You can fill your room with beautiful furniture and accents, but it won’t look “finished” until the walls come alive with artwork. If you have blank walls, or pieces of art stored away that you’ve never hung, make that your new year’s resolution. You will be blown away by how putting a few pieces up will give your spaces personality and style, and make your home a warm reflection of you. To help you get started, here are a few ideas for interesting art arrangements created by Dillon, the artwork coordinator at Nell Hill’s.
A Wall of Trays
“Artwork” encompasses much more than framed paintings. Trays, platters and dishes are among my favorite things to hang on the wall. This photo is of a collection Dillon hung at the Pi Beta Phi house at the University of Missouri. The sorority has so many beautiful trays, we just had to get them out where everyone could enjoy them every day. To hang trays like this, thread a bit of wire through the handles or cutouts on the sides of the tray. Or, use plate grippers.
I feel like I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet because my mom has moved into the cottage next door to mine. I get to go over every morning and have a cup of coffee with Mom before I head to Nell Hill’s. And, I get to help her decorate! Here’s a photo of a collection of trays we used to spice up the wall by Mom’s back door. The old Tole trays look fabulous with her vintage silver platters.
Tip from Dillon: The secret to decorating with trays, plates and platters is to group together a variety of sizes and shapes. Start by placing the larger pieces in the middle, then fan out from there.
One Big Statement
I talked Mom into doing something a little spunky with her bathroom. We had this funky shower curtain made out of a playful fabric at Nell Hill’s. Then, we took up the entire wall next to the tub with this irrepressibly happy piece of art. I don’t think it would be possible to start your day without smiling if you were greeted by this sunny print every morning. Do you have a large open wall, perhaps in your entry or kitchen, that could handle an over-sized piece of artwork? A piece of statement art is a great way to give a room loads of personality.
A Celebration of Memories
One of the chief aims of artwork is to reflect the unique personality of those who live there. One of my favorite things to do when I visit people is to see their artwork and accents, to get a glimpse of the things they care about most. For many of us, our families are paramount in our lives. So consider making a gallery that features photos and other memorabilia that tells the story of your family, past and present.
We did just that at the Pi Beta Phi house. The sorority had boxes of wonderful old photos, taken of the chapter women through the years. We pulled out some of our favorites to create a collection that adorned the walls in the living room and TV room.
If you want to try this at your home, find a frame style you like and that is available in different sizes. We went to an inexpensive hobby store for ours, selecting a simple, black ready-made wood frame that came in four different sizes. Then, we had creamy white mats custom cut to fit the photos. Massed together, they create an intriguing gallery that is a tribute to the history and future of this home.
Tip from Dillon: To hang a gallery like this, Dillon suggests you start at the middle then work your way out. Lay the pieces on the floor and move them about until you have an arrangement you like. Take a photo with your phone so you can replicate the layout on the wall. You’ll notice that Dillon rarely lines up the frames when he arranges collections. Instead, he likes the groupings to feel a little more “random.”
A Flash of Mirrors
I love using mirrors as art. They add brilliant beauty to a room, bouncing light and opening up the space. Add a mirror to a collection of art. Hang one over your mantel or above a buffet. Or, cluster a group of smaller mirrors together to make one head-turning display, like Dillon did at the Pi Beta Phi chapter house, in the photo above.
Tip from Dillon: To create this 3D effect, Dillon layered one mirror on top of another, using longer nails for the mirrors on the top layer so they could easily rest over those below.
A Sprawling Gallery
Decorating a big, open wall, like a staircase, can be intimidating. So much space. Where do you start? Here’s a snapshot Dillon took after he arranged an art collection at a client’s house. (Yes, Dillon makes house calls! Give us a call at 816-746-4320 for details.). This grand staircase, with its curved walls, was asking for a grand display. So Dillon took the homeowner’s collection and created this eye-popper. Notice how he mixed together frames of different sizes and shapes, tucking very small pieces in among the larger ones. One reason all these individual pieces come together so nicely to make a whole is the repetition of the subject matter: The works are all variations on landscapes and botanicals.
Here’s another stairway of art created by Dillon. Instead of starting in the middle this time, he started on one end because he wanted the clock, which is at the bottom of the stairs, to be visible from the main floor of the home. I really like how Dillon pulled in a variety of pieces for this display: Antlers, oils, drawings from old books. It’s equally arresting from every angle.
Little Collections, Big Impact
Artwork collections don’t have to be grand and glorious to be dramatic. Check out this simple setting. When we decorated the living room at the Pi Beta Phi house, we wanted to create a private nook where students could study. So we slid a secretary against the wall and topped it with this pair of lovely prints, hung low and cozy against the top of the furniture. Do you have any little nooks and crannies, or furniture groupings that are set off by themselves, that you could finish off with a splash of art? Tucking in artwork in unexpected places adds interest and intrigue to a space.
Next Week … I’ll have a complete guide on how to pick the right sofa for you, just in time for our Upholstered Furniture Sale, when all sofas, even custom-made special orders, will be 20% off Jan. 15 through Feb. 15.