Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ta-da! an art wall

how my art wall came together. (also known as "instead of unpacking i hung pictures during my first week")

we are not going to discuss why it has been a few months and i am still unpacking, but at least i have a pretty art wall.

let's start at the beginning.

in order to complete an art wall, one must aquire quite a lot of art - and have a wall big enough for all the art. i have lived in many different apartments, none of which had the windows my current apartment has. instead, they have had lots of walls.

i really like art. not fancy art, but art nonetheless. i go antiquing on the weekends, i like to frame pieces of pretty scrapbook paper, i also shop on etsy. having lots of walls never made this an issue.

until now.

i love my 14 windows, but it makes it hard to hang pictures, since furniture needed to go against the other non-windowed walls. what to do with all that art?!

luckily, i had a HUGE wrap-around wall in the hallway of closets. perfect for a FLOOR TO CEILING art wall. if you didn't see my previous post, here is my apartment floorplan and where the artwall would go:

whew. that was a lot of explaining. now for the actual photos.

(disclaimer: i have hung a lot of pictures. because of this, i am pretty good at eyeballing where to put the nail in the wall. i also like to free flow the hanging of the artwork, holding up different sizes and shapes and visualizing. translation - i did not make paper-cut outs for the pictures or put up paper on the wall to map it all out before i started. i would recommend doing this if you haven't hung or are nervous about it coming all together. though time consuming up-front, it is very helpful.)

i began with the smaller of the two walls. the wall was narrow, so i knew i would have a harder time fitting pictures. a harder time meant i wanted to have all my art to select from for the space.

how do i choose what art to start with? well i start with my favorites. i knew there were a few i definitely wanted on the wall, ones that i loved looking at and wouldn't get tired of. important since this project could take some time...

the vintage paint-by-number was one of those. it also had the perfect colors (seafoam green, pink) to tie into the living room. the wall would be visible from the room, so it was important it coordinated. it was also the largest, so a good place to begin.

i put it in the middle, but slightly off to one-side (rule of thirds). whenever i start art collections, i always go for hanging the largest first and then move outward from all sides. why i didn't hang in the middle - to have a picture "centered" on the wall looked funny to me. on a more practical note, it also would be hard to find tiny pictures to flank each side.

you can also see the next two i hung were to the left of the big print. i tried to keep in in an aesthetically pleasing grouping. on the floor you can see a variety of pictures waiting to make the cut. honestly, there is a lot of holding up and staring.

things to think through:
i chose all square/rectangle frames. it made it easier to hang and create white space between the prints.
i didn't want any frame to match when next to another frame. i so many different ones, it would have been weird for two matchers to be next to each other. (added some complexity to hanging). if you are using all one color, i don't think this matters as much. obviously, using all the same frames eliminates the issue.
lastly, i didn't want the actual artwork inside the frame to be too similar. it would make it feel more collected and eclectic. ex: watercolor wouldn't be next to a watercolor.

anywho, i then just started building. first moving up on the small wall

and then moving sideways onto the larger wall. i didn't keep the spacing consistent between pictures because i was going for a "collected over time" look. evenly spaced would look more clean and modern.

and then, i just kept going...

it's like a big puzzle, waiting to be solved!

so close!

just a few stray holes to fill in.


voila! completed!

it was so satisfying when i finished. the best test? a few months later and i still love it. 

who else has tackled an art wall? or another home-decor project?

until next time,


  1. It looks so great!! Who did the Boston terrier painting? It's so great!

  2. tara - could you do a little montage over a couch or something?

    reeve - thanks so much! i picked up the printed canvas from TJMaxx/Marshalls sometime last year. It didn't have any information associated with it (you know how those stores roll) But there were a few different dog options, the boston terrier was by far the cutest!

  3. i did a google search... all i could find was this:

    it is a closer up picture of the print along with one of the others in the series.

  4. AND.. found it for you :)