I love to be surrounded by interesting and eclectic images and art. Just as well really since I tend to buy pieces that grab my attention, rather than things that work together in a considered way – I’m a total magpie so I gave up on that a long time ago! Having said that, I do find that I’m often attracted to certain colours and styles again and again, so there does tend to be some form of order to the madness.
These days I’m noticing the glossy interiors mags featuring more zany and interesting homes than in the past, which I love. It’s great to see personality and individuality being celebrated. Art and objects can play a huge part in creating a space which is uniquely yours, so here are my top tips for using your walls to make your home come alive.
Mixing and matching picture frames in a room can create a really unique look. Framers sometimes have once a year sales where they sell off any damaged or slightly imperfect frames and this is always a great way to get a beautiful and professional look at (almost) Ikea prices.
One of my favourite (and most cost effective) things to do is use miniature wooden clothes pegs and twine to hang up prints or photos – I always think this creates a lovely arty look. Document clips can look really funky too, just clip the photo or print and hang it on a nail or picture hook.
If you change your mind a lot (like me), or the thought of making lots of holes in your immaculate plaster-work is a little intimidating, you can always just lean framed pieces against the wall for a laid-back look with minimal effort. Larger bits of artwork look good sitting on the floor (children and pets permitting) and smaller frames can be places on a mantlepiece or other bit of furniture.
Create a gallery wall
Use prints, paintings, photos and objects to cover a large area of wall. The idea is that the collection in itself becomes a piece of art, as well as the individual pieces. Be like me and add random things as you find them. Or if you’re more organised than I am, you can collect your pieces and plan it all out with military precision on the floor before getting the hammer and nails out.
My advice would be to do this on a neutrally painted wall – but if you’re feeling brave, I have seen it work over wallpapers and very bold, bright colours. Style rules are definitely made to be broken and I think the key is to commit to the idea and really go for it – no half measures. For me, the more eclectic and mad, the better – but then I’m not a natural minimalist!
If the idea of a full-on gallery wall is a little much, smaller groupings of items together creates little pockets of interest and can be very effective.
I really enjoy scouring junk shops for vintage prints and antique paintings. I like the idea of my house being completely unique to us as a family, so I try to avoid buying lots of high street prints, although I do buy things I particularly like from time to time – if you mix them up with more unusual pieces you can use them to create an individual look. Go to open-studios, craft fairs and local galleries, these are great places to look for unique pieces. Also Instagram and Pinterest can be great places to find independent artists and designers that you can buy from online. I love artist Anthony Burrill and recently bought a poster book of his work for £20 online, which is an amazing, cost effective way to access the images. Etsy and www.notonthehighstreet.com are also great places to look for unique pieces online.
Art can be expensive but absolutely doesn’t have to be – I’m just as happy hanging a poster which cost £4.99, an unusual postcard or even an image I’ve taken out of a magazine or book as an original painting worth hundreds of pounds. In fact, I absolutely LOVE the juxstaposition of the two! Also don’t be afraid to hang up seemingly random items if you love them – tote bags with a great design, or a beautiful silk scarf or pocket square found in a vintage shop will look great on your wall. Lots of my customers have framed their Gillian Kyle tea towels and greetings cards and hung them up in their kitchen.
And of course you can always create some art yourself! I think everyone can draw and learn to love art and mark-making once they loosen up and start to enjoy themselves. Why not take some evening classes in painting or printmaking or just follow some ‘how to’ tutorials online – for example https://www.brit.co/diy-wall-art/. You’ll be amazed how easy it can be to create something that looks bold, colourful and cool. We recently painted one of our downstairs walls in bright blue ‘blackboard’ paint so that the kids could get in on the act too!
My husband Tom is a painter, ceramicist and photographer so we have lots of his pieces around the place. I do have a few of my own designs on the walls, but in a way I prefer to give my eye and brain some space when I’m at home to let new ideas come in.
If you’re now feeling inspired to experiment with wall art, why not have a look at my new range of prints and see if something there takes your fancy.
Have fun making your walls shine!
Till next time,