September 17, 2008

Displaying Your Loved Objects

I work as a prop stylist which means I have a good excuse for my pack-rat tendencies and all the junk that I collect. Since I don't live in a mansion, I have learned that all this stuff needs to get culled into little displays or I'm going to end up one of those people who gets crushed under their own possessions. No one wants that.

Here are a few table-top displays I have put together recently and some tips for creating your own.

still life in kitchen

This is a display that I had on my kitchen table about a year ago.

I like to start with a tray, a board or a large to doily to set a defined space for the display. Next, I grab all of my elements that I want to use. I set a color story: this one was green, blue and pops of white. I like to set the tallest element out first and arrange the other elements around that. In many of my table-top displays this tall piece ends up toward the back right of the tray. Most of the time, when everything is in the right place, it will all just feel "right".
Oh, and I also like to have some sort of art propped up or pinned behind the display to give it dimension.

autumn display

This is a display I made for fall of last year after I impulse-purchased a bunch of gourds. Note that the vase and tray are the same as the first display. You don't need to reinvent the wheel every time; sometimes you can swap out a few elements and change the whole look of a display. In this case I thought it was cool that the vase had a gourd shape but is man-made (and bright blue!). I added a few doilies in orange and yellow for a "soft" element. This display needed extra drama so I added some branches found in the park and trimmed them with fabric leaves and handmade needle-felted acorns.


This is basically what's on my table right now. Of course, the gourds didn't last, so I swapped those out for a pretty bird, some new vases and a smattering of acorns. I wanted the display to be brighter so I swapped out the tray and added more pops of yellow. The little wood bowl doesn't usually live on the table but it looked really nice in the photo!

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are making displays:

*Set a defined space for you displays or they will start growing out of control!

*Balance "hard" elements (vases) with "soft" elements (linens).

*Set your tallest element off center and towards the back and then place other elements around it.

*Set a defined color story.

*Think of different ways to organize displays: by theme (birds, autumn), by color (red and white, yellow and blue), by shape (round, rectangular) or by material (wood, ceramic).

*"Play" with the display until it looks good to you. Setting a display is very intuitive and you will know when it looks right.



KimmChi said...

I am in love with those vases- gorgeous!

amym said...

Excellent suggestions on creating table-top displays. Great photos; love the color combinations. Serving trays combined with accent vases do make for a wonderful displays in the home. This time of year is a great time to be thinking about the use of gourds, pine cones and other seasonal elements for fall décor, too.

Jenny M said...

My grandma always had a tabletop display on a round lazy-susan in the center of her table. There were all sorts of things and some things acme out every year and others were switched up. It's one of my favorite things about her house and one of the things I often think about when I think of her.

As a kid, I'd play with the items in the display (there might be little pilgrims at Thanksgiving, elves at Christmas, bunnies at Easter, etc.). When I got older, I'd still look at it and sometimes chat with her about where the little odds and ends came from. I don't remember most of the item's history, and I'll never see those items again. They're all gone.

I wish I had pictures.

May Luk said...

Very inspiring! Thanks for the post

evergreenknits said...

I love this idea! It's so simple but beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

little love blue said...

i love this post, beautiful photos