I hope everyone is keeping safe and well! Perth has just come out of a snap lockdown but it was quite nice to get some writing done- since my last entry was about 10 weeks ago!! Today I’m going to shed some insight into how I plan artwork for a new home or client project. It is one of the most important areas I focus on when decorating the Homebuyers Centre Display Homes and one that I spend a lot of time on. The Homebuyers Centre family know exactly how much effort I put into selecting artwork for an upcoming display and have engaged me to share with you all some of my top tips and favourite suppliers.
From the colour palette, placement and theme, right down to the frame thickness, colour and depth- all of these factors contribute to a cohesive and flowing interior. One thing to mention is that I’m approaching this post from a full home fit-out point of view where the client wants their artwork cohesive. Some clients (and you might be one of them) prefer to hang sentimental or unique pieces in their home, which is always encouraged as well. Those special frames inject personality and individual style to the space and make your house feel more like a home.
Artwork selections will depend on the brief I am given and the theme/direction we are styling the rest of the home. For example a ‘Coastal’ home will prominently feature palms, sandy shorelines, pampas and other natural flora, water/ocean/ waves, island villas, coral, shells etc… Whereas an ‘Urban’ home would have a more contrasted palette, with a slightly more masculine approach- think dessert dunes, highway roads, recycled brick textures and city-living subjects. If I were selecting a flora artwork for an ‘Urban’ style project I would hunt for cactus, succulents or native artwork, oppose to pretty florals. When a general theme is adhered to, the artwork will create more impact and emphasise your chosen interior style.
I’m very meticulous when it comes to colour palette but that’s just personal preference. There are no set rules! I personally love cohesion, but the ‘interior police’ definitely won’t rock up on your doorstep if you have mismatched artwork. If you have a fairly neutral interior palette, artwork is a great way to inject colour into your surroundings. You can then draw on the featured tones to style your space with complimenting decor and soft furnishings. Once the style, theme and colour palette has been chosen, I open up a blank document on either powerpoint, pages, photoshop (whichever is more convenient at the time) and start pasting images from artwork websites and suppliers. The document looks chaotic and messy, but having all of the potential pieces on one page helps me visualise if the colours work well together. I then start grouping them into rooms and eliminating any that don’t quite fit.
There are a few guidelines I follow when it comes to selecting and hanging artwork. Again, they’re not strict rules but they might be useful for you to refer back to when factoring in scale, size and placement of new artwork pieces.
Hanging above a console or buffet
- I like to keep the artwork size within the edges of the furniture piece underneath. They don’t need to line up with the edges, but I generally won’t extend the artwork past the furniture below.
- If you have a relatively small console or buffet (under 1100mm,) a larger square frame will do the trick nicely. It should fill both the height and width beautifully and not leave too much of a gap between the furniture and bottom of the frame.
- Statement mirrors also look great above consoles or buffets and this can help break up the rest of the room if you have other artwork in the area.
Hanging in a hallway or on a wall with no furniture / visual obstruction
- Hallways and walls with no furniture against them can be difficult to dress because you have the full height, from floor to ceiling to factor in. You’re not obviously going to hang artwork at floor or ceiling level but there is a vast area to fill in the middle.
- On a generous size wall, I prefer to hang two larger portrait pieces of art instead of one landscape piece. I feel that the wall is better filled with the length of a large portrait pair.
- As an alternative, you could dress the wall with gallery images of your family or various artworks that tie in with your interior and style.
- A landscape orientation is usually my last preference on a completely empty wall (with no visual obstruction) because often there is too much space left bare underneath the frame. I tend to only use landscape artwork in narrow hallways or if it is really large in scale and can fill both the width and height nicely. Even then, I would save something that big to use as a feature on a dining or living room wall.
Hanging above a headboard
- I have a personal guideline that I generally stick to when combining artwork, feature walls and pendants in a master bedroom. If the room has pendant lights and a feature wall, I will only use one piece of art above the bed.
- Either the artwork or feature wall is kept understated and simple, otherwise there are too many features competing in the space.
- If the bedroom has pendants and no feature wall, I will generally use two pieces of art (see below image,) or one striking piece of artwork to create more substance.
- If the headboard is higher than 1300mm I will either select a landscape design with less height, or use a feature lining board or wallpaper behind the headboard instead of artwork.
- Choose a particular colour from within the artwork to feature somewhere in your bedding layers, eg a cushion, throw or sheets. This keeps the room feeling harmonious and well thought out.
Above a sofa
- I will either use two large portrait artworks as a pair or one (really large) landscape artwork.
- This decision is usually made up by considering what wall space I have in the surrounding areas and if it is open plan.
- For example, if I have a dining room wall (that cannot house any furniture against it) I would hang a decent size portrait pair here so the length fills the wall better. Then in the living room I would choose a landscape artwork for above the sofa since the furniture fills a majority of the wall space already.
- Using a frame colour that compliments your furniture always looks really sleek and bespoke (see images above.)
- If your posters or prints aren’t quite large enough to make a statement, consider getting your local framer to put a white mount around the edge. If you put a 60mm white mount on a 70x100cm wide poster, this would bump the overall size up to something like 85x115cm wide including the frame (depending on the chosen frame thickness.)
In nurseries or children’s bedrooms
- Of course your number one concern should be your little love’s safety. You know your child and if you think they would touch artwork or pull items off of shelves, then it is best to have anything ‘hanging’ completely out of reach.
- Hanging objects can pass as artwork because they add a visual layer without being repetitive. If you have used artwork already in the room but feel like a different area is lacking, try hanging a garland, cute mobile, canopy, a hanging plant, book ledges, some fun wall hooks, an age appropriate mirror, LED wall light, plush animal heads, a woven hall hanging, customised name plaque etc… The list of cute wall decor for children’s interior is endless and an example can be seen in the above and below images.
