There’s an art to displaying pictures in your home.

Here are some tips from property and interiors journalist Sharon Dale.

Putting art into your home is a very good idea, especially if you live in a newly-built property. Pictures, prints, posters and photographs add character and help personalise your space. Choosing well is vital so follow the golden rule and go for what you love… always.

Vintage picture on a two tone wall in Farrow and Ball colours
Vintage picture on a two tone wall in Farrow and Ball colours
 

Here are some more tips:


Placement is important. The most common mistake is hanging pictures too high. You should be able to see them without looking up.

Don’t overwhelm a room with too much art or it will end up looking like a gallery and the pictures will compete for attention, which is not relaxing. Try and keep a couple of walls art free.

Think big. An average-size print can look amazing in a large frame.  Beware of hanging a small picture on a big wall as it will look lonely and lost. Bigger is almost always better.

Collections. Be very careful about grouping lots of pictures together as it can look very messy. It can work well on stairs and landings and looks more unified if you use the same frames and images by the same artist. If you are displaying a collection of photographs, then black and white prints look infinitely better than colour.

My favourite frames at the moment are the double-sided glass ones by Decorator’s Notebook, pictured here, and they look great hung randomly, otherwise keep the tops of the frames in a straight line and work down leaving the same distance between each picture.

Double-sided glass frames, from £14.95, from Decorator’s Notebook
Double-sided glass frames, from £14.95, from Decorator’s Notebook

It’s tempting to buy art because it matches your colour scheme. This is a safe option but not the most impactful one. Instead, try something in contrasting colours. You’ll be surprised how it stands out, in a good way. You can always pick up some of the colours in the picture in other accessories, such as cushions, flowers and ceramics.

If you are hanging pictures on the wall then make sure you do it properly. Don’t use stick-on hooks. Look at YouTube for “How to” guides.

Album frames, £7 each. Urban Outfitters
Album frames, £7 each. Urban Outfitters

Don’t hang precious artwork in the bathroom or in the kitchen – the moisture can damage it.

Original art is always worth saving up for but if you are on a tight budget then check out artist and maker fairs in your local area. The Affordable Art Fair in London is also a good hunting ground and has work from £40 upwards. Universities and art colleges often have graduate shows where young artists sell their work – you never know you might just pick up a piece by the next Damien Hirst.

DIY. It’s sacrilege, I know, but I often cut pictures out of art books and frame them. I justify it by thinking that at least I am getting maximum enjoyment from the book, rather than leaving it shut up on a shelf for most of its life. I also frame posters – try allposters.co.uk for a good selection - and old Ordnance Survey maps featuring favourite places. Oh yes, and I have a few Hockneys in postcard form and they look lovely in photo frames.

Solar system print, £45, from Habitat.
Solar system print, £45, from Habitat.

Try to use a professional framer if possible. If you can’t afford to then check out Ikea – they do some great contemporary frames. Wilko also has an inexpensive selection. Charity shops are another place to look, especially if you want vintage style.

Mix it up. Art doesn’t have to be pictures.  A collection of plates can look fantastic hung on a wall. My favourites are from Anthropologie. I also have some of my favourite album covers in frames along the stairway. Urban Outfitters have LP frames for £7 each. Also, look out for decorative rugs and fabric wall hangings – very 1970s, which is on trend again this year.

Plumology plates from Anthropologie
Plumology plates from Anthropologie

Publish date: 21/03/2017