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Make Your House a Work of Art

Surround yourself with things that elicit joy

By Patty Hutchens

When it comes to our homes, we like to do what we can to personalize it and make it a true reflection of ourselves. What better way to do that than through the art we choose to place on our walls? Art, in any form, can evoke strong emotions and can bring joy to our lives—whether it is a painting of a special place with fond memories, photos of our family and friends or even something as simple as our children’s artwork.

There aren’t a lot of “dos and don’ts” when it comes to decorating your walls, unlike when choosing furniture and paint color. Art is a place to express yourself through color, content and texture. And remember, art is not just about choosing wall hangings; it can include sculptures and rugs as well.

Before you begin, decide what “look” is most appealing to you. Do you like to display your art in neat rows? Or do you want it to be eclectic with no real rhyme or reason to how it is presented? Once you decide on the type of arrangement you would like, then you can decide upon your starting point. This will be the focal point, or the anchor, to your other pieces, so pick something that reflects a feeling you want to echo throughout the room. Perhaps it is a piece of art you have had a long time, or you may want to purchase something new. Many people choose to have one large piece of art as opposed to other smaller pieces around an anchor piece. This can make a large impact when displayed in a prominent area.

Some of the best art is often the least expensive and provokes a sentimental feeling. Kids’ artwork is something that parents love to save. But what good is it if you stick it away in a box only to discover it years later when cleaning out storage boxes or getting ready to move? Preserve their artwork in a frame for all to enjoy!

There are also several inexpensive ways to display your favorite photographs. Groupon frequently offers coupon deals to turn your digital photos into canvas prints. It’s a great way to preserve memories and display photos of family trips, senior pictures and photos of grandparents and other loved ones.

Interior Designer Nikki Luttmann states that for gallery walls, try to group “like with like.”

“Black-and-white prints look great with other black-and-white prints. Gold-framed oil paintings look great with other gold-framed oil paintings. If, however, your collection is a little more eclectic, that's OK too,” she says. But whether you choose a more formal arrangement with symmetry and a coordinating theme or an informal arrangement with an eclectic blend of artwork displayed randomly, be sure to space out the different elements equally on your gallery wall, paying close attention to how far apart things are.

Nikki recommends a sure-fire way to guarantee everything will look good is to lay it all out on the floor ahead of time. “Another trick is to use blue painter's tape to mask where items go on your walls. This lets you clearly see the layout even before getting out your hammer.”

Also, the right tools are important. For art hanging, you will need nails, hooks, a hammer, a pencil, blue tape, a tape measure and—most importantly—a level. “There's nothing worse than hanging a heavy piece of art or a mirror on your walls only to find out it hangs two inches too high on one side,” says Nikki.

She shares that she recently learned of Command wall-hanging solutions, a 3M product, which rely on a high-powered adhesive to adhere your art to the walls.

“Because you are not putting actual holes in your walls, it can feel a little less daunting to do a gallery wall if you use Command strips.” It can also be helpful if you are one who likes to change things up often.

One of the most common mistakes Nikki sees is artwork that it is hung too high. “When placing your art, the rule of thumb for galleries and art museums is that the center of the piece hangs at about eye-level, if possible,” recommends Nikki. “If you are very petite or very tall, this can be a little hard to determine, but figure the center of the piece to be at about 5 feet off the ground for a professional look.”

Other ways you can group things together is to incorporate a picture ledge onto your wall. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to display your art collection. Whether you opt for a single ledge or decide to group them, they're the perfect solution to fill a blank space.

If you are trying to brighten up a smaller room, hanging a mirror can catch light and help “expand” the room. There are many different decorative mirrors available, allowing you to find most anything to fit the style you are looking for!

When decorating your walls, don’t forget about greenery. By placing a tall potted plant next to a piece of large-scale wall art, it can help bring the outside indoors and add interest to a specific area you wish to accentuate.

Whatever you choose, the goal is to find something that makes you happy.

“The best way to decide if something is right for your walls is if you love it. Remember, your home is a reflection of who you are—your likes and dislikes,” says Nikki. “Artwork is very personal and evokes emotion like nothing else in your home, so by hanging art you truly love, your space will feel uniquely ‘you.’”

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