If you’ve ever enhanced your wardrobe with that little black dress, you know it can either be a dud or a smash depending on the accessories. Art does that for a room. While it doesn’t have to match the style of your furniture, it should be framed well, hung at the right height over a piece of furniture, fireplace, or console table, and most importantly, be something you’ll enjoy viewing.
The rule of thumb has been to hang artwork so that it is at eye level when standing, but many designers and professionals prefer to place art slightly above eye level when seated. Generally, this is no more than 8” – 12” above sofas or low units such as consoles, credenzas or tables.
Groupings have become popular again. If you are unsure of how to place your pieces, use the floor! Lay out all the objects on the floor in the same amount of space as on the wall. Move the pieces until they create a pleasing and unified presentation. If you want to be very sure, take a large piece of paper and trace the size of the pieces, marking where the wires will fall to the bottom of your picture hook. (Using two hooks together enables the art to hang better). Now put the paper on the wall with removable masking tape. Put up all hooks in marked locations. Remove the paper and hang the artwork in the designated spots. Voila!
P.S. The frames don’t have to be the same, but they should blend.
P.P.S. Don’t be the guy I met on a consult in his home. A piece of art was hanging about five inches from the ceiling with nothing under it. When I casually asked him why he chose that spot, his reply was “that’s where the nail was when we moved in!”
There once was a time in the mid 1900’s where symmetry reigned. If you didn’t put matching tables and lamps on either side of a sofa, the furniture police would haul you away in shame. And, heaven forbid, two styles encountered one another in the same room! The rigidity of that time has long passed as well as rooms designed for only one purpose. The life and times of today, with its more casual yet technical trends, have dictated living in open spaces where creature comforts and functional mobility have superseded “formal” room settings. More contemporary styles now mix with French, Italian or English accent pieces. Transitional furniture, which takes a classical style and contemporizes it no matter what the style, has become a new watchword. But it still comes down to space, scale, function, and something called common sense. Would you put all tall pieces on one side of the room, block doorways or traffic paths – put everything on an angle? To make sure you don’t, use your own furniture as placeholders and “see” how it feels as well as looks. Keep the good stuff when you get rid of the rest. Just make sure you know what the good stuff is!
As a former interior design educator, I knew furniture styles and art history were important aspects of the curriculum taught to would-be designers. I can’t believe how many times I’d tell my students, “There is nothing new under the sun”. Classical furniture styles particularly French, Italian, English and Early American are still popular and often reproduced. People want a connection to the past so fine furniture of these periods is in many lovely and impressive homes, as well as museums. If you like the style, but can’t afford “museum quality” originals, many furniture companies have manufactured excellent, well made reproductions and even these reproductions have been copied! There is definitely a price point for everyone, but if you go too low, quality will surely be compromised. My advice – buy less but buy good. Check out consignment stores where “your” style may not be the “in” one, but where you can buy “up” at bargain prices.
Use your imagination and think how these armories can be re purposed in your home!