Your Décor Dilemma?
- You had to have that 8″×8″ print you saw a street fair. But your small treasure gets lost on a large wall.
- You have a 5″×7″ family photo you adore. But tables and bureaus can hold only so many free-standing frames.
- There’s a space in your home where you want to showcase seasonal decor. But you don’t know where to start.
How will you handle these design dilemmas? Your solution could be to hang multiple same-size prints in a group. Before you hang yourself, follow this advice to hang five 5″x7″ prints—and get professional results without messing up your artwork, your walls, or your peace of mind.
Identify Space for the Group
Where do you want your group of prints? Hallways and bedrooms are good places for family photos. You might want original art in your living room, great room, or kitchen. Seasonal decor is perfect in a front foyer.
Tour your home for the right amount of space. A wide space above a table or counter works well for horizontal multiples. For five 5″×7″ prints, figure about four feet of horizontal space but only one foot or so of vertical space.
Plan Overall Design
Before you buy the first frame or pound the first nail, plan and assemble your group of prints. This step is either the most fun or the hardest! If you are starting from scratch, make these decisions before you acquire. If you already have your first print, take a careful look at it. Consider the following:
- Are the orientations portrait (up and down) or landscape (across)? Figure 1 shows three 5″x7″ prints, two of which are landscape. Figure 2 shows five 5″x7″ prints, all of them portrait.
- What colors do you want to emphasize? Select a color or palette (a group of harmonizing shades). For a sleek, modern look, use prints that are black, white, and shades of gray. For a seasonal group, identify associated colors—black and orange for Halloween, for example.
- You will not be able to match colors exactly, but that’s OK! Think of families of tones. Look around your home for dominant shades and accent colors.
Purchase Identical Frames1
Your prints have variety enough to engage the eye. This is not the time for unique, one-off frames. Acquire the same frame for each of your prints. Select neutral frames: black, white, or a metal or wood tone. In Hang a Group Part 2, you will discover another very good reason for using identical frames.
Take clues from your home’s style and furnishings to guide your frame decision. Consider the wall color on which the prints will hang. Figure 1 demonstrates gray or silver frames on a light-green2 wall. Figure 2 shows black frames on a taupe3 wall.
If your wall is white, don’t choose white frames—unless you wish for the completely bizarre effect of artwork dangling in space. Figure 3 shows Halloween-themed prints with white frames on a lavender4 wall. If these were in black frames, the look would be 100 percent “haunted-goth house.”
With the appropriate space mapped out and your group of framed prints at the ready, you can get hanging! To begin, you will need:
- The five framed prints
- Five picture hangers or nails of the same size
- A yardstick and, optionally, a measuring tape
- A pencil with an eraser and a piece of paper
- A level
- A hammer
- Your phone’s calculator app or a manual calculator
All set? Hang a Group Part 2
1 For a bohemian or rustic look, ignore this advice and mix up the frames. Flea markets, estate sales, and antique stores are good places to find frames that help you achieve your dream décor.
2 Wall color is Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt, SW 6037
3 Wall color is Sherwin-Williams Temperate Taupe, SW 6037
4 Wall color is Sherwin-Williams Thistle, SW 6283
Elizabeth G Fagan is a writer and artist who resides on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in southeastern Wisconsin—a place she calls Lake Michigan’s Left Coast.
Fagan attended The Hammonasset School, a private arts high school in Connecticut, where she began writing and taking photographs. She earned a BA in English at Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa) and the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC). She has an MA in Linguistics with a specialization in teaching English as a second language (ESL) from UIC. Fagan later gained an associate degree in Web Development from DePaul University in Chicago.
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