When it’s time to decorate blank walls and floors, or change them up, it can be hard to know how to do it well. Anyone can hang a picture or unroll a rug, but are you doing it right? Is your art in the right place? Is the rug in the right spot? Here’s our guide to handling artwork and rugs the right way.
Make your gallery work
Choose the right spot. Consider the size, style, and subject matter of your artwork when deciding where to hang it. Select a location that complements the piece and enhances its visual impact.
Easy on the eyes. Hang your artwork at eye level, typically around 57 to 60 inches from the floor. Find the middle of the artwork—this is where it should be placed at eye level. “Hang smaller and larger sizes all with the same height as the middle,” says Samantha Ring, decorator at Castle Furniture. “That way it creates continuity in your space and your eyes are not bouncing around the room. That is how galleries hang artwork in shows that are a variety of sizes.” She also says that if there is a couch underneath larger artwork, hang the painting as close to eye level as possible, and the piece can be five to six inches above the couch.
Work together. If you have multiple pieces, experiment with different arrangements. Group artwork with a similar theme or colour scheme to create a cohesive display. Consider using templates or arranging the art on the floor first to plan the layout before hanging.
Light it up. Proper lighting can enhance the beauty of your artwork. Use track lighting, picture lights, or even natural light to highlight the pieces and create a focal point.
Balance matters. Create a sense of balance by evenly distributing artwork throughout your space. Aim for symmetry or a visually pleasing arrangement that complements the overall aesthetic of the room.
Mix it up. Don't be afraid to mix different sizes and mediums of artwork. Combining paintings, photographs, and prints can add depth and visual interest to your walls.
Get framed. Choose frames and matting that enhance the artwork. “Select a frame that will complement and relate to the colours used in the artwork. If there is black in the painting that is a good choice for a frame,” says Samantha. “Also, notice the thickness of the frame. If the style of the artwork has thicker bold brushstrokes then a chunkier frame will work. If the artwork is realistic with fine detail then choose a thinner frame to complement it.”
Be bold. Explore unconventional areas for displaying art, such as hallways, stairwells, or even the bathroom. These unexpected locations can add a unique touch to your home. “The size of artwork is so important for it to work for your space,” says Samantha. “Smaller detailed paintings work well on shorter walls or in bathrooms because you can get up close to view it.”
Know the space. Think about the room's decor, colour scheme, and overall ambiance when selecting and placing artwork. Ensure that the art works with the surrounding elements.
Make it yours. Display artwork that speaks to you personally and reflects your taste and interests. Additionally, consider changing out your artwork to keep your space fresh.
Under your feet
Just like your walls, your floors can be a great spot to add design elements with rugs. Placing rugs in your home can enhance the visual appeal and comfort of your space.
Start with colour. “When I decorate a room with an area rug I look for similar colours as the furniture. For instance, in a living room, use an area rug that has the same colours as the sofa or sectional and the accent chair as well as any artwork,” says Samantha. “This will tie in all the elements and harmonize the space. Plus, look for toss cushions with a colour that's also in the rug and accent chair.”
Define the area. Use rugs to define specific areas within a room. Place a rug under a dining table or in a seating arrangement to create a visual boundary and anchor the furniture.
Size and scale. Consider the size and scale of the room and furniture when choosing a rug. A large room can accommodate a larger rug, while a smaller room may benefit from a smaller or medium-sized rug.
Lay it well. In living rooms, position the rug so that the front legs of sofas and chairs are on the rug while the back legs are off. This creates a cohesive and unified seating arrangement. In your bedroom, place a rug under the bed, extending it beyond the sides and foot of the bed. This creates a soft and cozy surface for your feet when you wake up.
Welcome home. Choose a durable rug that can withstand high traffic and consider the size and shape that best fits the space. In hallways, opt for runner rugs to add colour and texture. Ensure that the runner covers a significant portion of the hallway to create visual continuity.
Layer it up. Experiment with layering rugs for a stylish and dynamic look. Combine rugs of different textures, patterns, and sizes to add depth and visual interest to your space.