“Art doesn’t need to be priceless or exotic to create warmth and personality. It just has to be meaningful,” designer Kevin O’Brien says. Here are his tips for displaying it with style:
- Try displaying many pieces of artwork in similar frames and mats and hanging them together as a collection. This is a gallery trick; when everything is framed in a similar way, the viewer pays more attention to the items in the frames than to the frames themselves.
- Hang or display three-dimensional items in combination with framed two-dimensional art. In O’Brien’s kitchen, a framed print by a Providence artist is grouped with a wire sculpture he found discarded in an old painting studio. It creates visual interest but still feels composed.
- Don’t be afraid to move art around. O’Brien always keeps a small tub of touch-up paint and lightweight spackle on hand so that he doesn’t have to worry about putting holes in the walls. “It’s amazing how moving a piece around a home can give it a whole new life,” he says.
- The height of artwork in a room should relate to the use of the room. In a hallway (where people are standing), hang artwork higher, so that the most important pieces are at eye level. In a dining or living room, set the center of the main pieces at eye level for people who are seated.
- Put large-scale art in small bathrooms and hallways. It sounds counterintuitive, but it makes small spaces feel more exciting and “forces” interaction with the art.
- Stack artwork vertically on walls, with the largest piece at eye level and smaller pieces above or below. It accentuates the height of your ceilings.