Home & Decor

The Art of Arranging Art

art arrangingText by Pat Gerbrandt

Artwork for your walls is vital to creating a living space that expresses your tastes and invites you to be comfortable. Displaying that art is in itself a means of expression. Each room’s mood and theme can be accentuated by originals or prints, textile pieces or photography. Your kitchen, office or den, bedrooms and bathrooms should not be overlooked.

Just as the pieces you choose fit your tastes and your décor, they also need to fit in their own space.

The larger the piece of furniture over which the piece is hung, or the larger the expanse of wall, the larger should be the artwork. That does not eliminate using smaller pieces, appropriately grouped, matted and framed, from working in larger spaces. Scale is a key component. Wrong scale is as uncomfortable as an ill-fitting garment.

Tiny pieces will be lost on a large expanse of wall unless they are appropriately displayed. Rather than framing each print individually, you can group similar photos, such as a collection of wedding pictures, in a larger frame with custom-cut mat. Arrange the photos asymmetrically or in a balanced pattern, trying a variety of arrangements to get the best possible configuration.

Photos, water colours, prints and artwork work well together when a common thread connects them.

Where natural lighting is not adequate, explore other options to ensure that you can enjoy your art. A small investment in directional lighting or soft pot lights will reward you and is particularly effective if the display is in a niche, created between wall studs.
If you are displaying art in a hall or along a stairway, place lighter coloured images and frames toward the top.

Jacquie Richardson of The Framing & Art Centre suggests patterns for an art display over a couch, mantle or credenza.

To determine where to hang art, professionals generally use this simple formula because “eye level” is somewhat subjective. Start 60 inches from the floor, add half the height of the framed picture, then subtract the height of the triangle formed by the wire when the picture will hang. The resulting point is the ideal spot for the picture hanger.
When suitable wall space is not available, or for a novel effect, Jacquie suggests, “consider ‘unusual’ areas for display. Lean framed art on a table, shelf or fireplace mantel for a dramatic effect.”

The right mats and frames, in colours and proportions that are well suited to the art, display your choices. Mats also protect the surface of the art and keep it from lying directly on the glass. Look to the colours in your art for clues to mat colours. Multiple mats add to the beauty of the finished piece.

Proportion of mat and frame is another important consideration. A wide frame requires more matting than a narrow frame and a solid background requires a wider frame for balance.

Take tips from the professionals such as Jacquie of The Framing and Art Centre, and allow your creativity to find expression as you explore the best ways of decorating with your art choices.

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