Tips for Choosing and Displaying Art

Artwork is one of the quickest and easiest ways to add color, style, and a personal touch to your space. But with so many options out there today, it can be hard to know where to begin! The first step is to simply get in touch with what you love, because you are the one who will be living with the art. Browsing art online is fun, and it’s a great way to expose yourself to many different styles and see what you respond positively to — but if you are just beginning to figure out your taste in art, I recommend also taking a few little “field trips” to local art galleries and events to broaden your horizons and experience art up close and personal.

 Art Walls
Photo credits: 1. Becki Owens for Domino Magazine 2. Molly Winters for Urban Outfitters 3. The Glitter Guide 4. The Design Files

I love the idea of collecting artwork around a theme, because this means you will end up with a group of art that works really well hung together on the same wall. Depending on what you are drawn to, you might choose to collect floral and botanical prints, colorful abstracts, or moody black and white photography. And of course, don’t forget you can always frame your own photos! Once you know what you like, it’s time to figure out where you will put your gorgeous new art — here are 5 of my favorite ways to display art.

1. In a grid. This works well with art or photographs in identical frames, and creates a very neat, crisp look that works beautifully in any space.

2. Salon style. I just love the creative and relaxed vibe of a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall — and it’s not as hard to pull off as it looks! In fact, the grid can be much trickier because it relies on very exact measuring, while a salon-style grouping like this one can be much less precise and still look great. One tip to remember is always start in the center with a larger piece of art, and work your way up, down, and outward from there. The best part of this gallery wall is you can build it up over time, adding pieces as your collection grows!

3. Frames touching. Hanging a grouping of artwork very close (with the frames actually touching one another) is very modern and fresh. Try this in the dining room with a grouping of subtle drawings in slim gold or light wood frames, or above your sofa.

4. Against a colorful backdrop. Just about any artwork looks even better when placed on a wall painted in a richly saturated hue like the blue shown above.

Art Walls 2
Photo: Varpunen.

5. Black and white. You really can’t go wrong with an art wall done all in black and white, it’s foolproof! Try mixing it up a little by incorporating graphic prints and posters, black and white photography, black and white illustrations, and maps. Hang everything in slim black or white frames, and use bright white mats.

When you are ready to hang up your artwork, be sure to take your time and measure carefully before you begin. For lighter weight frames, using removable Command strips is a great way to keep things simple and easy — and if you mess up, you won’t be left with tons of holes in your wall! If you must use a more permanent method, I highly recommend seeking out picture frames with art wire attached to the back. This makes the frame much easier to hang because you only need one hook, and it’s easy to straighten.

Most of all, when it comes to choosing and displaying artwork, the most important thing is to have fun, and go with what you love. Right now for spring, I am loving fresh, modern florals like the four prints shown here. Happy art hunting!

Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Simple Stems VIII by June Erica Vess; Bloomer Squares XV by James Burghardt; Small Blue Linen IV by Megan Meagher; Laney I by Kevin Calaguiro

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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9 Responses to Tips for Choosing and Displaying Art

  1. Laurie says:

    It is wonderful to have something on the walls of your home to give it a bit of interest. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  2. Kyle Wayne says:

    The point that you made about collecting artwork around a theme makes a lot of sense to me. I am new to collecting meaningful art pieces, so this advice was especially helpful. I will be sure to do more research so that I can decorate my home with pieces of artistic expression that I love!

  3. Thank you for the insight about black and white options. As you say, this is a foolproof way of hanging art, which I agree with. However, I don’t want to make the art wall to monochromatic. So, the suggestion you gave about mixing it up with different prints and posters and types of art will help make it interesting, too. Great tips!

  4. This is some really good information about buying and displaying art. I like what you said about the black and white artwork. Also, I like that you talked about how you should use a wire to hang the picture. It might be a good idea to get help choosing meaningful artwork from an art gallery or an art dealer.

  5. I think I would like to do something like the black and white example that you showed. My style is a little different, I tend to prefer realistic pen art, but it would be the same concept. This really helps me because I was having a hard time choosing between a lot of art pieces, but a have a lot of black and white ones. I’ll be planning this out soon, thank you!

  6. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that artwork looks good against a colorful backdrop. My husband is an artist, and we just moved into a new house, so I’d like to hang some of his work in the living room. We’re going to be repainting most of the house, and I’ll definitely look into painting that room something colorful like a bright blue to make a nice backdrop. Thanks for the great post!

  7. Right now the walls in my apartment are as blank as a brand new piece of paper. I’d like to turn my apartment into an elegant and sophisticated place to live, so I think hanging wall art will create that environment. I appreciate your tip about trying to create a wall with art that is in black and white. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Ben Allen says:

    I appreciate the information on how to choose and display art. I had no idea that hanging art with the frames touching is a big thing, I would have guessed that you would want some space in between the pieces. My sister just got a new home and she wants to put art on the walls and isn’t sure what to get, I will be sure to share this information with her.

  9. Scott Adams says:

    I like that you suggested trying to have lots of wood frames touching each other, maybe in a dining room. I have been looking for new art to add to my home, and I wasn’t sure what to go with. I will probably end up going with wood colors, because that is what I already have in my home.

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