How-To - Ask Us

Design solutions: Wallcoverings and frames

Senior design editor Margot Austin helps homeowners hang art and decorate a hallway

Q: My hallway, which leads to the side door, is extremely narrow – only 3' wide. Help! What do I do? Della Turuta, Toronto

ask-us-striped-hallway.jpgA: Tiny hallways can be tricky, but a well-decorated one is a real treat! Because you don’t spend much time in a transitional space like a hall, you're less likely to tire of dramatic colours or patterns – so why not go for it? If you’re considering embarking on a decorating project, keep your eyes open for inspiration, then steal ideas wherever you can. When you travel, snap shots with a digital  camera. Or surf the Net for posh hotel sites and click through the photo galleries. The gorgeous decor in this inspiration shot shows that you don’t need furniture, space or even artwork to make a hallway sing.

ingredients for revving up a tiny hallway
1 vertical striped wallcovering
2 beefed-up door casing mouldings with impact
3 a deep, dramatic paint colour in a glossy finish for all the doors
4 pretty wall sconces
5 a subtle patterned carpet or a runner that coordinates with the wallcovering the illusion of space If you decorate your hallway in darker colours and the adjoining rooms in light colours, the experience of walking from the darker to the lighter spaces will make the lighter ones feel more spacious.

Q: I'm trying to create a salon-style gallery wall in my home. I’m a little torn between going with the same colour of frame and matting, or mixing up the frames. I’ve seen it done both ways. I like what I’ve created so far, but I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done the right thing. Amanda Seif, Mississauga, Ont.

ask-us-livingroom.jpgA: If you like it, then you’re on the right track. Trust your eye. Salon-style displays are meant to be somewhat free-form. Let balance be your guiding principle rather than strict rules about frames, matting and spacing between pictures. Notice how the grouping at left contains a variety of frames and types of artwork.

How to achieve balance
1 Place the largest piece in the centre.
2 Evenly space the works with the darkest subject matter.
3 Use a cohesive palette.
4 Before hanging, arrange your pictures on the floor and move them around until you have a combination you like.
5 Then hang the pieces, judging the placement by eye and replicating the arrangement as closely as possible.


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