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Hanging Out at Home: how to hang art in your house

Shannon Kaye's Sol Lewitt inspired wall treatment enhances the colors in the art and her Plein Heir Torn Landscape pillow

For most of us, buying art is scary, and figuring out where to hang it, well, forget about it. It looks so easy in magazines until you turn to your own room and think, ‘my house will never look like that.”

When contacted me to ask for tips on how to use art in a house, I knew it was time for this article.

Look, besides painting your walls, adding art to a room is one of the quickest and most effective ways to transform a space and add your own personal touch. So don’t get discouraged, get daring! And try some of these tried and true ways to bring more art- and style- into your home and your life.

Shannon Kaye added a faux wanescoting effect with paint then softened the angles with one color on the upper walls and ceiling.

This salon style mash up includes paintings, photos, crochet & collage

Art Mash up

One of the easiest and most versatile ways to hang art is known as ‘salon style’: hanging where you put together an eclectic mix of smaller pieces to make a big colorful impression.

When two people come together in a space, bringing their eclectic art collection together is a great way to make everyone feel at home and connected.

Grab all of your art, even old needlepoints and kids finger paintings, into the room where you want to have some fun. Lay everything out on the floor moving pieces around until you’re happy with your arrangement, then, one by one, transfer the work to the wall. 

Shannon Kaye's Plein Heir Geo Fire bolster sits below a Fornasetti tray her 'Calistoga Arch painting, which works beautifully on blue walls

I like to start with the larger pieces first placing them towards the center of the wall and just about 12 – 18 inches above the sofa or whatever piece of furniture is on that wall. It’s a great way to fill big walls, add big impact, and bring together smaller pieces that might not go anywhere else in the house.

Shannon Kaye painted the cabriolet console table with horizontal stripes then topped the piece with a beautiful display of Buddhist prayer cards for a geometric vignette that equals elegance

Buddhist prayer cards found in an estate sale displayed in matching metallic frames

Collections as Art

Similar to salon style hanging, many of us have wonderful and quirky collections of things that when displayed together, rather than strewn throughout the house, make us look like bona fide curators.

Even a souvenir spoon collection looks like art when the pieces are displayed beautifully in a hallway

This souvenir spoon collection lines the walls of a hallway

Whether you stockpile vintage perfume bottles, scary masks, or garage sale landscape paintings, your collection takes on the beauty of art when you display it all together.

Shannon Kaye grouped all kinds of floral art pieces in a bathroom on an off black wall for quirky impact and fresh color

Rather than hang floral art pieces around the house, bunch them together like a garden.

Use matching frames, line things up on shelves, or hang them on hooks. Even you will be impressed with what you’ve created!

Shannon Kaye painted this large Moroccan style medallion with ombre background to add dramatic style to a room with tall ceilings.

Bigger is Better

One of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing and hanging art for their homes is that they choose pieces that are too small for a wall.

Shannon Kaye's Crowns painting with her own stencil design and copper leaf details works perfectly against neutral walls.

Don’t be afraid to fill even small-ish walls with art that nearly touches the corners. When you display art that fills the space, your room will look larger and your space more dynamic while giving people something exciting and engaging to enjoy in the room.

Shannon Kaye create this butterly installation with a vintage mirror frame, fencing wire, and magazine paper

A vintage mirror frame is backed with fencing wire & covered in paper butterflies.

Lean large posters or mirrors against the wall on a stack of books in the dining room. Hang architectural elements like windows and doors in the living room to add dimension, or frame your favorite textile piece like quilt or a kimono for the entry to impress visitors.

Shannon Kaye created this accent wall with a larger than life painted rectangle, oversized random stencil pattern, a vintage mantel hung like a shelf and charming little landscape painting

A muted stencil motif makes the perfect backdrop for a small colorful painting.

Notice the art on the other wall is quiet in color but much larger to to fit wall.

Play with Scale

To play devil’s advocate, there’s also the idea that hanging one small piece on a large wall will draw people in like they’re discovering a treasure. To do this, make sure the wall itself is dynamic by using a dramatic paint color or interesting wallpaper. Find something that sparkles, or reads well from a distance, and hang the piece just below eye level so it’s in nice proximity to the furniture around it without being too low to see.

Shannon Kaye uses another of her custom stencil designs to add playful scale to this warm cheerful bedroom.

Ultimately, art is subjective, so don’t worry about what other people think of the things you display in your home. Focus on pieces that best reflect your personality and take the time to display them beautifully so that even if they’re humble objects, they’ll look like a million bucks.



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