Wall art can transform a room. It can take it to the next level, make it more personal or add humour to a space. Whatever you're trying to achieve it's likely you'll be able to achieve it through wall art. But where do you start if you don't find yourself particularly arty? Or if you simply want a second opinion.
If you want to get more familiar with the different types of wall art, want to know a little more about the art of hanging wall art or looking for alternative ways to display your wall art then this is the place for you.
Everything we mention in our NABO guides are things we've tried and tested ourselves. We like the mindset that there are no strict rules when it comes to decorating, but we do believe some things work better than others and we're here to help you avoid some of the mistakes we did when we first started out.
Let's talk about wall art, shall we?
Different types of wall art
8 things to consider when hanging wall art
Hanging artworks can be a time consuming process, especially if you haven't thought it through. Making holes in the wall only to find out it doesn't work is tiring. Even though we're all for the go with your gut-approach, there are some things that you should keep in mind when hanging artwork to make it easier.
1. Does it will fit in with the surroundings
The most important thing is to make sure the artwork will fit in well with the other things in the room. We don't mean this in a matchy-matchy way, but it needs to suit your taste and style. What we want is colours and materials that compliment each other rather than working against each other.
2. Consider how you want to display it
There are many ways to display artwork in your home. Some are more permanent and others make room for more flexibility. The traditional way is to hang it on the wall, but you could also use a photo ledge, place it on the floor leaning against the wall or group it together with other artworks.
3. Find the perfect spot
Try moving the artwork around in the room before you hang it to see where it would look the best. When you’ve found the wall you want to display it on try to move it around on the wall as well. Make sure it feels part of the room and not hung randomly (unless that's the look you're after). Is the size and shape of the artwork right for the room?
This is something I always consider when placing artwork as well as furniture in my home. I give my Danish roots credit for that. Living in a country with very long winters it’s important to light your home properly. Consider if you’ll have to install a light close to your artwork to make the most of it - it's a shame if you cant see it properly.
5. This has also to do with light
It’s important considering if the place you choose to display your artwork will make a potential threat to the piece itself. If you display your artwork close to a window it’s often worth investing in a frame with UV glass so the light doesn’t damage the artwork.
6. What about the bathroom?
Every wall is a potential gallery. We’re often focussing on decorating our living room or bedroom when really every room and nook in your home is a potential gallery. Have you considered hanging a piece of art in your kitchen? On your door? Or in your bathroom?
7. How will you take care of your artwork
If you hang an artwork in your bathroom you’ll need to protect it as humidity is art’s worst enemy. Our best advice is to speak to a professional picture framer who can frame your artwork to suit the room you want to hang it in.
8. Decide on your own set of rules
Decide whether you want to follow the same “rules” in terms of hanging height etc throughout your home or if you want it to be more “free” and have a gut feeling-approach. Remember it’s all the little details that make a home homely so don’t be afraid to follow your own set of rules. Especially when it comes to decorating.
8 brilliant ways to display artwork
When you decorate a room there are many things to consider and how you want to display your artwork is often an afterthought, the very last thing on your mind. The way you display your artwork have a huge impact on the way the artwork is perceived. Instead of just going for the traditional way try to have a little fun and think of new ways you could display your artwork. Below are a handful of suggestions.
1. On the wall
This is the good old-fashioned way to hang art in your home. If it’s done right it can transform the whole room. Having a piece of art hanging by itself creates a more minimalistic feel than grouping different works of art together. It's about finding out what look you're after.
2. On a background
A little spin on the traditional way to hang art is to do something with the background. It could either be by adding an elegant colour, a pattern you like, fabric, or using wallpaper to make a statement. The most important thing here is to choose a background that complement the artwork - not one that work against it.
3. Double row art shelves
Using art shelves is an easy way to arrange art different pieces of art. One of the benefits of hanging art this way is that it is super flexible and easy to re-arrange if you change your mind. You can make it fresh to look at very quickly by moving things around or adding something new to the shelves. It's also a good way if you're renting your home because you avoid too many holes in the walls.
