Nine ways to hang art­work at home

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market -

The right art­work can pull a whole scheme to­gether, and el­e­vate a room from nice to wow. But hang­ing art can be daunt­ing, re­sult­ing in bare walls for far longer than planned.

Cather­ine O’Riordan of So Fine Art Edi­tions of­fers the gallery owner’s guide to dis­play­ing art at home.

match ev­ery­thing

Mix­ing and match­ing frames of dif­fer­ent styles will give a room a lot of per­son­al­ity. Try group­ing in­ter­est­ing frames to­gether.

“Make sure that the frames com­ple­ment each other and don’t clash,” says O’Riordan. Keep some con­sis­tency, for ex­am­ple, use all tim­ber frames or all black frames, but any shape, size and style goes.

In the paint­ings them­selves you could group a com­mon theme, such as seascapes for ex­am­ple. Or sim­i­lar colours.

is okay

“Art doesn’t have to be cen­tred,” says O’Riordan. Some­times, the op­po­site is what works best.

Try hang­ing a piece off cen­tre on a wall and bal­ance it with a floor lamp or tall plant on the other side to fill the empty space. This tech­nique works ex­cep­tion­ally well with smaller pieces.

Be­fore you hang any­thing, lay out the works on the floor and make sure you’re en­tirely happy with the fi­nal com­po­si­tion.

“Take your mea­sure­ments but don’t be afraid to use your eye to set the height. Get some­one to hold up a painting to es­tab­lish the best po­si­tion,” O’Riordan says. To plan a lay­out there are a few golden rules to find­ing the per­fect place­ment. ■ When hang­ing pieces to­gether don’t match the bot­tom or top of the frame to line them up, in­stead use the cen­tre of each art­work as your guide. O’Riordan rec­om­mends set­ting the height for the mid­point of the painting on the wall at about 1.4m to 1.5m from the floor. This guar­an­tees that you’ll avoid hang­ing your pic­ture too high. ■ When you have a long wall to fill and want to hang some com­ple­men­tary pieces to­gether, don’t be tempted to space them out to fill the wall. Typ­i­cally you should leave no more than 50mm-70mm be­tween each frame. ■ To dis­play a favourite piece, right above the sofa in the liv­in­groom is ideal since that’s where you’ll spend a lot of your time, but don’t leave too much space be­tween the bot­tom of the frame and the top of the sofa. “The gap should be ap­prox­i­mately 100mm,” says O’Riordan. ■ When hang­ing two pieces, one on top of the other, the trick is to treat them as one piece and keep the gap be­tween them to about 50mm. Take into ac­count the to­tal height, in­clud­ing the space be­tween the frames, and cen­tre the com­po­si­tion as a whole. For paint­ings or other works that are too tall to hang on a cen­tre line, it of­ten works to place them around 400mm off the floor.

a gallery wall

A gallery or sa­lon wall is where the en­tire wall space is filled with pic­tures. It’s a lovely way of group­ing a mix of types and sizes of art- work. When faced with a large blank wall, it can be tempt­ing to go for a gallery wall but a sit­tin­groom or din­ing space re­quires more of a fo­cal point so is bet­ter suited to a state­ment piece.

Cut out the shapes of pic­tures for hang­ing and ex­per­i­ment with var­i­ous place­ments. Start with a cen­tral, dom­i­nant image and ra­di­ate the other pieces out around it. Keep­ing to pieces with sim­i­lar frames works par­tic­u­larly well for fam­ily pho­tos.

is more

“Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to fill ev­ery wall in your home,” says O’Riordan. “Start with a few pieces and build on that over time.” By in­tro­duc­ing too many pieces you lessen the im­pact and risk the space feel­ing clut­tered.

art­work to pull your room to­gether “Pick up a pattern in ab­stract art and echo it in your cush­ions or up­hol­stery,” sug­gests O’Riordan. Us­ing your art­work as a start­ing point for your colour scheme will give your room a very con­sid­ered and uni­fied feel.

“Fam­ily pho­tos are okay but don’t overdo it,” says O’Riordan. Choose your ab­so­lute favourites and hang them in a group.

If you don’t have much wall space or you are ner­vous about com­mit­ting, there are other ways to dis­play art than merely hang­ing it – pic­ture rails are a great idea, and be­cause you are not ham­mer­ing nails into the walls, it al­lows you to ro­tate pieces and try out dif­fer­ent looks with­out dam­ag­ing your walls.

Another ex­cel­lent idea is to dis­play pieces on shelves.

to buy

Art doesn’t have to be ex­pen­sive. “Look out for emerg­ing artists. This is a great way to get paint­ings at an ex­cel­lent price,” says O’Riordan.

“Go to the grad­u­ate shows and keep track of peo­ple you like.”

Fine art prints are a great way to get your hands on orig­i­nal art­work at an af­ford­able price. There’s a lot of con­fu­sion about prints says O’Riordan. They are orig­i­nal art­works and not re­pro­duc­tions, she ex­plains.

Unique works on pa­per are another af­ford­able op­tion as they are less ex­pen­sive than paint­ings.

“Gal­leries of­ten ac­cept pay­ments in in­stal­ments so although it might take you longer to own the piece, if it is some­thing you love, it can make it more achiev­able,” says O’Riordan.

help is­sues

Don’t be afraid to ask ques­tions and get ad­vice. “Many gal­leries pro­vide an ex­cel­lent con­sul­tancy ser­vice ad­vis­ing on all as­pects of pur­chas­ing, col­lect­ing and fram­ing, with de­liv­ery and in­stal­la­tion of­ten in­cluded,” says O’Riordan. Many gal­leries will also al­low you to take a piece home on trial to see if it works in your room.

Fi­nally, “only buy what you love”, says O’Riordan. A piece that res­onates with you will pro­vide enjoyment ev­ery time you look at it. Denise O’Con­nor is an ar­chi­tect and de­sign con­sul­tant @op­ti­misedesign

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