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Everyone accessorizes their homes with artwork, right? Whether its family photos, prints, paintings or even a collection of antique plates, we enjoy the warmth that these pieces add to our everyday lives. But, while the actual art itself may be beautiful or compelling, the framing and positioning of it on the wall may be distracting from what you really want to showcase–the art!

When it comes to selecting frames for your art or photos, the main objective is to highlight the art–make IT the focal point. While the framing is very important to the overall decorative effect, you want the framing to enhance the object, not detract from it. For example, if you are doing a grouping of family photos, try and use the same frame for every photo, or at least the same color of frame if you want to mix the styles up a bit. The main objective is consistency in the framing, which will draw your eye directly to the photos. When there is a sense of imbalance in a display, you will find that your eye darts around, wandering, not really sure where to rest and take in the view. With this theory in mind, think about when you visit a retail store that’s overwhelmed with merchandise–you don’t know where to begin!

There are two other things to consider when framing photos or artwork: the size and style of the frame. When choosing the size of the frame, consider the proportion of the frame to the object being framed. If a small print is surrounded by a matting and frame that’s proportionately too large, the print will be enveloped and lost. When choosing the style of the frame, lean toward the conservative side, and remember a common design phrase–less is more. If the framing is too ornate or overpowering, you will again lose sight of the art itself.

When you are ready to hang your artwork, it’s important to take some time to think about your display. Consider the size and scale of your artwork in relation to the size of your wall. Just as your framing should be proportionate to the art, the art should be proportionate to the wall. Rather than hanging one diploma on the center of your office wall, consider making a grouping of it with other significant documents, or photos of your alma mater. That’s not to say you shouldn’t hang that one document on its own, but if you choose to, place it in a location where it will be close to other furnishings, making it part of a grouping.

Take the time to plan your display, and if you’re hanging a grouping, lay them out on the floor first, and play around with the them until you have a balanced design. This is an important step that will make the difference between your display looking professionally done rather than haphazardly put together.

Now you’re almost ready to begin hanging. But, before you hammer in that first nail, there are two final considerations: how high to hang them on the wall, and how far apart they should be placed. When choosing the height, the center of the art should be at your eye level. Of course, people have varying degrees of height, so use this as a general guideline and meet somewhere in the middle. If you hang a grouping, use the center of the group as your guide. When you are hanging large artwork or groupings above a sofa, keep the bottom of the lowest frame within 10-12 inches from the sofa back. While considering the spacing between your artwork, keep in mind that you’re forming a group, and don’t place them too far apart from each other. For a large display of family photos, you can position them as close together as 1½-2 inches, depending on the size of the photos. Generally, the larger the objects, the more space you leave between them. For example, a grouping of four prints that measure 20” x 20” each should be spaced no more than 3-4 inches apart. When hanging artwork, the tape measure is your friend. Remember the old rule–measure twice, cut once–and plan your layout before you grab the hammer and nails.

Check back weekly for more decorating and home improvement tips, and until then remember …

Everyone deserves a home they love ~ Inside and Out!