Nothing makes a home look more finished and styled then art on the walls. Usually the art gets hung after the furniture is arranged and accessories such as lamps and small tables are placed. And no matter how gorgeous the furniture, it’s the art that brings it all together.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you may remember that Debbie and I met over art. I wrote about it in the blog, The Story of Us. We both know that not only does art on the walls make a room, but it can be hung in such a way that it makes a space feel larger, cozier, or more sophisticated. Also, it can hide a multitude of sins and make a room feel perfectly balanced. It can also bring harmony, create a focal point and help with scale in the room.
Art really is the magic cure for a room.
If you search up how to hang art, there are so many rules that pop up. The only thing I would recommend is to make sure that art is not hung too high. As for the other rules, I think they’re made for breaking!! So be bold and start planning. If you’re paranoid about changing your mind and having holes in the wall, pick up some 3M picture hangers.
Okay now it’s time to start hanging that art. A Large Piece of Art will become the focal point of a room. It often looks best on the largest wall.
In the room above, we kept the palette very neutral. The wall of windows (partially shown) was an amazing focal point, courtesy of mother nature. This original piece of art we sourced for the client, is intense enough to compete with the view outdoors.
The large sectional above needed a strong piece to hang above it. The homeowners have a very large family and the room is cozy with furniture. We deliberately chose a piece that was busy, but a bit of a smaller scale.
Sometimes the largest art you have or the one you love the most isn’t quite large enough to hold the entire wall. That’s where grouping works well. The art above is stunning and obviously the star of the room. To complement this piece, we paired quieter and cleaner art with it.
Not all art has to be hung. Sometimes it creates an interesting vignette to layer art and lean a piece against the wall. We like to lean a few pieces in bookshelves or even on a kitchen shelf.
The artwork below was hung slightly off centre to provide a sense of balance when placed with the lamp. Don’t be afraid of hanging art on wallpaper or panelling.
As in the photo above, the art does not have to sit perfectly within the grid pattern on the wall. The stump, plant and pharmacy lamp balance the grid pattern so that it all works in harmony.
Sometimes it’s nice to offset traditional items with a bit of whimsy. Having heirloom pieces gives a room a sense of history, but be careful to make sure it doesn’t look like great-grandma’s home.
Hanging traditional art in off-beat ways will breathe new life into a space and the artwork itself. I once had a wonderful client who inherited all her mother’s needlepoint. She wanted to display it, but her daughter said it would make the space look old fashioned. We did hang it, combining it with photographs from a trip to Atlantic Canada and a few modern pieces. It really looked smashing and the daughter couldn’t believe how funky her mother’s place looked.
Don’t be afraid to take family pieces because they might be out of style. Using them in a gallery configuration can make any piece look great.
I am a big believer that the majority of art in a home should be original and unique. There’s no need to run to the nearest big-box store and stock up on their prints. Visit consignment shops, antique markets and art galleries to procure original pieces.
And get creative. Shadow boxes are a great way to frame items that have special memories. Even leaves,rocks and birch bark look awesome in a frame. I have a friend who framed her grandmother’s cookie recipe and it hangs in a place of honour in the kitchen, grease stains and all.
Photographs make wonderful art. Consider creative ways to hang them on the wall. Black and white photos look particularly good in a grid pattern, but nobody said it had to be a traditional grid.
Craving a new look in your home this winter? Take everything off the walls and rethink your art. Change it up and regroup the pieces. It’s an easy way to get a new look in your home.
We’ve got a few new projects to share with you. Check back next week and see what we’ve been working on.
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Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It's not about how much you have, it's about using what you have to create beauty.