For many people, myself included, home is the most important physical space in our lives. The home embodies our rhythms, routines, tastes, personalities and relationships. In these unprecedented and challenging times, we all must stay home and flatten the curve, but if you’re anything like me, staying at home is inspiring you to spruce things up a bit, rearrange the furniture, organize the bookshelves or add splashes of design personality here and there.
One of my favorite parts of interior design and one of the most creative, can be done with little effort: hanging artwork.
For everyone stuck indoors and itching to redecorate, here are eleven different ways to get creative with art presentation in your home:
1. The Focal Point
This large sunny, abstract piece draws a lot of attention in an otherwise monochromatic room.
When in doubt go big. Large scale artwork works in almost any room setting. This painting is the focal point of the room no matter where you stand. It also works to connect the room to the hallway. The choice of furniture in this case accentuates the painting, the thin black lines of the table serving as a counterpoint to the large fields of color above. When hanging artwork above furniture, the eye level rule doesn’t always apply. The bottom of the frame should be between four to six inches above the top of the furniture. A general rule of thumb to follow is to make sure the piece is approximately 75% of the width of the furniture.
2. Break Some Rules
These pieces are scattered on the wall asymmetrically. Their harmonious composition goes to show that you don’t have to be obsessed with ratios and margins. Sometimes the opposite ends up looking best. The key to pulling this off is to have strong anchor points that tie all the paintings together. The furniture is an anchor between the paintings on the left and the one on the right. In almost every case, the art and furniture should relate to each other. Try establishing a frame or boundaries to concentrate attention on the scale of the space and always treat a group of pictures as one piece.
3. The Perfect Backdrop
This collection of black and white photography comes together to form a gallery wall that defines the space, makes it feel cozy, unique and elevated. Sometimes when you are working with the constraints of existing architecture you have to use illusionistic devices to transform the space into something personal. These simple black frames have a pleasant geometric effect and the blank spaces within the frame also make a nice pattern. With these crisp black chairs and gold accents the room is supremely stylish, keeping the eye entertained while showing large amounts of photos at once.
4. Framing Doesn’t Stop With The Frame
This large piece of vintage fashion photography adds color and life not only to the bathroom where it hangs, but to the adjoining bedroom too! One way to get really interesting effects in your home is to think about how pictures will look from distant vantage points or other rooms and hallways. When done right this can be enticing and tantalizing. It can elevate that experience of walking into a space like nothing else, especially when the painting is the focal point of its own space. Try framing pieces through doors, at the ends of hallways and even in the entrance of your home.
5. Easy and Gorgeous
Consider using a picture shelf to hang your pieces. This sleek little shelf can hold pieces of all different sizes for an interesting effect and it lets you mix paintings with small decorative objects as well. The best part is that a picture shelf lets you continuously experiment with rearranging your art pieces.
6. Break Even More Rules
Truly, perfect placement is a thing of the past. Some artwork looks good when it is leaned up against the floor, mantels or consoles. The effect is quirky and bohemian like a painter’s studio. Remember that the tilt can affect how the piece appears. If your artwork is a photograph use non-UV for preservation, and go with non-reflective glass to avoid glare
7. The Traditional Approach
If you change your mind, use 57” on center. On center means that the middle of the artwork is always 57”. The 57” represents the average human eye-level and is regularly used as a standard in many galleries and museums.
8. Mix the Old and the New
These bold, fun and colorful circles dominate an otherwise traditional room and give it a playful look. Even though the furniture is more traditional, the artwork remains connected to it through the color motifs. Art is one of the best ways to give a traditional house touches or modernity and the juxtaposition can be exciting, but remember that the furniture and artwork should always be connected somehow.
9. Simple Background
There is a reason why galleries have white walls. Hanging artwork over white backgrounds lets them steal the show. Simple backdrops can work with a number of different styles, genres and eras. Let yourself explore different contrasts. This white bathroom looks surprisingly stylish with a 19th century portrait in it.
10. Does it Match?
On first glance it may seem that none of the artwork in this room matches. The paintings and photographs are not linked by a common theme and they break an important rule: the artwork should be 75% the width of the furniture below it. Looking more closely, this arrangement is surprisingly harmonious. Notice how the asymmetry of the artworks matches the arrangement of the cabinet into rows of twos and threes. The photographs are fun, quirky and personal and they take on a life of their own by reaching outside of the dresser below them.
11. Creating Cohesion in Styled ‘Vignettes’
This table showcases many different objects all related to each other in color and style. Notice that the paintings have similar frames, colors and drawing styles, giving their varied sizes a pleasing appearance. Try experimenting with similar artworks in different sizes and think about combining them with nearby decorative objects.
If you still feel overwhelmed by placing art — you are not alone. There are so many creative solutions and even a small adjustment can make a huge difference in how your room and the art is presented. We are always here to help — please consider a brief virtual consultation with me via Zoom. We can position your art pieces and give you advice on how best to hang the fixtures securely. Click here for details on our virtual services.