The Ultimate Guide to Displaying and Enjoying Art In Your Home

The Ultimate Guide to Displaying and Enjoying Art In Your Home

Accenting your interior décor with artwork is partially a personal choice, and partially an aesthetic choice. Artwork should be something that you admire and enjoy looking at. On the other hand, artwork should also compliment the room in which it is displayed, accentuating the décor and color scheme.

This does not mean that artwork pieces should be matchy-matchy, or that they necessarily even have to be of the same period or style as the rest of the room’s furnishings. It is more about themes than specific colors or styles.

art in home

Artwork can also mean many different things to different people. For some, it means framed paintings, for others it is photographs. Some prefer sculpture or a display of artifacts. In some instances, the meaning of artwork to a person may simply be a display featuring a favorite collection.

Displaying Paintings

The way that you display a painting depends on its subject and its size. A large painting that is either a simple stretched canvas piece or that includes an elaborate decorative frame will work best in a location where there are no other furnishings or accessories to distract from it.

Directional lighting such as can lights or track lighting are an excellent idea for highlighting a large piece and making it a focal point of your room.

Displaying Framed Photos

Great photos make a fabulous wall display. Black and white photos are even better. Photos are ideal display items for a long hallway, a staircase wall, or an in-home office. Directional lighting will be needed, especially for black and white images.

Family photos are important keepsakes. However, in general, they do not normally compliment the decorating schemes of the major rooms in your home. They are most appropriate when displayed as a collection in a hallway, office, staircase wall, or possibly a bedroom.

Artwork Themes


While there are exceptions, for the most part, your artwork should have some type of relationship to the room in which it is displayed. Landscapes and floral paintings are exceptions that are usually attractive in most rooms. Here are some examples.

  • Ultra-modern décor is complimented by large unframed abstract paintings or framed black and white photos of cityscapes or bygone eras of the 20th century.
  • Bedrooms are meant to be soothing and relaxing, so paintings of water or ocean scenes are excellent choices. Floral paintings also work well.
  • Formal living rooms are a perfect spot for a favorite painting in an ornate frame.
  • Garden rooms, sun porches, or enclosed outdoor porches are the perfect spot for garden scenes, floral paintings or rustic artwork. Distressed frames, shell encrusted frames, and unfinished board frames are extremely attractive choices for these rooms.

Frame Tips


Popular styles and color schemes come and go. Keep your artwork up-to-date and always in style by trying some of these tips.

  • Silver is the new gold. Gold frames are still used, but in most cases, silver is far more stylish and popular. Simply spray paint your frames with high quality silver paint for a totally refreshed look.
  • Artwork that is matted when it is framed often has mats that are in whatever color was currently popular at the time it was framed. To bring those artwork pieces up to current standards of style, replace the mats with white, neutral beige, gray, or black mats. This way they will always be in style.
  • Plain frames can often benefit from some type of ornamentation. If the frame is to be used in a bedroom or bathroom, encrusting it with sea shells creates a beautiful frame that is a piece of artwork all on its own.
  • For the most part, when choosing the colors for your frames, it is best to stick to wood tones, black, white, or silver. These are colors that blend well with any color scheme, and compliment any piece of artwork that they hold.
  • When you have multiple pieces of framed artwork in one room, it is not necessary or desirable for all of the frames to be in the same style or color. Mixing it up adds interest to your displays of artwork.
  • For an out-of-the-ordinary look, you can display old and distressed frames in groupings sans artwork.
  • Wooden picture frames that have a 3 or 4-inch depth to them can be converted to shadow boxes or miniature shelving units that beautifully display collections of small objects.

Display Tips for Sculpture

There are many ways and locations in your home that are excellent for displaying sculptures. The most important consideration is size. The size of the display area should fit the sculpture that is being displayed. Here are some tips to help you get it just right.

  • Sculptures should be placed at eye level.
  • Small sculptures can be displayed almost anywhere – on bookcase shelves, on a table, or in a lighted display cabinet. Make sure they are up high enough to be seen.
  • Never crowd your sculptures. Sculpture is meant to be admired from all sides. While this may not always be possible, they should not be crammed onto shelves that are barely as tall as the sculpture.
  • Large sculptures should be displayed alone, and raised on a pedestal or small table. Like large paintings, a large sculpture will look best when displayed in front of an uncluttered wall, with directional lighting focused on it. Alternatively, it could be placed on a small table at the center of a room. Directional lighting should be used here, as well. This creates a stunning focal point in a room.

Displaying Collectibles

Unlike sculptures, collectibles are often sets of items which should be displayed together. Wall shelving units are a low-cost solution for displaying them. Lighted cabinets are another option. The best solution is either glass shelving on walls or a cabinet with lighted glass shelves.

Because collectibles are often small items, they can be easily misplaced or broken if placed in the open on a table, or in a bookcase among often used books.

The Ultimate Guide to Displaying and Enjoying Art In Your Home

A Guest Writer

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