No matter how well designed a room is or how stunning the furniture, wall color or window treatments are, without artwork, the room looks unfinished. Wall decor is one of those little details that has the power to pull together an entire space. It’s also a key way to inject personal elements and items that tell your story! Going without artwork is a mistake. Yet, in an effort to avoid bare walls, people often decorate with artwork they already have or they buy something new after the space has been designed. The result isn’t always cohesive and doesn’t always seem curated. Here are some more effective ways we love to include artwork in our clients’ spaces:
Use Artwork as the Design Inspiration for a Space – We start every design with an inspiration piece. Maybe it’s a beloved antique the homeowner already has or, perhaps, it’s a gorgeous fabric we find. However, more often than not, it’s artwork! When we see a piece that really makes a statement, we can use it to inform the color scheme, soft furnishings, other accessories and details. The artwork above would be amazing to use as the inspiration for a design!
Create Your Own Artwork – Sometimes, we’ll find a print or a photo our client loves and then look for a frame for it after. We’ve scored some fantastic frames online that are inexpensive. For example, Iris saw the artwork in the photo above (much bigger, of course) at the Phoenix Children’s Museum and was intrigued by it. She wrote down the name of the artist, googled her and bought an affordable canvas online. Since it was so small, she then purchased the wide gold frame to complement it. Adding a traditional skinnier frame and mat to make it bigger would have been boring in this case.
Make a Collage – We’re big fans of putting together gallery walls that incorporate items our clients love. It’s a simple way to create a meaningful, personal collage. To make it cohesive, we stick with a single concept or a color scheme. In the top gallery wall photo, we went with a red and gold color scheme. The flamingo on the left was purchased as a print and we took it to our custom frame shop where we chose a red mat and skinny gold frame. The dog is an authentic oil painting found at an antique store and the angels are actually a souvenir from visiting the Vatican. In the second photo, we tied together these beautiful vintage prints with matching black and gold frames all in the same size. The gallery wall pictured in the third image has a unifying theme. The framed artwork depicts historic Philadelphia where our client’s brownstone is located.
Don’t Forget to Layer – In the first example above, the hooks were purchased on Etsy to correspond in length to the artwork. They add functionality to a front entrance because guests can hang things on them but, in the interim, they’re a perfect spot to display an old pair of spurs that are no longer used. Adding three-dimensional, non-art items into your art collection like these hooks or things like a small rug can add interest and personality. Or, hang shelves to display specific pieces. In one of our client’s spaces we went completely 3D with an antique door to define the space and baskets. In the dining room above, we mixed artwork with items like a bird cage and mirror for an eclectic look.
Separate the Art from the Frame – We think of the art and the frame as two separate pieces. Maybe you have artwork that’s stunning but it’s in an ugly frame. Simply have the piece reframed. Or, if you see inexpensive prints or art pieces in gorgeous frames, buy them just for the frame. In the case of a very old, ornate frame, it can be fun to repaint it in a glossy black or an actual color. In the example above featuring the plates and black frame, the frame belonged to a very dated print. We kept the frame but found a new print in the same dimensions.
Think Outside of the Box (or Frame!) – Above one of our client’s fireplaces, we used one high-quality photo of a waterfall but then framed it in pieces to create a long, vertical piece of art. The second example above (not by us) shows the approach in action without the blur. It’s a fun way to do something different, particularly if the client is an aspiring photographer or we happen to stumble upon a great photo.
If you need help pulling your space together with impactful details, schedule a consultation with Ella Design Group! From artwork to custom pieces, we know just the elements to add to create a one-of-a-kind, beautiful space.