Framed and Fabulous
Start with the art. Then celbrate it, showcase it,
and make your walls sing.
Written by ELAINE ROGERS
With swirls of
color and poignant images seemingly created out of thin air, paintings
and even posters elicit emotions in powerful ways. And artwork that
speaks to our heart urges us to place it where others can share.
"Art is an emotional purchase," says Suzanne Gallagher, founder
of Walldesgndivea.com. " We buy it because we love it and respond to
the color and how it makes us feel. And then we say, " Now what am
I going to do with it?"
Anyone who's scurried home with a new artistic treasure certain of
its benefit to a particular room or unadorned wall also knows that
showcasing wall art is an art form itself. Disappointment may replace
joy when a much-anticipated painting ends up looking completely out
of place in its designated spot. A sparse wall may seem an obvious
site for an controlled jumble of color, light and textures, but the
display destination depends on framing spacing and lighting for a truly
stunning exhibit. " People will bring their art home and be so excited
about it," Gallagher says. " Then it will look funny and they'll say
' It looked good in the store. Why doesn't it work here?"
Noting that art is often the focal point of a room or "the glue that
brings the interior furnishsings together." Gallagher adds "the elements
of placement, the image itself and how it's framed are all intergral
to one another. You really can't separate them."
Fortunately, experts say displaying artwork properly " is not rocket
science." and it's easy to learn how to do it properly.
SHOPPING AND SPACING
Snap a shot of the wall you want to fill and shop for art with the
picture and space measurements in hand. "Pay attention to the width
and height of the mantel." Gallageher says. You'll need breathing room
above the art - from the top of it up to the ceiling."
Pat McNulty, a fine art photographer in Malvern and founder
of Premierphotographer.com , suggests lining things up on the floor
to determing spacing needs. " The eye craves order," he says, so rember
to hang pictures so they form at least one horizontal and one vertical
Vary framing choices and artist. " I don't recommend finding one artist
whose work you love and buying 12 pieces," Gallagehr says. " Diversity
is something that will give your home character, and over the years
, you'll discover other things that will excite you. So don't stick
wwith jsut one artist." In the same vein, she says framing desing should
reflect the style of the space, but there's a lot of variance withing
that context " Choose similar frames that relate to one another but
sill differ," She suggest. ( An exception to this is grouping of coordingated
prints or artwork that are intended to be shown together. Frame those
Usually, art is hung to high. Gallagher say "eye level" is relative
to what is happening in the space most of the time, and McNulty notes
that "everybody's eye level is different." In seating areas, art can
often be placed lower than eye level, while in hallways or stairways,
eye level is the goal. In foyers or rooms with the taller ceilings,
hanging the piece higher thatn eye leve works well.
FURNISHINGS AND FRAMES
Art should cover at least two-thirds of the wall space over a sofa
or piece of furniture. For instance , a 24-inch painting over a 60-inch
table is sure to be overshadowed. A rule of thumb for art placed behind
chairs and sofas is placement about 6 to 9 inches above the back.
Arranging a cluster of smaller frames together establishes a larger
collective. This works especially well with family photos or images
following a theme - vintage prints or vacation destinations for instance.
McNulty is a fan of sticking with a specific motif like flowers, lighthouse
pictures or animals throughout an entire room. " Keep it simple,"
he says. " Sometimes people make the mistake of having too many pieces
and too much going on."
For modern take on the grouping strategy, try a collection of acrylic
CD cases filled with coordinate images - perhaps square pieces of an
impressionistic poster or connected photographs - which is eye-catching
in a kid's room or other casual places.