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Interior design

Interior design

Artful arrangements: Tips for hanging pictures with style


Words by Leo Russell

Beautiful paintings and pictures can complete a room. However, finding the right place to hang them is often just as important as the artwork itself. Some interior designers have strict rules to do with size, colour and genre – but we encourage a more relaxed approach, experimenting with different pieces until you find what works for you.

However, here are some simple principles to follow:

Creating contrast

Contrast is a great way to make a picture stand out. That may mean a colourful image in a neutral room, or a modern piece in a more classical space. Either way, any difference between the artwork and the setting is guaranteed to draw the eye.

Building clusters

In general, small pictures can get lost on large walls, while large pictures can dominate small rooms. However, by putting big and little pieces together, they can offset the size difference, while complementing one another in interesting ways. Resist the temptation to space your pictures evenly across a room. Equally, don’t feel like every picture has to be hung in perfect symmetry with the rest. Instead, try to create clusters of different pictures that form little displays.

Look at the light

To preserve pictures for as long as possible, avoiding letting them hang in direct sunlight. However, artificial light – whether lamps or fittings – can be a great way to draw attention to an artwork, even adding to its overall impression.

Salon walls

Salon walls are walls that have been covered with pictures of different sizes and styles, such as watercolours, engravings and prints. They are increasingly popular as a way to decorate a room, avoiding too much formality by making the arrangement looked improvised. It’s the perfect solution if you’ve got lots of pictures, but don’t know where each one should go.

Let it lean

Pictures don’t always have to be hung from the wall. Smaller works can be placed on shelves, while larger works can balance on mantelpieces or even lean against the wall. If you want to avoid too many holes in the plaster, you can also suspend pictures on chains from picture rails, giving them a tasteful and traditional appearance.


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