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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Picture Perfect

Hanging pictures isn't easy. Sure, you can tack a few nails in a wall and toss on some frames. But if you're not careful, the display can look a little, well... 'dishevelled', as my grandmother would say. I'm not the most adroit picture placer, but having learned a tip or two from some of the best interior designers in the world, I'm now on a vertical learning curve. So to speak. Here, in a little design lesson to kick off the design week, is a selection of the tricks I've picked up from those who are far more adept at this than me.

Lesson No 1: Go Up, Not Across
Don't feel compelled to always position your frames in a 'square' grouping, or even along a horizontal line. A vertical placement of identical frames can look dramatic, especially above a chair. We positioned these black-and-white prints in a strong vertical line because it complemented the strong lines of the tongue-and-groove walls.

Lesson No 2: Find Frames That Complement The Wall
If you have a strong colour on your walls, consider grouping your images in an equally dramatic way. We could have gone with mahogany frames here, or all-white ones, but the black and white mix seemed to be more sophisticated – and surprising. This was a difficult wall to decorate because the old 1970's tongue-and-groove was on a diagonal and rather than rip it all out we just painted it in Kate Spade green, which reflected the garden outside. These garden prints and photographs brought it all together. 

Lesson No 4: Frame Whatever Pleases You
Don't think you have to hang priceless art work, or expensive paintings and prints. We have black-and-white photographs everywhere in our home, so I wanted to veer away from that 'gallery' look in the bedroom and library. Instead, I found four of my favourite magazine covers from Vogue, Vogue Living and Vanity Fair and threw them in some cheap black Ikea frames to dress up the bedroom. You could do an entire wall in magazine covers. Imagine them on an all-black wall in a study or library? How beautiful would that look? And for the corner of the library, we used a cheap tourist map of Midtown Manhattan (which was surprisingly well-designed) and the front of an exhibition catalogue from the International Centre of Photography in New York. 

Lesson No 5: Group similar images close together. We didn't leave much of a gap between each of these frames because I wanted the whole grouping to look very dramatic. The black frames blend into the glossy black wall, leaving only the white mounts and photographs as contrast.

{NB Will happily accept criticism on these lessons, so just email the comments through!}

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