In advance of this year’s Art Show (June 4-7) Meighan Morrison, Lillian August interior designer, offers some tips on displaying artwork in your home.
1) DON’T “HANG ‘EM HIGH”
Invite your art to join you! People have a tendency to hang art too high in an interior space. Art should be a connected element in and of the vignette you are creating whether it be hung over a sofa or over a console, etc. Just a few inches over the sofa is fine… don’t worry if there is much more space above the art than below it. In short, instead of plunking art in the middle of the wall space, hug it to the rest of your design.
2) BE BOLD AND EMBRACE THE NEGATIVE
There is a tendency to want to evenly space out pieces of art throughout the available wall space of a room or home, much as one would evenly space out uniform pats of butter on top of a pie. This may result in a nice pie but does not usually result in a very interesting or dynamic interior space. Instead, play with scale and placement. Hanging one really large, impactful piece in a room and perhaps some secondary walls left empty is going to be more interesting than several similarly sized pieces equally spaced around the room. This follows the rule (both in art as well as interiors) that the negative space is as important as the positive space.
3) FORM A TIGHT-KNIT GROUP
As an alternative to a single large piece of art, diptychs and triptyches are fun and effective. If you have a collection of smaller artworks, try grouping them together to create one large presentation – either spaced evenly (for example, 3 neatly spaced rows of 5 same-sized photographs) or a randomly spaced grouping of art of different sizes. Either way, if you keep your grouping fairly tight, you will create a gallery wall that will carry similar impact to hanging one very large piece of art.
4) MIX IT UP
Instead of hanging traditional looking art in a traditional interior, consider choosing something graphic and modern – contemporary looking art juxtaposed against more traditional decor and/or architecture will instantly freshen a space and give it a more current look. On the flip side, an ornate frame and/or traditional painting in a clean, contemporary space can be just the tweak needed to add a spark of warmth and character to a space that might otherwise have felt a bit cold and austere.
5) DON’T JUDGE THE ART BY THE FRAME
Don’t fall in love with the just the fancy wrapping paper but the actual gift itself! It is easy to get enamored with an expensive or trendy looking frame when purchasing art…. or to overlook a beautiful piece of art because it is unframed or doesn’t actually need a frame or is wearing the wrong frame. Be sure it is the ART that you are connecting with. Frames are to art what accessories are to the dress: easy to change but quick to make or break the look.
Whether you choose a signature piece of original art by a well-known painter or an interesting piece from an emerging talent, fill your space and life with artwork that speaks to you. Local galleries or exhibits like this year’s CCNS Art Show & Sale (June 4-7 in Rowayton) are great places to find inspiration and that next interesting piece of art that will help you create a beautiful space.