Art is, and probably will forever be, an integral part of decorating and making a home. Learn some interior designers’ tricks for creating stunning art displays throughout your home.
We finally have found that perfect piece of art and we want to display it on our walls so the whole world too could appreciate its beauty and applaud our excellent taste. We should take a moment to think because the method we choose to display our collection can often make just as much of a statement as the artwork itself. Need some inspiration? You’re lucky because we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you achieve art arrangement zen. You’re free to accept or reject experts’ ideas presented in this article, but it never hurts to consider them.
Nude painting or fruit still life? What can we hang on our wall not to make any faux pas?
Before we go any further and explain how we should display our art, we should be aware of what we can display. Each artwork conveys its own message, idea, and mood through texture, color, and lines, adding to the ambiance and vivacity of our interiors, so that’s why it’s so important what painting we choose and where we put it. Some strong social conventions do exist. Following are a few no-nos:
- Nude paintings are inappropriate in living rooms or dinings rooms; such art should be reserved for bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Traditionally, fruit or vegetable still lifes are perfect for kitchens and dining rooms not living rooms or bedrooms.
- Don’t hang religious pictures in the bathroom or kitchen, place it somewhere in your bedroom.
- Don’t hang large still life fruits or vegetables near small landscape paintings. The disparate scales of such two paintings make both of them look ridiculous.
- Try to avoid blood-and-guts war scenes in your dining room.
The safest choice is landscape and flowers – they are welcome just about anywhere.
And now we can go back to our main topic and present some ideas and techniques that we can use in decor to support our art and make it look stunning.
1. Proper location
The first and probably the most important step on the road to display our newly purchased masterpiece is to decide where to hang it. The crucial thing to consider here is how we use our space. We should think carefully about what we require from the space, how we use each room, and how we would like to feel when we are in there.
We should also take into consideration such matters as the overall size of the room, the size of the wall, how it is lit in the daytime as well as in the evening and the existing decor in the room. As it was already mentioned, what we might choose for our private space might not be appropriate in the living room or kitchen.
2. To frame or not to frame?
Once we know where we are going to place our piece of art, we can think about framing it, or changing the frame. Of course, we can also leave it unframed – it’s a matter of personal taste. Let’s explore a bit this question, pointing out some main advantages and disadvantages of framing our artwork.
Advantages of framing a painting:
- When a painting is framed correctly, the artwork is enhanced.
- For more fragile artwork, such as prints or drawings on paper, framing is a good way of protecting and preserving our collection for years to come. What’s more, framed painting is less prone to falling.
- The frame is a design element itself that affects the overall presentation of our masterpiece and put a higher value on the artwork.
Disadvantages of framing a painting:
- If the frame is not chosen properly, it may distract from the painting.
- It’s not so easy to find a good frame that actually enhances an artwork.
- Framing can be quite an expensive thing.
Whatever we choose to do, we should remember that the focal point is the art, not the frame. We don’t want the frame to outshine our art so that viewers admire the frame more than the actual artwork. A general rule is that the wider the frame is, the less focus our piece of art will have. So when we are searching for a proper frame, we should choose the thinner one that doesn’t take away much from the composition.
3. What height is right?
We have chosen the wall space and beautifully framed artwork, all that is left now is to get it hanging just right. We may not consider the height of our artwork to be important, but according to the professionalists – it really is. The general rule is that the painting is usually hung in such way that the center of the piece is at average eye level. Of course, one person’s eye level is different than others because we come in all different shapes, sizes and heights. However, if we consider an average eye level height, that’s a good starting point. Art is to be seen well to be appreciated after all. If we want to hang our painting above furniture, then the ideal height is considered to be when there is twice as much space above the artwork than below.
But as always, all the rules go straight out the window in certain circumstances. For example, if we have a bit higher piece of furniture in our room and we want to hang some artwork above it, it’s probably going to be above eye level height, because there should be always left a gap between the bottom of the painting and the top of furniture.
4. Size matters
If we want to stick to a classic professional interior designed look, we should hang small pieces of art on small walls and larger ones should be reserved for the large walls. However if we are up for a challenge, we can completely ignore this rule and hang for example a large piece of art on the majority of a wall as a real ‘stand-out’ feature.
5. Wall art groupings
Now we are coming to a bit technical yet creating side of hanging art. So far we have been focused mainly on hanging a single piece of art, but quite an interesting idea may be grouping some bigger quantity of artworks. Here are a few options:
- Perfectly squared. This is the most classic option when we choose usually 4 or 6 identically-sized paintings. It’s suggested to leave a 2-inch gap between each piece. It’s good to set the art up on the wall in two rows: two above and two below (in the case of 4 pieces) or three above and three below (in the case of 6 pieces).
- Mismatched. It may look quite interesting to have some different sized pieces of art grouped together on our wall. Again, we should stick to the 2-inch gap rule between pieces. They will look kind of like puzzle pieces.
- Series. This works very well with canvases. We can, for example, have a series of three canvas paintings that tell some story from one end to the other (similar to a panorama). Again, it’s important to leave a 2-inch gap between the pieces, but if the pieces are much larger, it can also be a slightly bigger gap in between.
What to group? Common colors are important and consistency pulls things together. A nice idea can be grouping the works of the same artist.
6. Shelves – perfect place to display art
Shelves may be a great way to display artwork. We can rest painting on shelves or place there some sculptures. We can use bookshelves and floating wall shelves or choose one kind. As we all know, shelves add some extra dimension to our room and decor and they may look really stunning combined with art. Shelves underline the paintings and give them emphasis, the same as underlining a word in a sentence.
7. Let there be light – lighting our art successfully
We all have seen artwork displayed in a gallery and we have noticed how much lighting impacts the presentation. Lighting painting properly is crucial to experience and understand the complete work of art and all of its illustrious detail.
The general rule for accenting a piece of art is to light it three times brighter than the rest of the room. The artwork shouldn’t be put in direct sunlight because the ultraviolet rays can cause fading. We should try to avoid fluorescent lights because they distort the color of painting. LED lights are the best choice for showcasing valuable art. They do not emit damaging ultraviolet rays or infrared light and they don’t give off heat. The light should be placed at a 30-degree angle to our piece of art to minimize glare. What’s more, it should be placed far enough away from a painting to avoid possible heat damage. Heat can crack oil paintings.
Realize that there are no strict rules when it comes to art. Art is extremely subjective, which is one of the many reasons why it is so wonderful! We have presented you in this article some ideas regarding displaying art in your home, but these are only our suggestions – find your own way to be creative.