Monday, January 12, 2009

hang it...

I know so many people who have a bunch of art work, photos and other kinds of framed stuff just sitting in the back of a closet, in the middle of gardening tools on a rack in the garage or amongst the inflatable reindeer in the attic.

What gives?

Usually, fear of the permanence and "getting it wrong." Many homeowner's on a bunch of the shows I've worked on over the years fall into similar categories. They have really great things to hang, but the idea of putting a nail in the wall and then not liking how it has all worked out strikes boundless amounts of fear.

C'mon! Let's get that stuff up on the walls.

If you have a bunch of it, making a focal art wall is an awesome way to to create a real striking and dramatic look. It's also perfect for those of you who don't want to commit to putting color on your walls. Having a whole wall filled with art can give you instant color based on the art you choose to hang. Filling a wall with frames is so much easier than it looks.

1) Most frames that you buy at the store have a piece of cardboard or paper in them that are the size of the frame. Go ahead and remove that for now since you're going to use it as part of your "puzzle piece" in figuring out how to hang your frames.

2) If you're incorporating a piece of art work or frame that doesn't have the paper insert, you can use newspaper or inexpensive butcher paper and trace the silhouette of the piece. Cut out the space and you're good to go.

3) The only other thing you'll need right now is some masking tape--nothing too sticky so it doesn't leave any glue on the wall.

4) All you have to do now is to start taping the papers that correspond to the photos/art work to your wall. Put some up, move back and see how it's looking. Continue the process and move stuff around, add more, remove some, keep playing with it. This is just a giant wall puzzle that is actually all about what feels right for you, your room and what you're trying to accomplish.

Filling one single wall can be quite dramatic and really fun to look at!

If you're not afraid of color, adding a great hue behind your framed art work or photos can bring a whole other layer to the impact.

Play with frame colors. Go all one tone-black museum frames or all metal. Mix them all around. You can do a wall where each frame is completely different from funky thrift store finds, unframed stretched canvases to gaudy gold leaf framed B&W photography. There are no rules here. Really, the only rule is to make it yours. This is your home and it needs to tell your story. There is no such thing as the "right" way to hang a photo. Every person lives in a different type of home with varying ceiling heights and room sizes. Experiment with placement and see what happens.

Great design only happens when you challenge yourself.
This isn't an exact science.
It's creativity.
Anything can happen.

all images above from THE NEST/home design handbook. Published by Clarkson Potter
It's a pretty groovy book and is filled with a bunch of cool info.

-angelo surmelis


Cindy said...


Thank you for always inspiring me. You have done that since your days on Clean Sweep but recently your cheers to "go forth & design well" have encouraged me so well!

Kelli said...

Great tips! THANK YOU. I am going to get that book. I checked it out on amazon and it looks really good. It will have to keep until you come out with yours. Love your show!!!! I am constantly inspired.

Janice said...

I am one of those that you described. OMG!
My closets are filled with framed and unframed art work. I have no idea what to do with them and I want them up on my walls. I do fear that I will do it wrong, but you're right, what's "wrong?" I do love the idea of taping the papers on my wall and experimenting with placement. Thank you. I needed a bit of a push. Your show has been quite inspiring actually. I finally put color in my home after living with off white since I bought it, 6 years ago. This weekend, the art is coming out of the closet and I'm playing with hanging it. Keep you posted.


Karen JS said...

This book looks great. I'm off to get it. THANK YOU for the info. I need a kick I the butt! I have had framed, unframed, I don't know what and more kind of art, photos, posters just sitting under my bed and in my closets for years. My bare walls are ridiculous. I watch your shows and think, how do i do this? Where do i get the courage? So now I have to ask, what am I afraid of? I guess the "commitment." I am going to do this. The idea of moving the paper cut outs around actually sound kinda fun. RMS is incredibly inspirational! Watching your obvious enthusiasm and love for what you do is contagious. Your connection with each homeowner make me smile and a bit envious. I wish you could come to my house. Love the blog. Have a great day. Karen JS

Denise said...

I am addicted to your blog. I know you don't have time to write all the time but I just wanted to let you know I appreciate when you do! I not only enjoy the info and the pics, but your way of writing about it is awesome. LOVE your shows too. Hope the new Year is treating you right! Big Fan and love your laugh.

Drea said...

I love you and your stylin' ways!!!!

Jenny said...

Great advice. I am putting in to use today! No more bare walls!!!! woo-hoo.

mrsben said...

Oh how I love Artwork but I must confess that I also have a weakness for wallpaper. Do you have any tips for choosing the latter? ie: Scale of a pattern etc. (After many years of practise and flubs, you name the type and I know how to hang it. From Grasscloth, Flocks to Geometrics etc...... OKAY, OKAY, I admit I am a wallpaper-junkie...smiles.)

With reference to your tips.... for #3, in lieu of Masking tape; Green or Blue 'Painters tape' also works well.

Thank you so much for your inspiration and expertise. With sincere appreciation........

THIS IS ME....ONLINE said...

I LOVE the tip for using the cardboard that is in the frame. That's a great tip. I've never heard of that one. You are so smart!

One quick trick that has worked for me is when I am holding up a piece to decide where to hang it, I lightly lick my finger (yes, that is what I said) and catch the wire from the back. When I have it lined up, I touch my finger on the wall where the nail should go. You can easily see the damp spot, put your nail/hanger in and then the spot will disappear. Just make sure your hands are clean and don't be drinking red wine and licking your finger. :)

doreen said...

Great tips. The paper/cardboard hanging tip is awesome! This is such a great way to figure out how you want everything on the wall. I've heard about putting all the art work on the floor and arranging it there. I have tried that, but it's a real pain because what you do on the floor doesn't necessarily translate to a wall. YOU are FANTASTIC and not just because you're good at what you do, but how you relay information AND how relatable you are. LOVE YOU!!!

Lisa said...

I have an actual fear of putting stuff on my walls. I feel like how am I ever going to know where it should go and how it will look. The whole idea overwhelms me. I really do like the plan of hanging up the paper and rearranging it. This let's me experiment with very little trouble and no need to having to continue to put the dreaded nail holes everywhere. I know I am over thinking it, but it's a pain to have to keep rehanging stuff. Thank you for the advice. I really enjoy your show.

Leigh said...

This book is right up my alley, yummy visuals.

Great inspiration!! I still have so many prints I need to just get up.

mbkatc230 said...

Yippee! Thanks so much for this post. My husband works for an artist and is a picture framer by trade, so this one makes me happy! Love your blog.

chubskulit said...

I love the red wall with pictur frames hanging on it.... I watch your show in hgtv and i enjoy watching it..

by the way, I am following your blog now...

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