While our natural inclination might be to hang just a single piece of art on a particular wall, often the better solution is to use a grouping. A grouping doesn’t have to be 8-10 pieces (though it can be), it just needs to be a pleasing arrangement that fills the blank wall in the appropriate scale/shape. Last week I wrote about how and when to use single pieces of art to make a statement……now we’ll see if your statement might not be made better with a grouping.
Effective Art Groupings
- What makes an effective art grouping?
- The pieces in the group should be compatible in subject or presentation.
- The pieces should be hung closely enough together that they are clearly meant to be viewed as a group – usually 2-4″ apart.
- The pieces should be visually connected to the surrounding furnishings.
- Generally, place the largest pieces of the group in the center or at the bottom of the arrangement.
This art grouping fits perfectly over the sofa and is close enough to the back to feel connected. Spacing between the pieces seems to be about 2-3″ and even though there is a variety of subjects, they are connected by the use of wide white matting. Note how the one oval frame is located low, below the lamp shade and thereby becomes part of the table decor rather than the art grouping.
The vintage feeling of this art collection is enhanced by using the same frame for all the pieces, which blends beautifully with the chest.
Using only black frames with white mats and black and white photos, this display of family photos makes a captivating gallery arrangement.
Hanging art in an evenly spaced grid is a traditional way to make a grouping feel like a single large piece of art. Minimal frames and no matting makes this collection even more like a single piece of art.
The grid technique is used creatively here to bend around a corner seating area.
This collection of travel photos share the same frame, a common subject (our vacation), and even spacing of 2″ apart between all frames. Notice the pictures are about 6″ from the top of the sideboard and centered both on the wall and over the sideboard for a more symmetrical, formal mood (though I’m neither).
The large single canvas on one wall picks up the colors of the pillows while the tall grid of pictures in white frames emphasizes the height of the adjoining wall. Use your artwork placement to enhance colors in your room, repeat colors in your room, or emphasize architectural elements.
Hung nice and low on this wall so that the pieces connect with the low table, this collection illustrates the advantage of using the larger pieces of the grouping at the bottom.
This casual grid over a sofa is a great way to give the impression of a single large piece when you only have smaller ones to work with. The top and left frame edges all align giving structure and tricking the eye into seeing an even rectangle. If you want to achieve this orderly look but are using a variety of sizes, lay it out of the floor first so you can be sure to get the placement figured out before pounding nails into the wall.
Free Flowing Art Display
While most of the time we think of art groupings as a symmetrical, organized, often grid-like display, sometimes it can be a great surprise to let the display evolve more organically. Who knows what unique arrangement you might develop?
If you have one of those long blank walls bewteen a living and dining space or dining and family room space, how about using art to visually connect the rooms? In this case the owner has given the pices a little more breathing space, has mixed frames styles and colors as well as mixed subject/themes. In other words, broken every “rule” and yet it still makes a pleasing and flamboyant display.
Here’s another example of an organically developed display with a mix of frames and subjects.
Interspersing quite small pictures amongst much larger ones creates a dynamic display, however, notice that the smaller pieces are grouped together in each instance to give the impression of a single larger picture.
Apparently random, if you look carefully you’ll notice groupings within the grouping: a set of 4 blue matted pictures hung vertically on the right; 2 other square blue matted pictures with the same frame; a pair of very small images with large white mats next to the large horse. These elements of similarity help the larger whole hang together (pardon the pun).
Art Groupings Add Spice
Using a grouping of pictures/paintings can be used to fill a wall space when you have lots of smaller pictures that would be too small on their own. Groupings can also be indicative of your personality or interests: tidy and organized (a formal, squared off grid), playful or eclectic (random and organic), etc. What do your art arrangements say about you? Next week I’ll be sharing information about art collage groups, so be sure to check back.