When it’s cold outside, I tend to huddle inside and find a project to do, as do many of my friends here in the Southeast.
In fact, I have a chum who used to make January and February her “craft months,” when she’d do all the projects she couldn’t get to during the months she tended her garden.
Sue would frequently inspire me to be a little more adventurous with my décor. Instead of the one-art-piece-per-wall rule my mom lived by, she’d suggest grouping things together and changing them out to freshen things up.
Michael Payne from HGTV’s Designing for the Sexes told me she was right. “Let your eye be the judge. If you like it, and the grouping suits the room, it works. And not just for pictures."
If you collect a certain type of item (in my case, blue-and-white pottery), grouping them together on a shelf can highlight the collection in a way that makes it become artwork on your wall.
I have a pair of cobalt-painted shelves, one hung over the other, on which I have my collection “bookending” two silk plants. The greenery breaks up the blue and adds interest, but at the same time, it makes the pieces look like part of a theme. To me, that’s art.
Karen Hartley of Karen Hartley Interiors and Decorating Den in the Powder Springs area likes themes when it comes to showcasing artwork, especially in kids’ rooms.
“It makes the child interested in being in the room, which is handy when it comes to studying," she says. "The trick is to find artwork that attracts them to the room to do homework, but doesn’t distract them from doing their assignments. And you have to be willing to change the theme as they grow older.”
Artwork can be one of the less expensive décor changes in a room, depending on your taste. You can turn your kids’ projects into art for your walls simply by framing them professionally. It works as a “two-for” —your kids get art they enjoy, and you no longer have it cluttering your refrigerator.
One of my other favorite groupings in my home comes from one of my mother’s best friends. She calls it her “rogues gallery," a grouping of class portraits, wedding pictures and family collages—all of people who have meant something to her in her life, all placed together on the same wall. A really big wall.
My rogues gallery lines a hallway from the living room to the bathroom. I justify it by saying it gives folks in line at a party something to look at while they’re waiting.
What makes a “grouping?” It’s not just the frames, according to Belinda Larue of Lost Mountain Framing on Dallas Highway in Powder Springs.
“Groupings don’t have to have the same type of frame, although they should be coordinated,” Larue remarks. “Sometimes having all different frames can create interest. Other times, it’s more attractive to use the same frame for all the pictures, if, say, you have a group of botanical prints.”
But not everything in the grouping has to be the same type of item. You could have a real horseshoe from your favorite horse surrounded by show photos and a shadow box of ribbons.
You want to make sure the wall where you hang your pieces will show them off.
“White walls don’t do that,” Larue explains. “You’re better off with a warmer tone, like a beige.” She ponders a moment. “Or a cooler tone, such as grey, if you’re going more contemporary.”
Your frames should enhance the artwork, not overshadow it.
“A good frame should give a piece depth and borders,” Larue points out. “The wrong frame can really detract from a piece. You wouldn’t put folk art in a gilt frame.”