4 Ways to Decorate Your Walls With Artwork

Contemporary luxury in this Half bath or powder room design by award winning ASID Interior Designer Tina Dann-Fenwick in Lake Forest Chicago area
Artwork in the form of a triptych flows around the corner of this Powder room making a bold and stylish statement. Design by TDF Interiors.


This week’s post is about a subject many people find difficult.  If you have large blank walls, it can be challenging trying to think how to decorate them with artwork, even if you have pieces ready to display.  You may think the artwork you have is too small or too big.  If you group artwork on the wall, how do you space them and do the frames have to be all the same?


Create a Collage with Your Artwork


Designing a collage of artwork for your walls
This collage of framed artwork looks balanced and united. thesoulfullhouse.com


Many people think that you need a big piece of artwork to fill the wall space above your sofa.  You can see from this arrangement of artwork that making a collage from smaller pieces is an interesting and decorative option.  Note that not all the frames are the same but they are similar.  Some of the images are in color and some black and white.  The most important factor is to create balance.  My best tip is to lay out your artwork on the floor in front of the wall (if you can) and play around with the sizes and shapes.  The aim is to keep all the pieces fairly close together so that from a distance they read like they are part of a whole.  Think about the outer edges of your design and create an interesting shape like in this picture.

When you think you have a good layout or design, take a picture of it and then start to hang the pieces on the wall in the arrangement saved in your photo.


Artwork Should be Hung at the Right Height for your Space


Hanging artwork, height and design issues
The artwork in this photo is hung closer to the furniture and fireplace


There is a tendency to think that artwork should be hung and centered at an equal distance between walls or between the height of furniture below and the ceiling.  My best tip here is to think of the artwork as part of a vignette which includes your furniture or fireplace below it.  The artwork does not need to be centered necessarily.  It should be made to feel part of a grouping which reads as a whole.  The photo above demonstrates this.

The other factor to consider is your comfortable viewing height.  If there is nothing against the wall below the artwork, try to approximate the center of the artwork with your viewing height.


Display What has Meaning to You, Not What matches Your Room


Bold botanical artwork against dark teal wall color
This design by famous Interior Designer Nina Campbell displays a bold modern painting against a deep teal paint color in a traditionally styled home. ninacampbell.com


Color and design is important but should not dictate the artwork you choose.  Designers have differing views about this and it depends very much on a client’s taste, but my view is that you should love the art you hang on your walls.  A home feels more personal and soulful if you choose artwork that you have a personal connection to.  It may remind you of a place or experience or the place where you bought it. Often abstract art looks great in a traditionally styled house.  Bold simple shapes provide a rest for the eye from the more decorative details that may grace a traditionally styled home.

In the photo above the neutral colors provide a striking contrast to the strong teal backdrop of the wall.


Consider Whether the Artwork is to be the Focal Point of the Room


Artwork in home office, interior design Chicago and North shore
This beautiful peony print is the star of this delightful home office. Design by TDF interiors


Every room needs a focal point and where you hang your artwork can play a part in creating the sense of balance and harmony that a focal point can provide.  This is where the subject matter and colors in your artwork can make a difference.

For example, if your fireplace is not the obvious focal point of your room, but you want it to be, then hang artwork that has more color contrast or a strong design that draws the eye to it.

The reverse is also true.  Avoid hanging a large piece of artwork, which has a lot of strong contrasting color, shapes or design and/or with a dark frame in an area of the room that you do not want to draw too much attention to.  This can be distracting and upset the balance in a room.

Some of my clients just need help accessorizing their room or arranging pieces of furniture and artwork that they already have in a way that feels more comfortable, harmonious and uncluttered. Many times I have transformed a space by rehanging artwork in a different place and/or re-framing it.  So you do not have to give up on a piece.  There is often a way to make it work and hopefully these tips will inspire you to try.

If you do not have any or enough artwork but want to decorate your walls then try something different like this:


Empty art frames make decorative wall display
Empty frames grouped together make decorative shapes. Marthastewart.com


See more ideas on displaying your artwork in this Houzz article