Local experts reveal that decorating the home requires much more than simply hanging a piece of art on a wall.
By Ashley Ryan | Photos by Jody Tiongco
As an integral part of interior design, art can transform the look and feel of a room. The pieces that decorate a home not only reflect the owner’s personal style to visitors but also serve as the backdrop to one’s everyday life.
“It’s important that people choose pieces they love, pieces that speak to them,” says Gina Marie Harris of Seaside Interiors Laguna Beach. By far one of the most crucial steps is selecting the artwork you wish to display, as it will set the tone for the rest of the process. However, once this pivotal step in the journey is complete, there is still much more to consider before your art will be at its most presentable.
As a local artist and interior designer, Roderick Reed of REEDesign has plenty of creative tips to ensure the art you place in your home flows with the overall interior design.
When choosing a piece, keep in mind the colors of the walls or the furniture in the room, as art can be a wonderful way to accentuate the colors that are already present in the room to create a harmonious look. The walls and sofa are typically the most prominent colors in a home, according to Roderick, so selecting a work of art that brings out those shades can add an extra something special to the room.
One can evolve this technique a step further by picking up smaller, colorful objects for the room that complement the art pieces as well. They don’t need to exactly match the sofa or walls—just use the colors and patterns present in the room to draw inspiration.
Roderick also recommends placing a substantial piece of artwork in an area where it will draw attention and serve as a focal point in the room. Larger pieces are best placed over dominant features in the room, like the sofa or the fireplace, where the eye will be drawn to them as soon as you walk in the room.
Gina adds, “I tell all my interior design clients and art collectors to choose pieces that speak to them and that they connect with. In every room, [select] something that lifts your spirits, that inspires you or takes you to a place you want to be … whether it’s a subtle black-and-white photography piece, a large abstract contemporary oil painting or beautiful plein-air oil painting.”
Once the pieces are chosen, it’s time to place them. “You will want to have a certain harmony with all of the pieces,” Roderick says, stressing the importance of art placement in relation to all other parts of the room.
When hanging art, Roderick recommends keeping it at a height of 57 inches, the standard height used in many galleries as well as by interior designers because it is more or less at eye level. Although this is generally the ideal spot to place art, the height of the ceilings also impacts how the piece will be viewed. If your home has very tall ceilings, you may want to place it a bit higher as to minimize empty space. In addition, scale is another important thing to consider. You do not want to place pieces that are too large or too small on a wall that draws the eye, as it will make the artwork either over- or underwhelming.
Once the placement is decided, the actual hanging of the work is very important. Roderick hangs paintings with monkey hooks, pieces of metal bent into a hook shape that can be pushed into the wall to hold more than 50 pounds. Because they create only a tiny hole in the wall and are easily removable, they are more favorable than the traditional hammer and nails.
For those who prefer their art to be 3-D, sculptures also play a role in interior design and decoration. Depending on the layout, there are often many places within the home that are perfect for placing unique sculptures. The entryway can be a great setting for smaller, detailed pieces. Corners of rooms are ideal for larger figures, which can be placed on the floor or set on a pedestal to be shown off.
When incorporating multiple sculptures, spread them throughout the home to prevent a cluttered appearance, and keep in mind that the more there is to look at, the less one will be able to appreciate the detail of each work.
As you begin to practice the art of hanging art within your home, be sure to keep these tips in mind to create a dreamlike space that will look flawlessly professional.
When integrating a multitude of artworks into a home, some may enjoy the added effect of grouping artwork. Before getting started, interior designer Wendy Blackband says that it is best to get inspiration from other art walls or images in magazines to examine the shapes, sizes and frames that others have used. This will help you get an idea of what you are looking to create in your own home.
Next, you will want to consider the number of pieces you want to involve as well as their shapes. “The human eye craves order,” says Roderick Reed of REEDesign. To create an orderly bunch, he suggests an arrangement that allows every piece to end at the same height on the wall. This will create a more organized look—one that Roderick says can also be applied to other wall decor such as mirrors or photographs.
Once you have your inspiration and art, Wendy stresses the importance of arranging your design before actually hooking anything to the wall in order to get an idea of what the finished design will look like. To do this, take large sheets of paper in the same shapes and sizes as the pieces of art and tape them up on the wall to get a better idea of the distances between the pieces and where to place the hooks. Wendy also suggests working outward from the center for a more seamless experience.