The Inspired Room: Ten Useful Wall-Decorating Principles

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

A leather sofa, a linen sofa, and a rug or rugs of a similar style and origin

H How often do you find yourself wondering what to hang and where to hang it when it comes to wall decor? Having recently received two questions from readers about wall decor, I figured it was time to write about the subject.

Reader question:

Hi Incredibly attractive blog, both aesthetically and conceptually. Regarding your wall decor, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your thought process. What criteria do you use to determine which walls require decoration and which can remain bare? The proportions in your rooms are just right. Do I miss something?

Thanks – Tricia

Answer:

How much art is too much, where to hang it, and how much empty wall space to leave is all matters of taste. Having nothing on the walls or in the room may make some people feel at ease, while others may feel uneasy. Each household has its own specific requirements. Defining what is "just right" for everyone is impossible, but taking stock of your personal preferences is a great way to start developing your own sense of personal style.

That being said, I'd like to share some of my own personal guidelines for hanging artwork and arranging furniture in a room. Adapt your home and decor to your personal tastes.

First, don't fill every wall with the same amount of stuff (especially artwork). If, on one wall, I arranged a grid of six medium-sized frames or a gallery wall of many unrelated pieces of art, on a nearby wall I would hang no more than one or two works.

Make the walls more interesting by hanging items of different sizes and shapes from them. The artwork, mirrors, baskets, oars, clock, oval mirror, oil painting, and framed artwork in my living/dining area.

Third, scale should be considered. More impressive than a single tiny painting in a tiny frame that can't even be seen from across the room is a collection of larger works of art.

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

Crane Art

It's not a good idea to decorate a room with multiple pieces of art that all feature large letters or quotes. One piece of art containing words or a "quote" is all I like to see hanging on a wall. This will allow the piece to stand out as something unique, and I won't feel like I'm being bombarded by words from every direction. It's the same with having too many quotes or words on a single wall of a gallery.

5. Aim for the room as a whole to have a consistent vibe in terms of color scheme, atmosphere, texture, scale, and wood tone. Think about what could be changed to make things look more cohesive if anything seems to be competing with or dominating everything else.

The number of mirrors in a given space can be increased by using mirrors of varying sizes. Unless you're using a pair of mirrors over twin beds or a sofa, it's not necessary to have two mirrors of the same size in a room for them to both be focal points. Smaller mirrors, mirrors arranged in a gallery wall, or mirrors of a different shape should be used on other walls.

Seven, hang everything so that the midpoint of each wall vignette in view is at a similar height (usually for me, that midpoint is a bit lower than my own eye level, and I'm only 5'2) Having constant midpoints makes the artwork in a room feel more unified. Frames can be kept level with the help of some poster putty.

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

Decorations for the Hallway: Wall Art, Rug, and More

Eight, give the viewer's eyes a chance to rest by leaving some space on the wall between each scene. How much art and how much white space will feel right in a room is contingent on a number of factors, including wall color, home style, amount of furniture, colors and patterns in a room and within view, doorways, windows, and ceiling height.

9. When hanging artwork, make sure it looks good from all sides. However, avoid overthinking and worrying about flaws. In some cases, a piece of art hung on a wall will look better from one side of the room than it does from the other. The presence of even minor flaws can greatly enhance the comfort and coziness of a space.

Whenever you've finished hanging artwork, take a few steps back to assess the room as a whole and determine whether or not the various wall decorations effectively convey the mood you were going for. It might be helpful to streamline some aspects if the whole thing seems too chaotic (for your tastes).  As the seasons change or things get moved around, assess it all again to try to keep your room feeling balanced and comfortable

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

As a hint, you should probably take a picture.

There are lots of people who spend most of their time setting up their individual vignettes, which means they decorate one wall and then move on to another wall to do another vignette. It's possible that the things hanging on one wall are interesting on their own (or would make a good Instagram shot) ), but putting the same amount of stuff on each wall of a room can make it feel cluttered when you step back and take a look at the big picture.

One useful tip is to take a picture of the entire room from as far away as possible. Taking a photo of your room can give you a new perspective on how it looks and how well it is coming together. Sometimes seeing it in still image form can help you realize what needs fixing.

If you like the balance of your space in the photo, you are probably on the right track

In other articles you may find useful:

Favorite Art Resources and Where to Find Them When Deciding on Home Decor

Favorite Resources for Coastal/Sailboat/Seascape Art

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

My books But Where Do I Put the Couch and Answers to 100 Other Decorating Questions (with 100 decorating questions and answers) and Simple Decorating (under $10) contain many more decorating principles, helpful tips, and simple how to's.

10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

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10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls

Click HERE to read more of the questions and answers I've posted on The Inspired Room.

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