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Are your blank walls are begging to be decorated? Here’s how to do it

Blank walls

When it comes to the interior of our home, blank walls are just boring. Nothing puts the finishing touches to a room like colourful artworks, memory-filled photos, or precious paintings.

But hanging art can lead to such choice paralysis that our walls end up bare for much longer than we’d planned. The right pieces of art hung correctly can introduce personality, style, and wow-factor to your home. But committing to drilling a hole in your wall can make many people nervous. What if it’s the wrong height? What if the frame doesn’t work with the decor? What is it’s the wrong size for the space? 

To help answer these questions and empower you to tackle those blank walls once and for all, I’ve put together some easy to follow tips. And this Saturday for our Instagram Live,  I’ll be chatting with Catherine O’Riordan of So Fine Art editions about how to hang art at home. We’ll also be chatting about how to give your existing artworks a new lease of life and how to go about buying a piece of art.

Bare walls

Plan your layout

Before you hammer in a single nail into one of those blank walls, take a bit of time to plan where you are going to place your pictures, especially if you are hanging a group. Decide which pieces you want on the wall, then trace their shapes onto paper. Cut out the shapes and experiment with various placements. Alternatively, lay the composition out on the floor which will allow you to see how different groupings will work together.

What’s the right height?

I often get asked how to hang art. What is the optimum height, for example. And it’s often lower than you think. A good rule of thumb is to centre your art work approx. 1.5m from the floor.  When stacking or clustering artworks, take into account the total height, including the space you envision between the frames, and centre the composition as a whole. For paintings or other works that are too tall to hang on a centre line, it often works to place them around 400mm off the floor.

Bare walls

Wall colour

Another question that I’m often asked is what colour to paint a wall that you are planning to hang art on? Dark colours work really well and matching your wall colour to a colour in the painting works well too, it gives a cohesive look to the room and will really make the painting or picture come to life.

Gallery Wall

A nice idea for groupings of smaller works is to group them together to create a larger composition. Start with a central, dominant image and radiate the other pieces outward and upward around it. Choose artwork that hangs together well and look for similar colours, tones and themes. Another option is to keep pieces with similar frames. This technique works particularly well with pieces of varying shapes and sizes. Incorporate round or oval pieces to give your collection visual interest.

How to pair art works

Choosing what paintings to hang together can also be a stumbling block for clients. There are a number of ways to do this. You could find a common theme in the artworks, such as seascapes for example. Or you can keep to pieces with similar colours. Whatever way you approach this try to ensure that you frame the works in a similar style.

Bare walls

How to display art without hammering a nail

There are other ways to display art than simply hanging it – picture rails are a great idea and because you are not hammering nails into the walls it allows you to rotate pieces and try out different looks without damaging your walls. Another nice idea is to display pieces on shelves, you can group pieces together or use them as part of a general display.

Protect your pieces from the sun

It’s important to consider the kind of work that you hang in particularly sunny spaces such as conservatories or south-facing rooms. Avoid hanging watercolours or photographs in areas that are flooded with sunlight, as they will fade. If you are concerned about a particular piece you can have it framed using UV Plexiglas, it costs a little more than ordinary glass but will protect the artwork. If your painting is going opposite a window choose a non-reflective glass that will minimise reflections.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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