Alignment, proximity, contrast and repetition are fundamental design principles. I use these principles when placing artwork on walls, in rooms, and next to other artwork and furniture. Below I have picked my best pieces of advice when deciding how to add artworks to your space.
Visualise your layout – Placing your frames flat on the floor is a great way to work out a composition, or use masking tape and a tape measure to mark out the sizes on the wall.
When thinking about where your frames could go, don’t limit your options to the walls. I love artwork resting on a side table or bedside leaning against the wall, it allows more flexibility with your space and can create beautiful layers with other objects like vases and books.
2. White walls
One of the most common challenges when selecting frames is whether you should put white frames on white walls.
The hardest thing about a white frame on a white wall is that there is not one universal white; Firstly, one white frame could make your wall look dirty or the wall could make your frame look dirty. Secondly, your frame can disappear into the wall if the whites are too similar and make your artwork look much smaller than it is, because all you can see is the printed area inside the frame.
I like the texture of painted oak, which has a grain to it, creating a subtle contrast against the wall and allowing your artwork to stand out.
If you are hanging artwork yourself, a great investment is a spirit level – this ensures all your artworks are straight and perfectly aligned.
How much space should I leave between sets?
This depends on how big the artworks are; if you are spacing two smaller ones (A1 ish), 80mm is excellent.
If you are spacing larger ones, allow for 100mm between your frames.
Placing near other artwork
Make sure they aren’t too close to one another, or they could look like they are meant to go together. Grounding an artwork by having it sit above a piece of furniture (a sofa or a console) will attach the frame to that, detaching it from the foreign artwork.
How far do I space artwork from the floor/ground?
Don’t be afraid to go low – if an artwork is placed too high with nothing below it (eg furniture or other artwork), it might feel like it's floating in the middle of the wall. Make sure it’s easy to look at front on, and you don't find yourself looking up or down to view it.
4. Selecting Sets
When selecting sets, it’s natural to look for similarities in the artworks to make your choice.
Choosing by colour
This one is a no-brainer – finding colours that go together makes for an aesthetically pleasing pairing. Trick: Don’t overcook it – if one piece is dominant in colour, choose another that has accents of it.
I love playing with positive and negative space with sets. A go-to for choosing sets is black and white. The contrast of black and white looks sophisticated and simple.
Selecting a set using perspective
I encourage choosing pieces that have different perspectives. One could be shot from birds eye view and and another that could be taken looking out to the horizon.
5. Landscape vs Portrait
Many people think they should choose a landscape piece if they have a wide wall to fill. There are still things to look at in your space before you pull the trigger on a monster landscape piece.
What’s the height of your room/house like? If you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling, you could choose two portrait pieces instead. This creates a natural show-stopping effect, and has the added luxury of being able to split them or place them elsewhere if you move house or shuffle things around.