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How to Style a Vignette

Using a Skinny Table Runner

Let’s talk vignettes, or small displays, specifically how to style  a vignette. Bonus: this is one stop on a 4-blogger Blog Hop.

Hello and welcome to this Washed Linen Skinny Table Runner Blog Hop, Verse 2, that I’m hosting! And this second verse is NOT the same as the first. I think of this as the dessert of the Hops. It’s the final of three and these gals are the absolute sweetest!!! If you’re visiting from Katrina at PNW Farmhouse Designs Co., or if you just happened to stop by, I’m so glad you’re here!

I’m Diane and I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration at this stop of the hop.

A Little Backstory:

I launched my new Washed Linen Table Runners with a series of three hops featuring friends that I made at the inaugural Social Gathering Retreat. You see, the gals there were so excited about the washed linen, it’s “Aged Edging” and the idea of a skinny table runner that we decided it would be fun to see how everyone would style it.

See How Three More Amazing Creatives (and me, again) Style the Exact Same Runner


I’ll get this Blog Hop hopping by using my Washed Linen Skinny Table Runner in a Halloween vignette.

These skinny table runners are not so much about protecting a table as they are about styling a table. They bring an earthy warmth wherever they go. And earthy warmth is just what my marble top chest needed for the Halloween spooks.

How to Style a Halloween Vignette:

I know! This “Book of Poetry” is ridiculous!

But its true identity – a 1953 Encyclopedia of the English Language is awessome. I bought it super cheap at a University surplus auction. Obviously it had become a stage prop for the Theater Department. But now it’s a prop for me, lifting a small lamp and whatever seasonal trinkets I have set about.


Can you see that it had also been the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare”?  I keep thinking I’ll get to painting that cover again, but it looks great if I just use it upside down. And don’t you love the indents with leather tabs for each letter? And that swirling colorful page edging that’s almost faded away?

This is such a fun thing to do with a dictionary or an encyclopedia. Find a word that is appropriate for the occasion and highlight it. You can draw a red circle or even a heart around it. But in this case, playing off the spooky atmosphere I’m creating, I dug out my old typewriter style rubber stamps and a distressed ink pad and stamped the word macabre to bring attention to it, but with a bit of creepiness.


black leaf and grapevine wreath and giant encyclopedia open to the word macabre

To add height to my display, I hung a black grapevine wreath covered in black velvet leaves. Be careful not to hang it too high as you want it to be part of your vignette. They need to be visually connected. And I added a tall vintage lamp behind the encyclopedia to focus light and attention onto the “Macabre”.

Broken vintage plaster ornament

Next a tall, structure piece in the back — I added a broken vintage plaster salvaged remnant, to bring in a bit of creepy garden feel, almost graveyard feel.

Ideally this tall anchor will reach or overlap your wreath. A good vignette is all about layering.

Three hardback books stacked next to architectural salvage

My vision all along was a focus on books, old library feel. For the right side to balance the left, I added a set of three hardback books.

You can see where I am pulling together a triangular display. This is a favorite design world technique to keep the eye moving and make for an interesting display.


A set of three faux book dust covers with Halloween themed titles and authors.

The three books are okay as they are, but let’s give them a true Halloween theme and make them really great.

Add in a set of three dust jackets featuring faux Halloween titles and authors. These can be ordered here. And BONUS: they take no storage space!

Three hard back books with Halloween dust covers

See how great the books look now!

Linen Skinny Table Runner on Marble Top Chest for earthy warmth and texture

Now this is where the Skinny Table Runner comes in. She adds much needed warmth and texture to the marble top chest. 

Anchored one end under the top corner of the encyclopedia, then loosely draped it around the “macabre” stamp again and brought it down to point to the book covers.

Use a malleable textile like this to lead the eye — it’s a subtle trick. And it’s effective!

Slip knot in the end of the table runner and spanish moss added to the marble top

A slip knot in the end of the runner adds more depth and interest and several handfuls of dried Spanish Moss in back, fills the void between the architectural piece and the encyclopedia. And more texture!

