Sunday, 16 November 2014

Art house


No matter how many vases of fresh flowers fill a space, or designer cushions decorate a couch, a room never seems completely finished unless the walls are lined with art. But unless you have the budget of a merchant banker, buying art isn’t as simple as waltzing into the nearest gallery and laying down a house deposit on whatever tickles your fancy. To help you in your pursuit of wonderful walls, minus the exorbitant price tag, we asked interior designer and art aficionado Charlie Cooper of Interiors by Charlie for her expert advice on finding, framing and styling art.

Image via Pop Sugar Home.

STEP ONE: SPOILT FOR CHOICE
Traditional galleries aren’t the only places with the goods – hit up your local markets on the weekend, browse your favourite design stores and trawl the internet or instagram to unearth that perfect piece. We’ve also heard of quite a special little blog that regularly features their favourite artists and prints… oh that’s right, it’s this one!

Some of our favourites include Miss Poppy or Willow Rose Design for gold and silver foiling, Letters on Love or Blacklist Studio for typography and Emily Green or Rachel Castle for colour. Etsy is also a godsend – but it pays to have an idea of what you’re looking for, otherwise you’ll easily lose days scouring the thousands of pages a generic search will deliver.

Fallen in love with an artist you can’t afford? Don’t be afraid to ask them for a limited edition print instead. “Almost all artists will do limited edition prints of their work,” says Ms Cooper, who also recommends scouring Signed & Numbered and Art Finder for unique prints.

Image via volang.elledecoration.se.

STEP TWO: IN THE FRAME 
The right frame can elevate a bargain price print to art gallery status. “Professional framing can be expensive, but you can find fantastic frames in a range of sizes from Ikea, Freedom and Country Road,” says Charlie. “If the frame has a cardboard insert [also known as a mount, matte or surround] that’s the wrong size for your print, simply take it to a framer and they’ll cut it to fit for just a few dollars.” We also like the range of frames at Citta Design.

Image via stylemepretty.com.

STEP THREE: HANGING IN THERE
“Art should be hung at eye level – as a guide, the average height should be 145cm from the ground,” says Charlie. “The natural inclination is to place art higher, but to really appreciate it, it should be at eye level.” If you’re renting or, like us, haven’t a clue how to operate a power drill, get yourself some 3M hooks or hanging tabs for anything that isn’t too heavy.

Another word on placement: “Avoid direct sunlight, which can fade the work over time and cause the timber frame to warp,” Charlie recommends.

Image via flick.r.

STEP FOUR: GALLERY VISITS
Gallery walls are all kinds of gorgeous – and a good trick if you have a bare wall to fill but can’t afford a large-scale artwork. “You can go eclectic, with artworks arranged at different heights and in different frames, or create a grid for a more formal look,” suggests Charlie. “I love black and white photographs displayed in black frames in a grid pattern, it’s a very sophisticated look.” A grid pattern works best with monochrome maps, black and white travel photos or typography.

Charlie’s top tip for a gallery-worthy wall? “To give gallery walls a sense of cohesion, at least one element must be uniform – you might choose all black and white frames, the same size frames, evenly spaced frames or the same colour running through all the prints and artworks.” Watch this space for Anna’s attempt at a gallery wall.

Image via cococozy.com.
  
STEP FIVE: BE CASUAL
Commitment-phobes can eschew the concept of hanging art altogether and instead casually prop their pictures up against the wall, atop tables, benches or even the floor. “You can change pictures quite regularly this way and don’t have to put lots of nails in the wall,” says Charlie. “I love layering images – so, a small work in front of a larger one – and incorporating things like mirrors.” Another option is leaning art atop a picture ledge or floating shelf – try the selection at Ikea or Freedom.



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