Photography, Valerie Wilcox, HGTV’S Save My Reno.
Samantha Pynn shows you how to make a stylish statement with art.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to hanging art on your blank walls? These tips and tricks will bring impact to your collection and instant character to your rooms.
Photography, Valerie Wilcox for HGTV’s Save My Reno | Chairs, HomeSense, homesense.ca. Table, Console, IKEA, ikea.ca. Art (salon-style gallery), Dan Hobday, danhobday.com.
I love how a gallery wall can make an empty wall instantly stylish. A salon-style gallery – a grouping of mixed art – offers flexibility because you can display art, photos and mementoes of different sizes and styles. Although a great salon-style wall looks effortless, it requires planning and consideration of scale, spacing and palette. First, arrange the collection on the floor with the largest piece in the centre or slightly off-centre; then arrange other works around it, with the visually heavy pieces closer to the bottom. Try to keep the spacing a few inches apart and consistent. Salon-style works well when you cover the walls in rooms with high ceilings or awkward nooks; if you like symmetry, picture rails offer a horizontal shelf where you can layer, lean and change displays. I like to build a room’s palette on colours pulled from an artwork in a grouping. I’ve done that with the painting (opposite, top left) and three of Benjamin Moore’s 2023 colours of the year. It’s a powerful colour statement.
North Sea Green 2053-30, Benjamin Moore
Savannah Green 2150-30, Benjamin Moore
Tofino Sunset CC-156, Benjamin Moore
Stand painting by Andrea Stokes, gouache on canvas, $400, Art Interiors, artinteriors.ca.
Handmade Black Naked ceramic vase, $275, Obakki, obakki.com.
Boone sideChair, $795, Elte Mkt, eltemkt.com.
Wall-mounted ceramic bird sculpture by Sandra Tarantino, $180, Art Interiors, artinteriors.ca.
Handmade 10" Woven Bird Nest Basket in Natural, $130, Obakki, obakki.com.
Collected, Not Chaotic
- Unify disparate pieces with the same frames or mat.
- Mix mod prints with landscapes and even 3-D pieces.
- Repeat colours and media like encaustics and photography.
- Add personal pieces like a hat or cool tote.
- Stacked or side-by-side art pieces should be treated as one larger piece.
- Don’t be afraid to break the rules and go with your gut!
Lean on Me
Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist, large art looks luxe. In homes with neutral and serene decorating schemes, large art looks clean and uncluttered. I like that a large artwork doesn’t compete with architectural details like panelling and moulding. When hanging a large work above a sofa or credenza, I find that five to eight inches works well. The biggest mistake is to hang a large artwork too high – it should have a visual connection to the furniture below it. Or consider leaning it against the wall, which is an old trend that I’m seeing again. It’s casual, chic and lets you change up an arrangement without hammering a nail. Just remember, always make leaned art look intentional. On consoles and sideboards, layer and vary the heights of leaned art behind lamps and objets, but don’t overdo it. Too many leaning pieces can make it look like you just moved in!
Photography, Virginia Macdonald
To me, a symmetrical gallery – art hung in a grid – is the fastest and easiest of all the art arrangements. The look is polished and has graphic impact, especially when all the pieces are framed identically or are in the same medium, such as black and white photos, framed ceramic plates or a series of sketches. For brother’s first apartment (above), we were on a tight budget, so I printed out his favourite black and white photographs and displayed them in inexpensive ready-made frames from off the shelf. My tip: to create a grouping that reads as one large piece, hang each work a couple inches apart. Want wow factor? Cover the entire wall, from baseboard to ceiling, for maximum impact.