Don’t be afraid to add many pieces, little things and different sized artworks to the shelves as it’s all part of making it personal. One tip is to find shelves that doesn’t take too much focus from the things you're putting on the shelves. A slim shelf will add some balance to a busy wall.
4. Use clips for a more relaxed look
Using a clip is a super cheap way to decorate with art and it is also very flexible. In the same way as the art shelves it allows you to quickly change the artworks on your wall, but one of the benefits of using clips is that you can easily move it somewhere else without having to think about much else.
However, I wouldn’t recommend using clips if it’s an artwork you really love as it could be easily damaged if you don't protect the artwork with a frame. If you don't worry too much about the artwork, using clips creates a raw look in a room. Give it a go if you’re willing to take the risk or try it with artworks you care a little less about.
5. Leaning against a wall
This is a popular way to display art if you’re renting your place or if you would like the opportunity to change the layout on a more frequent basis. The frame protects the artwork as opposed to using clips and it gives a cool laid back look. Try stacking it up on a pile of books or on a small side table.
6. Hang it side by side
Hanging art side by side is a modern take on the gallery wall. Whereas gallery walls are known from museums where different sized pictures and frames cover a wall this method is a little more simple. You simply hang a row of pictures that you like with their frames touching each other.
Again, think about the look you're after. By choosing the same type of frame and size you move in a more calm and minimalistic direction whereas if you choose different frames and sizes it make the arrangement look more spontaneous.
7. Mix objects
Another take on the minimalistic gallery wall is to mix it up with different objects such as mirrors, empty frames and souvenirs. The easiest way to do this is to start creating the wall piece by piece. Place the biggest piece close to or in the center of the wall and work from there.
8. Use your bookshelf
This works well with smaller pieces and adds something a little different to your bookshelf. Placing art in an unexpected way gives an unpretentious look - something that we like a lot.
Photo credit: Kristina Krogh
Why art should be your starting point
Art is often dealt with as an afterthought. And the truth is, that it can be difficult to find something that truly tugs at your heart, especially if you have to follow certain restrictions to make sure it will fit in well after you've decorated your space.
It's worth looking at the decorating process differently. Instead of finding art that fit in with your furniture you could use artworks as your starting point. We've noticed that it makes it a lot easier to find something we won't get tired of immediately and it somehow also makes our home feel more homely.
Art adds personality to your home
If you choose with your heart adding art to your home is the same as adding personality. Creating a gallery wall with your favourite art works, things and mirrors is almost guaranteed to be unique to your home and something that you won’t come across in another home. Okay, other homes may have a gallery wall but it won't look the same as yours. Art will instantly make your home feel homely and it will also make it appear finished.
Art creates a focal point
Did you know that one of the basic principles of interior design is that a room should always have a focal point? You've probably guessed what comes next - yup, art makes a great focal point. Let it be something that instantly draw everybody’s eyes towards it and make it reflect the feeling you want people to feel when entering the room. Try creating a focal point with different types of media that you like e.g. posters, art prints and photographs.
Art adds colour to your home
Art is a great way to add colour to a room. Whether it’s a splash of colour or a dominant colour it gives you a foundation to work from. Having art as the starting point can make it easier to choose other accessories like pillows, rugs and throws. But art can also be an excellent way to break free from the colours you normally go for, so don’t loose yourself in trying to find something that matches 100%.
...and it adds calmness
You can use artwork to create different moods in your home. Whether it is creating a feeling of calmness or bringing in a bit of nature you can do it through art. In Scandinavia it is common to use art as a way to drag nature into your home, because so many hours are spent inside.
Art can cheer you up
Art can cheer you up or it can tear you apart, but when choosing art for your home you should go for something that cheer you up. It’s either done by choosing a motif that makes you smile or by choosing colours that are happy. Yes, a colour can convey an emotion.
Different types of wall art