Style your Space – Art Advice

When the art is hung at our home staging jobs, is when everything comes together. It is my favourite part of the process, but it starts long before it goes up on the wall. The styling of each room begins with the artwork and the feeling we want to create in that space. That leads the direction of everything else going on. So if you are looking to give your interiors a huge lift, it is a very important thing to get this sorted.

Art should be a focal point when styling your home, and the accessories and cushions need to work together, rather than compete with each other. In a lot of cases, artwork is the first thing you see when you walk into a room, so make sure it says what you want it to. But don’t be hasty – take your time choosing something you truly love. When styling for sale we choose pieces that appeal to the majority, but when styling your own spaces, it should reflect you. We know it can be tricky though, so here are some tips to help you.

Selecting Artwork

When styling for sale, we start with the type of house we have – for example for new builds we will use a more modern piece of print artwork whereas a Queenslander looks great with botanicals (The Designer Boys range are a particular favourite).

But for your own space, you really can be creative – you aren’t home staging – it’s all about you, so it’s time to go to town! There are just a few important things to consider first. How large is the wall? How much weight can the wall hold? Are there light switches/power points or air conditioning units that need to be considered?

The next thing you’ll need to determine is the orientation of the artwork (portrait or landscape) and this depends on where the artwork will be hung. In lounge rooms where artwork is being centred and hung above the sofa, we prefer to hang landscape as this amplifies the size of the room and creates some symmetry with the large piece of furniture it is hung over.

But if you are hanging on a mantle with a high ceiling, the orientation should be portrait as the space is narrower. If you are after something to hang between two windows, always measure to make sure it will leave wall space to the left and right of the artwork so that the piece stands out more and doesn’t look squashed.

For above a sofa or longer piece of furniture, like a sideboard/buffet, a pair of coordinating artworks can look great. They need to be the same size and have the same frame and have a similar story (designer speak for ‘look like they are a pair without being the same’). This is done a lot by professional stylists but not something I have seen much of in people’s homes. When done well it looks amazing! We got these vintage posters when we lived in Japan and had them framed the same. They now have pride of place above the sofa in what we call ‘the kids living area’.

To tie the artwork to the rest of your room, choose a colour or two from the artwork to use on throw rugs, cushions and accessories. It is easy to go a little overboard with this though, so be careful. The last thing you want is an overly matchy-matchy feel. We would recommend mixing this colour or colours with plenty of neutrals to avoid a heavy handed looking result. These days a lot of Furniture/homewares stores have in house Interior stylists who can help with this. I would recommend taking a picture of your artwork to one of these stores and asking for their help to put together cushions for the space. Keep the tags on, take them home, and try them out. If you aren’t completely happy – take them on back and try again. Picking colour combinations is a real skill, so don’t be disheartened if you aren’t good at this, just understand where to go to get the help you need. I have had good feedback from clients going to Freedom, Adairs and Oz Design Furniture for this kind of help. Once you get it right, the result is awesome!

Frame Choice

There are so many options for framing artwork. If you are going to have a frame on your artwork, think about the colour of the wall it is going on and also the other furniture in the room. If you have dark wood legs on your sofa and a dark wooden coffee table, for example, a dark wooden frame can look stunning. Antique gold look contemporary frames can also be a fun way to bring some metallic in with accessories and cushions to tie it together. Shadow box frames are also popular to frame larger canvases and make them a touch more luxe. If you are hanging the artwork on a coloured wall, white frames can really make a great effect.

We would also recommend a matte board around the artwork if the content of the artwork is smaller. This will give the piece more impact in your space. A good example is my own office pictured below. I have coloured walls and an oak wooden desk. The matte board makes the print I have framed here really stand out against the coloured wall, and the oak frame on the artwork, connects it to the desk. Winning!

Consulting a good picture framer is always a great idea in order to maximise the impact of your artwork, particularly if you find this kind of thing difficult. For those of you in the Brisbane area – we would recommend MM Designer Art.

Hanging Your Artwork

Hanging artwork can be tricky. It all depends on the weight of your artwork and what substructure you are hanging the artwork on. There are loads of tips and tricks online about hanging artwork but obviously it is important that what you put up, stays up.

For light pieces you could use 3M removable hooks but in Brisbane, these can be problematic in the humidity.  If your piece isn’t too heavy you can look at small pin style hooks that can be hammered into the wall

With plasterboard you can use regular single nail hooks for smaller art or for bigger pieces twin or triple nail hooks. Should it be a heavy piece of artwork, a wall anchor maybe required. This type of hook anchors from the back of the plasterboard to ensure a solid mount.

When working with masonry walls or rendered fireplaces, you may need a wall plug and screw in order to fix the art to the wall. This will usually require a hammerdrill and masonry bit to drill the hole and a plastic wall plug and screw to insert into the hole. Not for the faint- hearted I find, but no big deal if you are handy with a drill.

It is best to know what your wall is constructed from, and a little trip to Bunnings can ensure you know what you are in for. If in doubt, we highly recommend getting a professional art hanger in to do it for you. There is a lot of peace of mind bonus points with this option. For those of you in Brisbane and surrounds, we love Anthony’s Art Hanging. You can expect to pay $165 per hour for this service. Well worth it if you have anything tricky to hang.

It is worth taking the time to look around for great art that you will love in your space. Happy hunting!

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