It’s not about living in an art gallery. It’s about surrounding yourself with the art you love, appreciate and find inspiring. It’s about bringing life, colour, creativity and personality into your home. Why live in a spartan, sterile environment if you don’t have to?
Art and culture enriches our lives and boosts our wellbeing. A simple picture or painting hanging on the wall has the power to cheer the spirit and enliven the space. Art can make us laugh, evoke emotion, incite conversation and debate, and inspire us on a daily basis.
It might be you want to hang pictures and drawings created by the children of the family while at school, or display photography, large contemporary artworks, prints, framed posters, Old Masters, or perhaps you have some friends who are artists and you want to display their work, or you’ve commissioned an artist to create something specially for your home, or perhaps you’re an avid collector with an extension collection to hang? It doesn’t matter. When the décor, furniture, furnishings and artwork all harmonise together, the impact can be incredible. All it takes is time, creativity, and the customary hammer and nails.
From LED picture lights to recessed framing projectors to spotlights, there are many options these days when it comes to lighting our interiors and lighting art collections. If you have impressionist paintings or prints to hang then you may want softer lighting, while bold abstract and contemporary artworks can take stronger lighting.
Don’t shy away from a splash of colour on the walls. Certain strong, dark paint colours set off artwork effectively. You only have to pay a visit to the Dulwich Picture Gallery (renowned for its rich collection of Old Masters in gilded frames) or the National Gallery to see how curators use strong paint colours – from deep purples to crimson – to set off the collections. Colour brings out colour, so don’t assume that anything but a white wall will detract from the artwork itself.
Don’t overlook the importance of the frame. The right frame can have a transformative impact on the artwork itself, elevating and enhancing it as a decorative object. Whether you opt for ornate gilded frames or a streamlined black affair, consider what you’re hanging and try to find a frame which complements the picture/photograph/work of art itself.
Create layers and contrast
Look beyond the painting itself to your décor, furniture and furnishings. How can you create happy contrasts or clashes? Rich interiors are those where colours, patterns, prints and textures are layered thoughtfully yet play off each other harmoniously.
Hanging artwork usually only calls for a hammer and nails. The difficulty comes in choosing where and at what height to hang the artwork – in what room, on which wall, etc. If you’re stuck with placement, and you have a large collection of art to hang, you can always seek the advice of an interior designer or independent art consultant.
Filling a house with art helps to turn it into a home; a place you truly want to be.