Copyright 2006 Melissa Galt
Your decorating isn’t complete until you add the finish and polish on your rooms. In part 1 of this series, we touched on ideas and sources for some wonderful window treatments, awesome accessories and collectibles. In this second and final part, we’ll address how to incorporate delightful artwork to add personality and character to your interior.
When it comes to artwork, original is usually preferred. Sure it is easy to find a mass produced print that will coordinate with your decor but that lacks inspiration and creativity. Besides, good art never matches your sofa! Consider the myriad of galleries specializing in local artists’ work or even regional Southern artists. All manner of styles, subject matter and price points ($25 - $5000+) are readily available. There is never a guarantee of increase in value in art, and it tends to be difficult to sell second hand, so purchase from your heart, not your wallet. Most galleries (the better ones) will let you check out pieces for 24-48 hours on approval. This makes decisions much easier, so always ask.
Don’t be concerned about creating an eclectic mix. Since you are the constant in the collecting, usually the pieces you select will all work together. Consider buying in odd numbers, again, to keep the dynamic up. And, if you can, limit yourself to no more than three pieces by any given artist, as you may be out of wall space and money when you discover your next favorite! The key to effective hanging of pictures is the height. Determine the height, based on the activity of the room. If it is a foyer, you are likely standing, so the middle of the picture should be eye level for standing. If it is the dining room, you are usually sitting, so lower the artwork to a more appropriate height. This may feel strange at first. Give it a week or two, and you’ll adjust.
In many cases artwork is best served by light outside mats and wider moldings (framing). Colored mats can distract from the image, and poorly proportioned framing won’t give the piece the proper emphasis. You’ll also find that, as mentioned with accessories, it can be of greatest success to hang all gold frames together on one wall, silver on another and the like. This deemphasizes the framing and provides maximum focus on the art. Frame for the art, not the room, because you may move the piece later. Framing is an investment in the life of the piece and when done properly will not have to be redone. Do it right the first time.
Be aware, too, that some images are room specific. In other words, they tend to feel more appropriate in a bedroom setting than the dining room or vice versa. Fruit and vegetables imagery is often relegated to the dining room or kitchen, landscapes are frequently found in living rooms, angelic and cherubic subjects are usually in bedrooms when used. How much art you have is largely personal. Some like very little empty wall space, others like just a handful of pieces in almost a museum like setting. Always hang pairs or suites of images together, or else they’ll appear stranded. Group pictures together using similar spacing and keeping either the top or bottom height consistent to avoid a chaotic look. Remember, you want to notice the pictures, not the way they are hung.
Some of the best resources for original art north of the Perimeter are Raiford Gallery, Heaven Blue Rose, Gallery V, Main Street Gallery, Sandra Milton Gallery, Spruill Art Gallery, and Shiki at Perimeter Mall. Again, there’s something for everyone and for all ages.
In personalizing your home, take your time and have fun with it. If you are more inclined to get it all done at once and don’t know where to start, call a qualified design professional. Their expertise and guidance can be invaluable, and many work by the hour, both consulting and sourcing. Your home is your castle, your haven, your place to enjoy. Make the most of it!
Author: Melissa Galt