Add some neutral fowers picks in the folds of the linen

Time to add a spooky, but fun “creature”. I continued the architectural salvage theme by adding a gargoyle perched on the books.

add some neutral flowers

I typically work a bit of “greenery” in a larger vignette like this. No exception here. I use a few picks of neutral filler in the folds of the Skinny Table Runner as it falls off the encyclopedia. 

These stems also serve to keep the skull from sliding off since the encyclopedia is on a slanted, swivel book shelf.


Skull and skinny table runner on encyclopedia display
Halloween Book Covers with gargoyle

Creating a vignette is easy with a few style tips:

  • 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


Halloween Vignette with Style Triangle



So let’s “grade” my vignette:

  • Vary your textures — From smooth pages, book covers and marble top to rough linen runner, Spanish moss to the highly textured gargoyle and architectural piece
  • Vary finishes including matte and glossy — mostly matte, but smooth gloss of book covers and skull
  • Mix linear and curved — Linear books and pages with round wreath, curve os runner and curve of skull
  • Use common color theme — all neutral with the use of black to draw the eye to each corner of the triangle: wreath, eyes in skull, gargoyle
  • Add textile — Washed Linen Skinny Table Runner
  • Incorporate negative space — intentionally left the wreath with an open center, plenty of open space around book covers
  • Layers – build up AND out — Building up with wreath and architectural piece adding height and gargoyle on books. Building out with table runner on encyclopedia and skull and floral stems on runner.
  • A Triangular Shape is Particularly Effective — yep, I’ve got that one. 


You don’t need to incorporate all of these. This is a large vignette so I was able to. 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 skinny table runners are really more skinny style runners. Skinny but mighty. Click here for more details and place an order to join the stylin’ fun.

And now that you’ve seen how I used this Skinny Styling Runner for a Halloween vignette, let’s hop over to Darla at Vintage Rose Marie to see how she’s using them. Be sure to visit each these ladies and if you’re inspired, follow their blogs or their socials.


  1. Carol Karl

    Love it. Thanks for all the tips. I struggle with this kind of stuff.

  2. Barbara at Mantel and Table

    Diane, what a beautiful and FUN vignette! Your gorgeous skinny linen table runner is the perfect thing to connect all the pieces, and I learned a ton about vignette structure! I want to run right home and try a new one! 🙂

    Thanks so much for hosting this wonderful blog hop – I’m honored to be included! Happy long weekend!

    • Diane

      Thanks so much Barbara! You know tables, I know vignettes. We’re a great pair to help each other. Hope you enjoy your long weekend too.

  3. Jeanne

    Wow! Fabulous! Love is all.

  4. Sharon

    Such cute ideas for Halloween. I’m in anytime books are available to use to decorate. So cute!!

  5. Danielle

    This is so spooky, but very creative!

    • Diane

      Thanks Danielle! I’m not really into orange plastic pumpkins and the such. With limited storage space I keep a few key ture Halloween items and the rest i pull together from my year round decor stash.

  6. Jennifer

    Love all your tips on creating this vignette. It’s perfect for fall.

    • Diane

      Thanks Jennifer! And the vignette tips are solid year round.

    • Diane

      Thanks Paula! It was a fun one to put together.

  7. stacy

    I love the skinny runner! It looks amazing!

  8. Linda

    I especially liked your tips! The bookish vignette was pretty

  9. Juliet

    Styling vignettes is one of my favorite things to do, but I”m not very good at it. These tips are invaluable … and the triangle! Who knew! Off I go to upgrade my vignettes! xo

    • Diane

      Thanks! Hope these tips help Juliet!

  10. Linda

    So many great tips and love how it turned out

  11. Allison O'Dell

    What a fun vignette! I appreciate the relationship of the display, which was a great concept to point out. Nice job!!

    • Diane

      Thanks Allison! It is really fun to put vignettes together. But even better when they are successful. Right?

  12. Donna

    What a fabulous vignette with just the right amount of spookiness! Thanks for the informative tips!

    • Diane

      Thanks Donna! I appreciate that.



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