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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wilson

Off the Wall

Updated: Jan 6, 2019

Ready to shake it up a bit and try some of these less conventional ways to display your art?

I admit it, I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to anything in a frame. I have way more watercolours, sketches, oil paintings, and photographs than I have wall space to hang them on, and I just keep acquiring more. Art for me is like shoes for most women. Okay hang on, shoes for me are also like shoes for most women. But this is an interior decor blog not a fashion blog, so I'll stick to the art and ways to display it for today.

The 'Tip of the Week' on my website a few weeks back was a 15 second rule of thumb on how to hang art at the right height, but even as I was posting it I was thinking of the dozens of instances that could count as an exception to that rule, plus the dozens of things that can be considered when you choose where and how you are displaying a piece of art. That was then I first began mulling over a post about interesting ways to select/use/display art in your home.

And when I say art I don't necessarily mean the expensive stuff that you get at an actual art gallery (although, if you've got 'em, hang 'em, you lucky people) but any art that fits your budget, and makes you happy.

Hmm, do you think I need to credit this?

So, when I started to think about what I could talk about in this displaying art blog idea, I started to think that I probably have enough examples of a teeny bit unconventional ways to select or display art just in my own home, or in rooms I have styled for clients. And of course I then jumped all over that puppy of an idea, cuz THAT means I can use all my own photos, which will be sooo much easier than sourcing example photos that I love and then hunting down the sources to credit for them, which can turn into a real rabbit hole, let me tell you.

The extremely short version of where to hang art is "at eye level". Done, and safe, and this really works in most instances. However for me personally I've noticed that it just sits right for my eye for my art to be sitting lower than eye level when it is anchored by a piece of furniture below it. A quick walk around my home and through my portfolio photos showed me that, yeah, Susan, you do hang a LOT of stuff lower than eye level.

This undersized-on-purpose oil painting would have been lost floating up at eye level above the headboard, so I brought it down the wall:

Design: Susan Wilson

In a bedroom designed for the teenaged daughter of a favourite client, this fun piece is anchored visually to the daybed below it:

Design: Susan Wilson

Same low-hangin', this time over the son's bedside table in the same client's home. Here, it lends the bedside table a little more visual weight when viewed as a whole:

Design: Susan Wilson

Hanging above the light switch would have been too high, and the unexpected height adds adds a little quirky interest:


Same reasoning here:


You may have noticed that I have been pretentiously saying "displaying art" rather than just "hanging art" throughout this post. That's because we are going off the wall (and did you see what I did there, in the title for this post?) with some of these examples. Leaning art on a console or on a ledge isn't exactly revolutionary, but it's not super-conventional either:

Lean in, kids!

Another slightly off-beat, and very current look right now is over-sized art. I don't have any fabulous and over-sized art in my home, because I don't have any fabulous and over-sized walls. I'll be sure to find some great examples for another blog post, another time, showing other, wealthier people's fabulous and oversized walls ;).

I do however have some kinda big art, that looks even bigger juxtaposed with this artist's model:

Look out behind you, little guy!

MIniatures are not in common use in modern homes, but I love to use them. They add unexpected little hits of charm everywhere around the house, and they make me smile:

And see that pig painting above the miniature in the middle photo above? Piggy leads me to my next point, which is that art can be used to creatively camouflage anything you don't want to look at on a daily basis. He is actually just hooked over the thermostat on our main floor, keeping it out of sight but still easily accessible to crank up the heat when temperatures plummet (which will be soon, ugh).

This smallish painting is actually hanging off of (and concealing) the kind of ugly handles on the electrical panel that couldn't be moved when our basement was renovated. Bummer. But hey, art!

Design: Susan Wilson

This botanical print in a vintage frame propped on a kitchen counter cozies up the kitchen and hides an electrical outlet from view. Ick, outlets.

Hmm, I'm realizing at this point that I could go on for a LOT longer on this topic, and I don't want to wear out my welcome (you're all busy people, I know!), so I think I better continue this train of thought in another post. I'll end by bringing this full circle with a picture of a gallery wall; again, hardly revolutionary, but... it's centre is definitely below eye level, just where I like it!


Have a look around your home to see how you have gone slightly off the beaten path in displaying your art, and tell me about it in the comments!

Looking forward to hanging with you all again next month (Ha! Get it?),



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