Monday, June 9, 2014

Design How-To: Hang Art Like a Pro

Hanging art is one of the decorating road blocks I come across a lot when consulting with residential clients. The fear of leaving a trail of swiss cheese holes on freshly painted walls while looking for the perfect spot to position artwork or framed photography prevents many people from even starting their wall styling projects. I have even seen some people just use the “well the nail was there so that is where I hung it method of art installation which often results in art hanging without any relationship to the layout of the room.

Getting it Right with Scale and Proportion

The best way to determine where to hang a piece of art is to anchor it with a piece of furniture below it. The piece below should be the same size or wider. If the anchor piece is smaller, it will appear as if the art above is teetering precariously over it.

Don’t make the mistake of hanging your artwork too high. When people think of eye-level, they are usually hanging it higher than it should be. Try to keep the work of art close to the furniture piece below it instead of floating it so far above it that it does not seem like the two pieces go together.

Keep your desired focal point in mind. An eye-catching piece of artwork on every wall in the room will create visual chaos. It is better to select one main star and include supporting pieces that don’t fight for attention. Intentionally leave a wall free from art for a bit of breathing room.

Gallery Walls

When creating a gallery wall consider using the same type of frame on each piece for a cohesive look. Varying mat sizes can keep the arrangement interesting. Another approach is to completely mix it up by using an eclectic combination of frame styles. Vintage and modern frames of different finishes can co-exist nicely if grouped together in a confident manner.

Tracing the shape of a frame onto a piece of brown kraft paper then hanging this one dimensional template on the wall with the help of removable tape is a good way to establish where to hammer in the first nail.

Whether you are installing one, a few, or many works of art, step back to view its placement in relationship to the other items in the room before you commit to the arrangement’s final position on the wall.

Special Challenges and Considerations

Wall surfaces that feature fireplace bricks or architectural curves present structural challenges as do older walls without predictable stud placement. Likewise, after investing in custom murals or expensive wallpapers or grass cloth, the fear of making a mistake is intensified. When face to face with these challenges, it’s easy to see why many choose to avoid hanging art all together.

Traditional picture rail moldings that are installed close to ceiling height are a great way to hang art without damaging walls. A simple hook is placed over the rail allowing the art to be hung at a desired position using picture hanging hardware.

A clip and rod system at the Bassett showroom in
Burlington makes changing art super easy.

Likewise, flexible art hanging systems that utilize tracks, rails, clips, cables and rods can provide the freedom to arrange (and rearrange) artful images without worry, even on the most challenging surfaces.

Use the Right Tools

There are all kinds of great wall design solutions out there, whether you are hanging the finest oil painting, a cherished family photo, or a child’s mini-masterpiece (visit my Pinterest board to see some of my favorites). The key is to choose the type of system that will safely allow your works of art to get the attention they deserve.

All furniture and wall art available via Bassett Furniture

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Weekend with Country Living

This weekend, the colorful pages of Country Living will be coming to life in Rhinebeck, NY at the Country Living Fair and Country Living 2014 House of the Year. This three-day shopping (aka treasure hunting) event opens on Friday, June 6 and closes on Sunday, June 8. From the looks of the attending presenter list, it reads like a celebrity version of Brimfield, coordinated with all kinds of guest appearances from the interior design and DIY/craft world.

Below are just a couple of the highlights ...

All Rhinebeck Country Living Fair ticket holders are invited to visit the Country Living 2014 House of the Year created by Catskill Farms builders. “This year’s project is a 1,500 square foot ‘new old home’ that captures the charm, beauty, and character of the past.” The interior of this year’s House was a design collaboration between the Country Living editors and guest designers Tilton Fenwick. A complimentary shuttle bus is provided to and from the tour via the fairgrounds.

Suysel dePedro Cunningham and
Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton Fenwick
photo via

I recently had the opportunity to see Anne and Suysel of Tilton Fenwick present their new line of Duralee fabrics at the Boston Design Center. Anne is actually a Boston College alum just like myself. The “Fenwick” in their firm’s name references her first dorm on the BC campus. I heard Anne and Suysel chose to feature a piece from friend Stacy Kunstel’s Dunes and Duchess collection in the house, so look for it if you go!

Also at the Fair will be Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash and Cari who will be selling antiques and repurposed goods in Barn 34 all weekend. Check out the fun sneak peek video of the Country Living Fair below (with appearance by another HGTV design-star Emily Henderson) and let me know if you make it there!