It’s easy to think that creating an art-filled interior is just about filling empty walls or disguising faded paint, but it’s much more than that. Picking out artwork that speaks to you also tells others something about who you are. For some of us, the idea of building a feature wall laden with well-chosen pieces can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve put together some handy tips to help you decorate your interior space in the most beautiful and inspired way.
Know what you like
- Paintings (seascapes, landscapes, figurative, abstract, botanical)
- Sculpture/Accents (physical objects that resemble or do not resemble a real object)
- Posters/Prints (copies of works of art)
- Photography (your own or images taken by someone else)
Explore art websites, galleries, exhibitions and magazines that display a variety of styles. Local artists might appeal to you, so visit an exhibition. Or you may have seen a piece of classical art in a local restaurant or shop, call in and find out the name of the piece. It’s a starting point and might trigger an interest in a certain theme or artist.
Feel liberated and experiment with eclectic styles. A botanical print will sit comfortably next to a landscape and an abstract happily alongside a piece of pop art.
For those who feel slightly less comfortable taking the mix-and-match approach, select one style or theme: landscapes or portraits, perhaps photographs of family, holidays or special events. Once you have decided on what’s going in the frames, you are ready to start thinking about the display.
Before you start bringing art home, consider your current décor and answer the following questions:
- Do I want my artwork to blend or contrast with my colour scheme?
- Am I going to choose art with similar colours and tones in each piece?
- Am I looking for art that I can hang from the wall, or sculpted pieces to sit on tables or shelves?
- Is each room going to take on a separate theme? If so, which theme will suit each room best?
Know where you want it
Hallways, staircases and living rooms are tried-and-tested interior spaces that showcase art well. Bathrooms, studies and bedrooms are also rooms where artwork can be celebrated and enjoyed. Family photographs might naturally suit a hallway, while glass or ceramic pieces are preferable in a bathroom area.
Contemplate how you want your art to be displayed. Mixed sized frames in clusters or groups, known as gallery walls, are very contemporary.
A large single piece over a fireplace or above a bed is an ever-popular option. Gallery hanging rails are increasingly popular in homes and can display artwork beautifully. Even numbers of frames hung in rows will look effective and showcase your artwork successfully. The combinations are endless.
Don’t reach for the hammer and nails just yet. Lay out your collection on the floor below the wall that the pieces are intended for. This gives you the opportunity to re-arrange and re-arrange until you are satisfied that you have it just the way you want it. Don’t forget to take a quick snap of each arrangement.
Make sure you leave some space between the frames too. Once you’re ready to hang the art, take the time to measure before you hammer. You can make templates of the frames and put them up before you put holes in the wall. Or use a ruler and a pencil to draw out the edges of the frames in order to work out where the central nail needs to go.
Alternatively, try out a rail hanging system. These systems allow you to hang your pieces quickly and easily without a hammer or nails. They also make swapping and moving the frames around a quicker and easier process.
If you are hanging single pieces, consider the size of the frame against the proportions of the wall. If you are decorating smaller spaces, be mindful of the dimensions of the artwork. You don’t want to swamp the area any more than you want a cluster of minuscule frames creating a lack-lustre gallery wall.
Whether you have one or two pieces of carefully selected art on your wall, or you can barely place a pin between the frames, you can now admire. If you love what you see, it works. As the well-known phrase reminds us, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
A home bathed in art that hangs on walls or decoratively sits on shelves is only going to bring inspiration and awe to those who gaze upon it. Once your art is up, if you take the time to admire and revel in what you see – its purpose has been served.