Some ways to cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing dis­play

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - CON­NIE OLIVER

THE paint­ings on the wall in our fea­ture liv­ing room are an eclec­tic mix to say the least. What I found most in­ter­est­ing is how they were ar­ranged for dis­play. While it may seem that they were thrown up there willynilly, there is ac­tu­ally a method to the mad­ness.

A good base

First of all, the neu­tral, taupe wall colour (which mim­ics the taupe stripes in the sofa) lends it­self nicely to the bright paint­ings and cheer­ful up­hol­stery. This earthy Du­lux wall colour makes the art­work pop while pro­vid­ing a neu­tral base for the en­tire room. The colours in the mod­ern paint­ings work well with the fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories. If one chose to use yel­low paint on the walls the paint­ings would not ap­pear as vivid as they do with a neu­tral back­ground. The next time you’re at an art gallery make note of the wall be­hind the paint­ings. It will usu­ally be a solid, flat colour so that it doesn’t de­tract from the art­work.

Cre­at­ing an in­ter­est­ing dis­play

There are sev­eral in­ter­est­ing dis­play vi­gnettes in this liv­ing room. Firstly, of course, is the in­ter­est­ing group­ing of paint­ings. The use of colour and scale is quite eye-catch­ing. You’ll no­tice that the paint­ings are hung quite low for max­i­mum im­pact. The largest one is al­most touch­ing the sofa. This is one as­pect of hang­ing art­work that will cre­ate in­stant drama; hang the items lower on the wall.

While the paint­ings are of vary­ing sizes they work well to­gether. You’ll note that the space be­tween each paint­ing is rel­a­tively the same. This is an im­por­tant rule in cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful group­ings. If you find that your wall dis­play just isn’t cut­ting it you might want to re­hang the items to en­sure even spac­ing be­tween the them.

The vin­tage 1970s pho­to­graph in the mid­dle of this vi- gnette is some­what of a sur­prise but one that still works. The les­son here is to throw in a sur­prise or two in what­ever dis­play you’re cre­at­ing. The item could be any­thing from a round wall clock to a colour­ful tex­tile. I’d prob­a­bly lean to­ward a more three-di­men­sional item like a sail­boat on a shelf or a weath­ered barn board sign.

Dis­play what you love

The ta­ble top dis­play on the side ta­ble con­tin­ues the colour scheme of blue and yel­low with its blue globe and bright yel­low ce­ramic dish. Th­ese might not be the type of items you’d nec­es­sar­ily find at­trac­tive but prob­a­bly have sen­ti­men­tal value to the home­owner. The les­son here is to dis­play what you love. Pho­tos of great va­ca­tions, items from na­ture (bird nests, seashells, drift­wood), your chil­dren’s art­work or trea­sures found while an­tique hunt­ing are all things that will put a smile on your face when dis­played in your home. It’s not just about how the room looks but also about how it makes you feel.

Ta­ble top dis­plays

Whether you want to cre­ate a dis­play on a sofa ta­ble, pi­ano or buf­fet, the rules are pretty much the same. Use scale, shape, colour, tex­ture and a lit­tle whimsy when putting your items to­gether. You have to play around with the ar­range­ment be­fore you’ll find a dis­play that works, so be pa­tient. The ar­range­ment should change pe­ri­od­i­cally to keep your decor fresh. You’ll have more suc­cess if you keep like things to­gether. Atop my old upright pi­ano are all of the small can­dle hold­ers that were once dot­ted around my home. When placed all to­gether (es­pe­cially when lit) the col­lec­tion of vary­ing styles and sizes of can­dle hold­ers comes to­gether in one har­mo­nious dis­play.


To keep open book­shelves, en­ter­tain­ment units, etc. vis­ually in­ter­est­ing you need to break up the dis­play of books with ac­ces­sories. Use vary­ing colours, shapes and fin­ishes for max­i­mum im­pact. For ex­am­ple, at the end of the top shelf you may place some­thing like a red ce­ramic vase. On the next shelf down place a fam­ily pho­to­graph more to­ward the op­po­site side of the shelf in be­tween some of the books. Place some books on their side (as book­ends) to break up the vis­ual monotony. On a lower shelf per­haps a dec­o­ra­tive wo­ven wicker ball near the mid­dle of the shelf and so on. House­plants that drape, like ivy or ferns, can pro­vide tex­ture and soft touches to a book­shelf dis­play as well. Above all, pull the books (or CDs, DVDs) to­ward the front of the cab­i­net so that the spines are near the front edge of the shelf and not all pushed to­ward the back. This will unify the over­all look and make read­ing the spines a lit­tle eas­ier.

Pretty stor­age

Items like CDs are not es­pe­cially at­trac­tive when stacked out in the open, so con­sider us­ing dec­o­ra­tive boxes to store them. This will keep them at the ready but out of sight. I found that photo stor­age boxes work well and are pretty enough to be out on dis­play on a ta­ble top or on a book­shelf. They also have lids and are fairly sturdy, which keeps the CDs pro­tected and dust-free. Stores like Win­ners usu­ally have dec­o­ra­tive boxes and other stor­age op­tions for a de­cent price. If you find stor­age boxes on sale that may not match your decor you can cover them with fab­ric or wall­pa­per so that they’ll co-or­di­nate with your room.

If you re­ally don’t know where to be­gin it’s a good idea to study dis­play vi­gnettes in mag­a­zine pho­tos or up close at restau­rants and home decor stores. The more in­ter­est­ing dis­plays that you come across the more ideas you can bring home for your space.


The key to mak­ing a space yours is to show off what you


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