Putting Your Art Centre Stage

As an interior designer, I’m often called upon to assist clients with displaying artwork and photographs. My personal preference for less is more in design often comes into play in these situations. It’s just a good idea to display multiples and groups of images on one wall, leaving some walls empty. The temptation to fill every open piece of drywall with framed art is a common mistake of new homeowners and it can make or break the décor of a room. It’s best to have just a few focal points and some negative space.

1. It’s been a trend for a few years to group paintings and prints in one’s living room or dining area on a single art wall. One of the advantages of this grouping is you can use many smaller prints and images together which can still cost far less than purchasing a large enough piece of art to properly command the space. I’ve been collecting mid-career Canadian artists works for a few years now yet my house is quite small with limited wall space. My solution was to group eight of my favorite representational artworks above my sofa. Contrary to misconceptions, your grouping does not need to follow any particular geometric rules. The best way to decide if you will like your grouping is to lay out all of your images on the floor first and experiment with positions. Personally, I chose to place my largest piece (Deerfly by Margaux Williamson) directly above my sofa to take centre stage. You will note I have hung the image mere inches above the sofa. If the room has low seating, try hanging your artwork so seated guests will have a good view. Eye level is much lower from a seated position. You will also notice I have not framed the images to match one another but as I chose similar subject matter, this is not a problem. The art wall is a great focal point in an otherwise all white room.

2. Another fun solution for your bare walls is to group and frame a large selection of photographs together in one frame. This example in my home is made up entirely of old Polaroid images, 154 of them. You can easily translate this same idea with snapshots, Instagram prints and postcards. Your framer can place them all under Plexiglas for a relatively lightweight. large and inexpensive conversation piece.

Most of us want to display family photographs and children’s art at some point. This is when I suggest a neverending grouping. I always recommend my clients fill their powder room walls from floor to ceiling with photographs and art. I like to call this the “loo gallery”. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to fill the walls today. The best part about this display idea is that you can keep adding new photographs, artwork and keepsakes as you collect them. Even if your bathroom is tiny, you should still have at least one wall that you can fill. Go all the way to the ceiling! It’s more than a fun solution to displaying smaller pieces; it’s also a really interesting visual way to pass the time in your visits to the little boy’s or girl’s room.

Lori Andrews is an insanely happy Interior Designer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta Canada. www.loriandrewsinteriors.com.

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