two vintage goblets, and then strung some spider web gauze between the hands. When I think I’m finished, I always walk around the vignette and look at it from different angles. The change in perspective helps me decide if the design is cohesive, tells a story, and creates the desired effect. Be open change: remove a few objects if it seems a bit messy or add something new if you notice a dead space. In this case, I felt I needed the cow skull and container of dried cotton blossoms to further the spooky mood.
If you’re an old hand at designing holiday vignettes, you already know some short-cuts that make the process easier. If you’re just starting out, please know it’s more about trial and error than a special skill handed out at birth. Be willing to play. Trust your eyes. And it always helps to have more materials on hand than you think you’ll use. Put on some great music and free yourself from any limiting expectations. Don’t forget to take a few photos to keep for reference. You’ll love looking at them next year, to help inspire a fresh new vision.
Looking to add some vintage style to your next party or event in the Denver area?