Art-Part 2

So now that you’ve gone out and found art that you really love and you want to hang it, where to begin?  There are so many things to consider but most importantly, what kind of look do you want to achieve?  Is your home traditional and formal with traditional moldings and architecture?  If so, do you want to play into this or against it?  Do you have a mid-century ranch with clean lines?  An old farmhouse?  What kind of art do you have?  Is it contemporary?  Traditional?  Are all the pieces similar or unrelated?

So many things to think about!  The good news is most of the rules can be broken and really anything goes today.  Eclectic, collected style has become very popular and works in just about any environment.

The above example is my own interpretation of a salon wall or gallery style art wall.  A gallery wall can have any and all styles of art with any sort of frame–some pieces can even have no frames.  They are just grouped together to completely fill a space and become a large piece of art all together.  I chose to do a salon wall in our TV room to diminish the importance of our large TV on that wall and also because we had a large collection of framed pieces–from wedding photos to black and white photography, to pastels by my MIL to posters from music shows.  Here are some other examples:

(images: apartmenttherapy.com)

My own tendency when hanging art or really arranging anything is to go for symmetry.  Symmetry is comforting and traditional and often more formal.  I have to curb this instinct a lot to make sure things stay more interesting and don’t get too formal.  These two bird prints from Etsy in my piano room reflect this. 

More important than symmetry however, is balance.  This example from our master bath is asymmetrical but balanced so it still works. 

Another thing to consider is scale.  If you have a large sofa or mantel you probably wouldn’t choose to hang a very small print above it.  Sometimes designers do play with scale but it has to be intentional.

Another way to hang art is in groupings.  These can be grouped together by color, subject matter, or even similarity of frames. 

 (image source: http://www.fortheloveofblogtherapy.com)
(image source: apartmenttherapy.com)

The easiest way to create a grouping is to pick the largest item of the group and then arrange the other items around it.  It’s best to lay the items out on the floor to decide the arrangement before putting them on the wall. You can also include items other than prints, like plates and wall sculptures.

(Image source: http://www.lisaroy.ca/2011/09/art-grouping-reveal.html)

Another way to do a grouping is a grid.  This is more formal and the individual items become more of a single unit.  It’s best to make sure items in a grid are hung very close together.  Here is the grid I did for a client from an earlier post:

Some other hints and “rules”: 
-Standard height for hanging art is centering it 57 inches from the floor.  This is considered the average sight-line.
-When hanging prints with a lot of bold color, go for a neutral wall color. 
-To quickly and easily unify a group of pictures, paint all the frames the same color. 
-To add a casual informal element to a room, don’t hang pictures but lean them against a wall.

I hope some of these tips help you create walls of art that you love in your home. Thanks for stopping by!

2 comments

  1. Hi Lane, what do you recommend about the framing itself? It is so expensive to professionally frame art. Aside from standard size store bought frames, what are the options?

  2. Great question MMM and one I have struggled with myself. If it is a piece of art you really love, I recommend shelling out the dough for a professional framing job. Not only will it look good, but it will preserve the art itself. I often wait for deals at some of the custom framing chains like Aaron Brothers or even Michael's.

    When that is not an option, you can often find vintage or antique frames at flea markets or salvage yards–even with the glass in tact. These come in all kinds of sizes too. Refresh them with a coat of paint and then it is only a matter of matting the piece and having it set by a framer.

    If you are at all handy with a mitering saw, rustic frames can be made pretty easily with old reclaimed wood from your local salvage yard. You could even pay a handyman to make several in one afternoon and it would be much cheaper than custom framing.

    If you have a print that needs to be made more substantial, but not necessarily framed, try decoupaging it to an inexpensive art canvas from your local art supply store.

    Other than that, I often go with the standard size store bought frames and then have mats custom cut to fit the print and frame.

    Hope these suggestions help! If anyone has pictures of their own display walls or other ideas for framing, please share–I would love to hear more suggestions. Thanks!

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