Wide closeup of bottom part of a large decorative birdcage decorated in neutrals and soft greens with bunnies, plants and eggs

How to Turn a Decorative Bird Cage into a Charming Vignette

Love large decorative bird cages? But what to do with them? Here’s a great way to use one to stage a charming seasonal vignette.

I love a good vignette! It welcomes the season, or a special event — or maybe special guests. Best of all, a seasonal vignette has a set “shelf life”, so you don’t have to live with it for an extended time.

This appeals to my fickle side, but also my creative side!

The short commitment lets us experiment more. We can take risks.

A longterm and large scale decorating commitment requires us to be a lot pickier, more diligent and discriminating, Possibly more conservative.

But a seasonal vignette is a fun and fanciful playground.

So if you get your hands on a large decorative bird cage, a seasonal display is a great use.

Large Decorative Bird Cage as a Buffet Vignette-

view lookiong down into the decorated birdcage focusing on a large paper mache bunny on a cake plate and soft green plants aruond

Since I know the placement is temporary, it’s easy for me to employ this gorgeous birdcage as the star of my Easter buffet table.

Let’s face it, it’s much too big to use as a centerpiece. Unless I really don’t want to converse with my guests, but we make it a habit to invite dinner guests we enjoy!

But a large decorative bird cage is perfect for a buffet table — talk about impact!

How to Build a Great Vignette-

It’s very easy, if you follow some basic guidelines!

Image of a large decorative birdcage on linen table runners. The lid is propped open with plants, large bunnies, eggs inside and a cupcake plate, tureen and soup mug all coordinating to fill the rest of the buffet table

South House Designs Style Principles For Great Vignette Building-

  • Vary your textures
  • Vary finishes including matte and glossy
  • Mix linear and curved
  • Use common color theme 
  • Add textile
  • Incorporate negative space
  • Layers- Build up AND build out 
  • A triangular shape is particularly effective

Keep these in mind when you are styling vignettes in your home whether it’s a coffee table, a book shelf or a tabletop.

These Design Style Principles are too good to lose track of, so be sure to save them to your:

Design Board, or to your

Vignette Board, or to your

Decor Board, or to your

Seasonal Display Board

Just be sure to save this where you’ll find it when needed.

Pin showing the completed birdcage vignette under a title that reads How-To: Decorative Birdcage to Buffet Vignette "How-To"

You don’t need to incorporate all of these. Let’s see how many I used in my decorative birdcage display.

Let’s Build An Easter Buffet Table Vignette-

Add Textile-

Closeup of a birdcage propped open  with two washed linen table runners, one underneath and the other draped over the side
Birdcage shown with the lid propped open and three arrows pointing out the clear plastic medicine cup sitting. on. the side rail with the top propped on top

I started with textiles! My very favorite painter’s drop cloth (has no seams! and look at that gorgeous texture when it’s been washed!) is the base here. It’s often my base!

I then added this washed linen runner for even more texture and a bit of variety in neutral tones.

TIP: I rarely use a runner stretched out flat. I just prefer the casual attitude and layering of a bunched runner.

I did not want the bird cage to be closed, but rather open and freeing. How? I used a clear plastic medicine dosage cup on the side and lower the lid. It is surprisingly stable. But even clear plastic showed, so I just hid it under another of my linen table runners. This movement from inside the cage to outside is great for visual flow also — gives the eye a trail to follow.

Plus the second runner in the bottom eliminated the distraction of the busy-ness of the birdcage bottom.

Varying Heights & Textures-

Closeup of birdcage with one bunny added in it. and three dishes in front. too use to elevate additional elements

I raided my pantry for risers to use. This also provided variety in textures — these brought the only smooth glossy surfaces that I needed.

Books, squatty candleholders, trays, interesting boxes, wood slices are all great options.

Mix Linear and Curved-

closeup of birdcage partially filled with elements. and two eggs are on the table  in front

The birdcage itself has such strong linear lines, that I tried to use only curves throughout the rest of the display. The little cupcake stand has a square top. Look closely and you’ll see how easily you can soften the lines–the sharp edges of the cupcake stand are disguised with a bit of greenery on top.

Plus, the front right corner of the bird cage is softened by the soft, fuzzy sage green leaves of the lambs ear are arranged to overflow the birdcage “ribs”.

Use a Common Color Theme-

Closeup of the final birdcage display

Maintain a common color theme throughout your display! A color theme can be narrow or wide, you choose. If you want to use a wider range of colors, try sticking with a common saturation level, such as all pastels, or all deep jewel tones, or all faded colors.

Then pick one main color in the theme to be your focus or accent color and make sure it is repeated throughout to keep the eye moving based on this one color.

Here, I stayed very narrow. I chose to confine my theme to warm neutrals and soft green.

The soft green is my accent. See how I used is in opposite corners with the plants and then with the top bunny’s bow. It’s the repeat of the soft green that keeps the eye moving and keeps the display from being a bit too one-note. It also acts as a resting spot for the eye, a break from all the neutral.

Incorporate Negative Space-

Image of a large decorative birdcage on linen table runners. The lid is propped open with plants, large bunnies, eggs inside and a cupcake plate, tureen and soup mug all coordinating to fill the rest of the buffet table

Negative space is important — again, resting space for the eyes.

Working within the confines of something like this large decorative bird cage, makes it a bit challenging. Here I gained some negative space vertically by propping the lid open.

Another trick is by visually expanding the display horizontally. Here, I did this with the table runners that stretch it out.

super closeup of a carved wood bunny with a bow around his neck on dried moss on a white cupcake stand with the decorative birdcage behind
a white soup mug is on a bunny salad plate and filled with dried moss with paper mache eggs and moss eggs. The handle is accented with a paper mache carrot tied on it.
closeup of a paper mache carrot tied to the handle of the lid of a sauce boat with a soup mug decorated with eggs and moss in the backgroound

Then I also, put together three additional bonus mini displays that coordinate with the main birdcage display. These three little extensions of the vignette will be interspersed amongst the all white serving dishes of my buffet.

Let’s Grade This Display Against the Style Guidelines-

Eight for eight!

See how easy that is? Not quite? Okay, then here’s a quick time lapse video to help.

A stop action gif showing creating the decorative birdcage Spring Buffet vignettte

Gather a variety of props.

HINT: I always start with more than I think I’ll need.

Then start arranging them with the above Style Guidelines in place. You don’t have to use everything — rather, use an editing eye to weed out when it gets too busy. Negative space is important and a repetition of your accent color to establish a visual path to lead the eye through your display.

Here’s another example of applying these guidelines to a seasonal vignette. This time it’s a Halloween display on a marble top chest in our living room.

Send me pics of your display. I’d love to see them. And of course I’m here for any qustions!

hand written signature that reads: Here's to Joy-filled Living, Diane

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