October 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm , by Sara Dayton
As a recent transplant to New York City, one of the most exciting things about my new apartment was deciding where to hang all of my favorite pieces of artwork. Getting everything up on the walls was the first step in making my new digs feel like me. Although my bare walls were daunting, I’m happy to report that they’re now adorned with some of my favorite things.
Here are some tips and tricks I picked up during the decorating process.
1. Bring a friend. Aside from the usefulness of a second pair of hands, a friend who can offer suggestions and unexpected ideas is a huge help. And if they happen to be a whiz at home decorating, all the better.
2. Plan ahead. Decide where everything goes before you start making holes in your walls. There’s nothing worse than hanging a photo and then realizing it would look great in an arrangement in another room. I like to leave my artwork leaning against the walls for a few days so I can think about how it will look and feel in the spot I’ve picked.
3. Consider scale. You don’t want to hang a small painting on a huge wall, and vice versa. This is where a friend comes in handy–have them hold the painting up on the wall so you can get an idea of how it will look. And work with the shape of the wall. A set of frames hung vertically draws the eye upward, while a horizontal row of photos can elongate a wall.
4. Experiment with arrangements. If you have a bunch of small pieces, try hanging them together. Lay them out on the floor or use kraft paper cutouts of each frame to play around with different layouts. Pieces with similar colors, subjects, or styles play well together. Be sure to hang them close together so they form a coherent group.
5. Get height right. Avoid hanging something too low or too high (you don’t want visitors craning their necks to check out your art). To get it just right, check out the Stellars Gallery guide to the nuts and bolts of hanging.
How you hang something reflects your taste as much as what you hang, so find creative display ideas that showcase your style. Try mixing objects–vintage iron pieces, china, baskets, etc.–with your art. Or let them stand on their own, like stylist Emily Henderson did with the Red Cross flag above her sofa. Most importantly, have fun! Make sure you enjoy the process as much as you will the end result.
Top photo by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan via Apartment Therapy.
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