Once you've fallen in love with a piece of art, or sometimes even as you're falling in love, you start thinking about where you're going to put it. You daydream a bit about how it's going to transform a particular room or imagine what it will be like to see it in different light throughout the day. Yep. This is the fun part, people, so get your picture hooks out and let's get started!
First, let's just agree that a lot more art should be hung in kitchens. Think about hanging art in rooms other than your living, dining and bedrooms. If you want your kitchen to feel more connected to the rest of your home in terms of reflecting your personality and aesthetic, bring in some art!
Not all art needs to be in a frame. Especially posters, ephemera or photos that you find on your travels.
There are a few universal rules that apply no matter what you're hanging or where. Things like "hang it at eye level," (which is usually much lower than you think), and don't try to match your art to your furniture. Another thing is to be aware of how the art, the physical shape and dimension of the piece, relates to the composition of the rest of the room.
Let's start with the basics. Do you have a large statement piece that would look great on it's own?
I particularly love how this daring deep wall color really makes the painting pop. Don't be afraid of color! It's a myth that a dark color will make a room feel small or gloomy. That's more about the light (both natural and electric), but that's for another post.
Or maybe you have a large-ish piece but you want to do something different with it. This is a great example of putting a statement piece off to the side of the main wall, rather than doing the expected hang-something-over-the-bed look.
Another common way to hang pieces is in a grid. This is a fun take on the classic grid style: The bottoms of the top frames and the tops of the bottom frames are all aligned even though they are all different heights. And if you take a second look, you'll realize that the frames in the top and bottom rows are mirror images of each other.
Finally, there is the "gallery" or "salon style" wall, referring to a collection of multiple pieces of art, all hanging on one wall. In my mind, a gallery wall is usually a collection of pieces that were obviously hung all at once with a particular composition in mind. You can cut up kraft paper to match the sizes of your frames and play around with how you'll hang them before hammering in any nails.
Our favorite salon style walls are added to over time, growing organically as you acquire pieces. These often have a mishmash of frames and styles of art. They put a great big spotlight on your personality as it will reflect so many different facets of what you're drawn to and what speaks to you.
Now about that idea of composing a room...
This is a stunning mix of planned and collected pieces on a dramatic black wall, going all way to the floor. The antique Oriental rug is also unexpected in a powder room, giving the whole composition a very lived-in, artful look.
Don't overlook the spaces that are usually thought of as simply the way to get from one room to the other. Or from one floor to another. Think of these spaces as transitions useful for moving between one mood to another. Below, the frames are pushed together, wrapping around a corner. Pretty awesome, transition, right?
Here's a great example of maximizing what you've got, even if it's a difficult roof line! The large number of pieces work well together because there is a balance between the old style oil paintings of nautical subjects and the more modern pieces where there is a large amount of white mat around simpler images. The art almost acts as a drawn-back curtain around the window.
How about a collection of paintings and photography that share a theme? I love the idea of traditional and modern portraits hung all together instead of spread out around the house. Pure drama. (In a good way). Again, the dark wall really makes the paintings pop.
We think it's really important that the art is hung in such a way that it feels like it's relating to the rest of the room, rather than sticking out on it's own. Don't think you have to center the art in the middle of a wall. I love how it looks like these two portraits are having a conversation with the chairs.
This is one of my favorite compositions. What to do with a big wall and only a handful of small pieces of art? It looks like these pieces are purposefully congregating in the corner, pulling together the lamp, end of the couch and books on the floor. So much better than being shoved off into the center of the room, looking exiled.
And what if you only have one piece of art and a whole wall to fill? If this piece had been hung in the center of the room, it would feel a lot of pressure to puff itself up and try to be bigger than it is. Which of course, inanimate objects can't do. By putting it off to one side, it now makes a huge impact, relating to the table lamp and couch. It now feels like it's part of the conversation and woven into your daily life rather than trying to shout "look at me!".
And finally, if you have SO much artwork and have run out of wall space, the answer might be...LAYER! Overlap the pieces and rotate occasionally. You'll feel like a gallery owner deciding which artist to highlight each time you move them around.
If you are doing some adventurous art hanging, we'd LOVE to see it! Comments and questions always welcome!