You can fill your home with fabulous furnishings and killer accents, but if you don't finish off with walls of dramatic artwork, the place will never feel finished. Artwork is one of the most powerful forces in decorating, because it gives a space heart and soul.
Creating drop-dead-gorgeous artwork displays is a lot easier than you think. Here are seven tips:
Hang large and small pieces together
Some of the most powerful artwork galleries mix pieces in a wide range of sizes, from very small to quite large. The variety of sizes makes the display more exciting. Whether they are little portraits, silhouettes, landscapes or architectural drawings, these tiny treasures should measure just a few inches. You'll be amazed by how these little guys break up the sea of larger frames, somehow magnifying them in the process.
Mix subjects, frames and mediums
When a grouping of artwork seems to have been collected piece by piece, not purchased as a group, each piece carries a lot of individual character. One way to make this look work is to mix an assortment of frame shapes, styles and materials. You also might combine artwork that features different mediums, such as oils, watercolors, line drawings, photography and even three-dimensional pieces like lanterns, sconces and plates. Finally, mix the style of the artwork you group, tossing together traditional pieces with those that are very modern. When you do so, your eye has a tendency to stop and focus on each piece in the group, not scan over the whole.
Only buy what you love
Don't ever buy a piece of art just because it matches the colors in your sofa. Every piece of artwork in your home should grab your heart -- and not let go. Take your time when shopping for artwork, holding off until you see something that you fall madly in love with. Don't worry about where you will put it -- those details will work their way out. And when they do, your walls will be filled with pieces that make your heart sing and tell others a lot about you.
Don't line up frames in a collage
If you're creating a grid of similar pieces of art, like a wall of matching botanicals or photographs, exact measurements are a must. You want the lines of the grid to be crisp and precise. But if you're pulling together a dynamic collage of mixed artwork, put away the ruler and place the pieces randomly into groups that just feel right.
Make groupings tight
When you hang artwork, create tight clusters, with the individual pieces of art snuggled up to each other. When pieces are spaced too far apart, they seem like separate islands and the overall display loses its impact.
Try displaying unexpected artwork like sconces, decorative shelves, trays, plates and lanterns to give a gallery more energy. Once in a while toss in something unconventional to keep things interesting.
Use artwork to balance a room
Artwork is a great tool to have when you're trying to solve decorating challenges. For instance, built-in bookcases next to a fireplace are gorgeous, but they can throw off the balance of the wall. Consider hanging a large piece of artwork on the other side of the fireplace.