Living Space

Living Space: Show collections on an art wall

Tribune Media ServicesMarch 1, 2013 

Grouping your pieces can create more impact than hanging only one per wall.


Enjoying art is one of the great pleasures of life. Too often, though, art gets short shrift in home decorating. It’s remarkably easy to showcase what you have by creating a salon-style art wall.

The salon style involves grouping your pieces vs. hanging a single artwork on each wall. Besides being a terrific way to display your collection, salon-style display turns a wall into your own personal gallery.

Salon-style display began as a way to feature works by particular artists. Each artist would have a single wall upon which their works would be hung. Today, arranging a collection of artwork or photos on a single wall is favored by art lovers and collectors and looks very stylish.

Salon-style placement is especially helpful if you have a lot of artwork but a shortage of wall space.

Before hammering any nails into the wall, design your salon wall on the floor. Begin with a central piece that will be your anchor for the arrangement. The pieces you display don’t have to be similar, but they should relate in some way, if possible. It could be a similar coloring that brings them together or a particular style. If there are no common threads, that’s OK, too. Sometimes it’s the differences in works of art that make them look interesting together.

Place your anchor piece on the floor, then begin arranging other works around it. The idea is to keep the arrangement balanced. Once you have a design that pleases you, snap a photo with your cell phone or digital camera. Try to take the picture from above, so you can get a better representation of how your collection will look on the wall.

Another helpful idea is to cut paper templates of each piece, then tape them to the wall, rearranging as necessary. Using this technique as you hang the artworks, you’ll be more confident about the best placement. Not sure about how high to hang your pieces? Try hanging one work of art centered at the eye level of someone about 5-feet-8-inches tall, or about 68 inches from the floor. Then, hang the other pieces around it.

While your art wall can feature framed pieces, it can also include dimensional works. Small figures or sculptures can be added to the mix. Use small display shelves. Plates or ceramic pieces can add dimension and varied shapes amid a wall of square and rectangular frames.

Once all your pieces are up on the wall, add rubber bumpers on the back of each for stability. You don’t want a whole wall of artwork to look crooked after one slammed door!


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