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Interiors

Design Direction: Expect the Unexpected… How to Style Art Like a Pro

Working in the art photography business, it’s no secret that we’ve run into our fair share of art hanging problems… and we know we’re not the only ones! Basically if you own a wall and a piece of art, you’ve probably run into this same dilemma at one point or another, and wondered how to make that art piece shine in a space that seems to be working against you. Whether your struggle is furniture that gets in the way of wall space, awkwardly placed windows, or just that one room that you can’t figure out how to decorate, our design contributor Kate Lester is solving all our art-hanging woes below. Keep scrolling for the low-down on how to style art and photography in unexpected places, and get that hammer and nail ready! (Or don’t. You’ll see what we mean…) Take it away, Kate…

Photo by Amy Bartlam

By the time I was in my early to mid-twenties I had started to amass a pretty substantial collection of actual art pieces. Now, I am not talking Rothko or Picasso here, but these were pieces that I had found at flea markets, bought online, or pillaged from my mom’s house that were NOT: A) prints from Ikea, B) any kind of poster, or C) decal word art (which should actually be outlawed anyway). The only problem with my tiny collection of art was that I had an even tinier studio apartment. I realize that for many of you this is a common problem, but don’t fret. Today I am here to teach you how to take that growing collection and showcase it in new and inspiring ways all throughout your home. And I mean, everywhere! (Looking at you, laundry room.)

START WITH UNEXPECTED SPACES

Photo by Lauren Pressey

 

One of my favorite places to display cool art is in the bathroom. YES, the bathroom. Please don’t limit your selections for the bathroom to include pictures of bathtubs or instructions on how to wash one’s hands. We get it, we are in the bathroom. So, instead, give that often-neglected and uninspired space some style with a piece of art. Often I like to do something oversized, that makes a bold statement as soon as you walk in. Another favorite spot for art is the laundry room. If you have to wash socks in there you might was well do it in the presence of something that makes you smile or brings you joy. In the laundry I like to add pops of color, or even something cheeky (*ahem* insert actual “cheeky” nude beach print here…).

ABOVE A NIGHTSTAND

Photo by Lauren Pressey

I feel like people are always hesitant when I suggest hanging an oversized piece of art above their bed. Hmm, I wonder why? Does this mean I give up and forgo art on the headboard wall altogether? Absolutely not. I have solved this pesky people-hate-art-above-their-head-while-they-are-sleeping dilemma by incorporating art above the nightstands instead. This concept works best when you have a diptych that you can split and showcase by hanging one on each side of the bed about eight to ten inches above the nightstands. Just adjust the pieces by moving up or out accordingly if you have bedside lamps so that at least most of the piece is showing.

LEAN AND LAYER ON FURNITURE

Photo by Lauren Pressey

 

No wall space? No problem. One of my favorite tricks of the trade is to lean and layer art on top of a piece of furniture. Gather two or three pieces of varying sizes and frame finishes. I also like to mix the media I am displaying. Photographs pair well with abstracts, and watercolors always look nice with framed textiles. If you live in earthquake country or have a toddler, you can even secure the pieces to the wall with picture hanging wire and museum putty.   

ON WALLS WITH WEIRD WINDOWS

Photo by Lauren Pressey

Anyone have a house with those long and high transom-style windows? If you had assumed that this kind of architectural craziness meant crushing your art-hanging dreams, you are wrong. This is just another perfect opportunity to break more design rules! Hang pieces under the windows, between the windows, or even above the windows if you have the space. I often prefer showcasing a smaller, single piece in a space like this, as the negative space surrounding it makes it that much more dramatic.

SHELF IT

You know how I am always talking about styling shelves and perfecting your #shelfie game? Well, adding art is the easiest way to take your bookcases to the next level. I usually select a piece that’s slightly smaller than the opening between shelves and lean it in against the back. Layering books and found objects in front will ground the piece and give it depth and texture. If you are really feeling brave, you can combine this tip and tip #2 (layering art) and you will really get a gold star.

Now that I have armed you with all of the information you need to style your art like a pro, go out and get some more! Remember, art can be anything that speaks to you, as long as you make it yours and showcase it with pride.

Photo by Amy Bartlam

What topic would you like to see our designers cover next here on the blog?

Kate’s tips and tricks never cease to amaze us… and teach us something, too! To soak in more of her sage design wisdom, make sure to follow her on Instagram and visit her website.

 

Xx Team GM


Photos: Amy Bartlam & Lauren Pressey

 

 

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