Wall Décor Outside the Frame

Here are three guidelines to keep in mind when you hang things other than art or photos on your walls.

By Ande Waggener

 

When it comes to interior design and wall décor, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Art, right? Or photos. Maybe mirrors. But generally, what we put on our walls is contained within a frame.

 

Creative decorators, however, like to think outside the frame. That’s understandable. The zone outside the frame is a fun free-for-all. Any manner of things can be hung on walls. And once it’s hung on the wall, unless it’s your dirty workout clothes dangling damply from a hook, it’s now art.

 

Just because you create art out of objects, however, doesn’t mean you’re going to get a well-designed wall space. A lot can go wrong when you start tacking objects up onto walls.

 

To be sure you don’t create a home décor disaster when you style a room by hanging up untraditional wall “art,” check out these three guidelines.

 

1. Create a Connection

You probably intuitively know that hanging one small framed artwork or photo in a vast expanse of wall space isn’t a good idea. Your eye, educated as it is to framed works, will let you know when a piece isn’t a good fit for your wall.

 

When it comes to objects, however, the intuitive eye is more easily fooled. Because you like an object itself, you may think it looks cool on your wall. But if it’s hanging out in a void all by itself, that probably isn’t true.

 

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To prevent deerly, um, dearly lost objects on your walls, be sure you hang the object in a position and in a way that relates it to its surroundings. One way to do this is with proximity. Be sure your object is close to something else on the wall. The second way to do it is with color or texture. Be sure to include in the object’s general vicinity other design elements that are of the same or similar color or material.

 

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2. Carry the Weight

When you design your room, including when you hang things on your walls, you need to keep the weight of objects in mind. In room design, that weight isn’t about how much something actually weighs. It’s about how much it seems to weigh in terms of having enough impact in a space.

 

If what you put on your wall isn’t substantial enough to carry the weight of the wall’s total area, the result is going to feel too “light.” This can happen when you hang a cluster of small objects. If the objects don’t have a lot of structural density, they’ll get lost on an otherwise bare wall. In other words, they won’t be able to carry the weight of the wall.

 

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The larger the wall area on which you’re hanging your objects, the more substantial your objects need to be. Smaller objects can still work in relatively confined wall spaces (say, between nearby room accents or some other wall art). They also can work if they provide a strong color and/or shape contrast to the wall and surrounding design elements.

 

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3. Command the Wall

Separate from the issue of weight is the issue of presence. Even if your objects have the structure and size to fill a wall space, they may not have enough character to hold their own on the wall. Simple objects hung alone or in a loose pattern often have this weak effect.

 

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If the shape of your object is plain, it must have one of two things going for it. One, it can be so large that it becomes abundantly clear that it’s the boss of the wall. Or two, if your objects are small, you need to cluster them in such an interesting way that they form themselves into a whole new personality that demands attention.

 

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If you keep the above guidelines in mind, you can turn almost anything you have lying around into something you keep hanging around (dirty workout clothes excepted, of course). Unique and striking wall décor might be lurking around your home right now, just waiting to be one of your brilliant interior design ideas.

 

What have you hung on your walls? Please share your ideas in the comments.

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

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