Updated: June 2, 2021
Choosing artwork to hang on the walls can be intimidating, especially if you want to create a grouping with art. How do you know what “works” together on a wall? How do you pull the look of a room together, including art?
I’ve shared posts here on the blog with tips for artwork, like these two posts: How to Choose Art for Your Home (+ Favorite Art Sources), and 10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls (more in depth on why I choose certain art and placements).
Because it’s a question I get often, I wanted to share 3 common decorating mistakes or challenges when displaying artwork (and will show you a couple of fun art mood inspiration boards, too!).
Of course, art is so personal and there is not a “one size fits all” rule for decorating, if you ask me. I’ve seen amazing gallery art walls that break all the rules and I LOVE THEM! I hope you find these tips helpful as guidelines, but above all, do what you love! Find what works in your home and makes YOU happy!
Also in this post, don’t miss the buy one get one free art print sale and mood boards with pretty art combinations!
Here are 3 common decorating mistakes people often make with displaying artwork:
- Using all small artwork
Choosing art in varied sizes, shapes and scales and including larger pieces will provide more visual interest than many small frames. If you feel like your room is too busy, look for oversized art that can make a statement without adding visual clutter.
2. Displaying too much artwork with quotes or words
Art displaying a quote or words can make graphic statement in a room. But too many quotes or words displayed on every wall can make you feel like you’re being shouted at from around the room. Many words in a room (on the wall or even pillows, for example) also can create a frantic mood because your eyes won’t know where to land (they are busy darting around the room trying to read all the things).
I prefer a room where art and design contributes to the overall mood but doesn’t overwhelm you with too many thoughts or competing elements. Words can be so meaningful though, so if you feel like you should pare down, pick your favorite piece and make that message a focal statement on the wall.
3. Not creating a cohesive design and color palette
Art can be a wonderful complement to your entire room and color palette, or it can make the room feel very disjointed. Think about your room as a whole, using the artwork as an opportunity to pull the room’s design, mood and color scheme together. Or use art to punch up the impact of one favorite hue to make a bolder color statement. To make a color splash, start with a palette that feels cohesive and pleasing through your accessories, furniture, and even plants/flowers. Then choose one favorite color from your palette for a statement art piece that will bring the room to life (and help bring your eye around the room to where that color appears in smaller doses!). Ideally, repeat your statement color three times around the room in smaller doses.
Be sure to consider the design of each of your art pieces for a wall or that you plan to have around the room, too, so you can pull together groupings that will make a pleasing statement overall. Varied pieces of art can be tied together with a unified color scheme.
We made a couple of art mood boards that you can see, below!
By the way, I stumbled on a wonderful art sale going on right now! Buy one get one free Rifle Paper Co art prints — ends 3/24.
I thought it would be fun to create two mood boards that show art pairings that I think work well together in a room (using some of the Rifle Paper art prints that are on sale right now!), as well as share a few tips on why they work.
For the mood board above, there are varied subjects with the botanical print, a portrait with the words “C’est la vie”, a landscape (Paris), and a print with small simple objects (bobby pins). The color palette of black and white with pops or red/orange tie this varied grouping together. The statement phrase sets a whimsical mood for the art and space as well! Note that red/orange is also reflected in the rug, so this palette will have a pleasing effect in the room.
For the mood board above, we paired a floral, quote, a detailed house landscape/pattern print, and a simple ostrich print. The house/landscape print pulls together a color scheme for the room. The sage green color, blues, black and tan work well together. The light green pillow on the sofa pulls out a statement color from the art and helps bring the eye around the room in a pleasing way. The rug and sofa are neutrals that let the art in this space be more in focus!
Sources for above: Sofa // Faux Green Leaf Tree // The World is Your Oyster Art Print // Sage Green Daisies Art Print // House Pattern Art Print // Ostrich Art Print // Green Pillow // Leather Storage Ottoman // Gold Shade Floor Lamp // Indoor Outdoor Natural Stripe Rug //
For more decorating tips, see my book But Where Do I Put The Couch? And Answers to 100 Other Home Decorating Questions.