Contributed by Kim Hanna.
Whether we admit it or not, the reality is that most of us (even artists) match the “art to the sofa” or visa versa. It is our living space and if we live with our art then we want the art to be supported by the room. There are several ways to surround yourself with the things you love by using the art you have or hope to purchase. However, there are a few basic rules to help things flow smoothly.
- Hang the art at eye level. Using the gallery standard of 60 inches from the floor to the center of the artwork is a good place to start.
- Relate the art to your furniture and accessories; much of your art will be hanging above furniture. Be sure it is hung close enough to the furniture so it becomes a grouping with the furniture and accessories.
- Keep scale in mind and pick the right size. You can’t put an 8×10 photo or a 16×20 poster above your sofa and expect it to work. The art must be big enough to balance the size of the sofa or fireplace it hangs above.
- By repeating the palette and the line of furnishings, a piece of art can help the room come together. The curved lines in a painting can pick up the lines of your table, chair or rug. The reflection of a vintage mirror can compliment the grays and blue of a seascape. Floral displays can bring in the color of paintings and add visual interest.
- Salon style is a great way to use lots of smaller pieces to cover a large wall area. It’s easiest to start at the center and move out. To keep the display from feeling haphazard coordinate a theme such as landscapes or portraits or use a common color to hold the grouping together. When creating a display on a large wall, hang artwork close together rather than scattered across the space. Keep the space between pieces about the same, two to three inches between each piece generally works to help the rhythm and flow of a salon wall. For small tight spaces, a vertical arrangement elongates the space.
- Think about how the work will be viewed. Use your bolder and larger works in places that will show well from a distance, like above your fireplace. Your softer and more detailed pieces will shine in places where you can view them up close, like in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
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