- Have fun with colour and use artwork to emphasise your chosen colour palette.
- Framing for children’s interior can be kept budget friendly because you might change the posters as your child grows and their personality evolves. A few of my go-to retailers for store bought poster frames are Target, Spotlight, Country Road, Ikea and Freedom Furniture. Target have a great timber range at the moment with a white return trim, that looks quite lovely. You can shop the Elena range here.
Budgeting for artwork
It’s no surprise that artwork can add up very quickly, especially if you appreciate original, commissioned or limited edition pieces. When furnishing the Homebuyers Centre WA display homes I take a more conservative approach when buying artwork, but I still allocate enough budget to purchase a few large and feature framed prints.
Start with your most seen walls and lived in areas like the master bedroom, entry, living, dining and theatre. Then work your way down to less visible walls like back hallways, offices, laundries etc. Allocate more funds for high traffic areas and less for the others. Here are my go to stores that sell a beautiful range of prints, posters and framed artworks.
- Olive Et Oriel
- Art and Framing
- Urban Road
- Greenhouse Interiors
- Boho Art and Styling
- Norsu Interiors
- The Print Emporium
- Frisky Deer
- Society 6 (for both adult and children’s posters)
- Leo and Bella (for children’s posters)
- Pretty in Print (for children’s posters)
If you want to stretch your funds further or decorate on a more conservative budget you can purchase printable files from various stores off Etsy and print them locally. Just make sure you read the description and check what the maximum print size is (some are not printable in large formats.) You can be even more savvy by purchasing printable sets, which offer a few coordinated artwork designs for a discounted price. Here are some of my favourite ‘Digital Wall Art’ stores that I have previously purchased from, or saved for future projects.
- Nolla Studio– TOP PICK- Soft photographic and abstract artwork
- Umaiana– Simplistic and neutral abstracts
- LilaXLola– Photographic art and baby animals
- Little Folk Printables– Children ‘s art and Landscape prints.
- My Dream Wall– Vibrant, fun mid century art
- Infintite Noon– Minimal line art.
- Baydreem– Photographic art and quotes.
Commissioned or original artworks
These are special and unique pieces because they are one off designs created by talented artists. They will obtain an ‘investment piece’ price tag compared to a printed artwork, but are authentic and one of a kind. A Commission is where you engage the artist to work on a customised artwork with your requests in mind, where an Original artwork is one the artist has created themselves. While it is notable to own an original or commissioned artwork, it is unrealistic for me to budget (even one) into a display home. Instead of shopping for an original, I will check if the desired artist has released a limited edition print of the same design. This is where the artist has had the artwork professionally photographed and a small number prints are available to buy. They are a great alternative if you value artisanship but cannot justify the price of an original or commissioned artwork. I wish I could feature all of the incredible Australian artists I know but that would get crazy long, so here are some of my favourites.
|| 1. Jessie Rigby || 2. Anya Brock || 3. Kate Fisher || 4. Prudence DeMarchi || 5. Adele Naidoo || 6. Tracey Mock || 7. Annie Everingham || 8. Katie Clulow || 9. Tegan Lloyd || 10. Beth Kennedy || 11. Dina Broadhurst || 12. Kimmy Hogan || 13. Jade Fisher || 14. Brent Rosenberg || 15. Sarah Kalidis || 16. Leah Bartholomew
Other handy tips!
- Canvas prints/paintings are great for areas that have lots of natural light opposite or near where they are hung. This reduces an intense reflection you would get on a framed glass print.
- If you’re set on a framed glass print, your local framer should have anti-reflective glass as an option. It’s actually very effective at reducing glare and reflections but it is a little pricier than your standard option.
- When hanging two artworks side by side I usually ask my picture hanger for a 100mm gap. The gap completely depends on the size of the pieces but it’s usually between 80-150mm.
- Miniature frames still create impact! Even though they’re small the point of difference in size creates a feature within itself, however placement is key! I would avoid hanging a Mini in the middle of a wall… Group it with other elements in the room, for example above a bedside table or next to an occasional chair.
- Artwork or photo frames can absolutely be displayed on shelves or in cabinetry. It is a great way to bring in a contrasting element and break up the use of decorative items such as books and vases.
- If you’re struggling with a room having too many pieces of artwork, consider incorporating other objects like a mirror, clock, shelves, wall decor (juju hats, straw or rattan pieces,) greenery or wall planter and woven wool hangings. This avoids using an overload of frames on the wall and introduces other shapes into the space.
- Try and disperse the type of artwork you have in one area to avoid repetition- photographic/abstract/paintings/mirrors. For example in an open plan living and dining area (where all of the walls are visible at once,) I will plan an abstract painting pair for one space. Then I would select a complimenting photographic artwork for the other wall.
- If you’re unsure on the size and scale of your artwork, you can use painters tape to mark out the shape directly on your wall. Be careful that you don’t pull your paint off though!
- Alternatively, if you’re savvy with photo editing software you can always create a mockup of the space. Photograph the empty wall and drop in, then rescale the desired artwork.
- Make sure you have weight appropriate wall plugs/fixings, especially for mirrors. You also might need to factor in whether your home is a brick or steel/drywall construction.
Well I hope all this artwork info has given you some insight into how I make refined decisions when buying and hanging artwork. Please feel free to ask any other questions below in the comments section. You might actually be able to help me out too… I’m always keen to discover new and talented artists or artwork/print suppliers to use in upcoming projects. If you have a favourite store that I haven’t listed above, please also link it in the comments section and I’ll have a sticky beak! Thanks for reading and we owe a big thank you to Homebuyers Centre WA for allowing me to share all this info with you. Thanks teammm!!
Have a wonderful week,
Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their decorator and our own building journey. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.