Dear Gail: We just moved into a larger home and have a lot more wall space than our last home. We thought we had enough artwork to fill the walls but we don’t. We’re not looking to invest in large pieces of artwork but want to finish decorating. What suggestions can you give us to fill our blank walls? — Rob &Karen.
Dear Rob and Karen: Whenever you have large blank walls, your first thoughts are large pieces or massive wall galleries. Large pieces do come with a price and wall galleries can add up.
If you haven’t already hung all your pieces, look to incorporate them with other elements. Small pieces paired together with shelves, wall brackets and wall pockets can nicely fill a space. I especially like to use simple but interesting shelves with artwork. Then you can add just a few accessories to complete the look. It gives great visual interest and you can give it a new look with just a quick accessory change.
Wall pockets with tall twigs and curly willow are good for filling a space without adding too much weight. If the vase is clear, use silica sand instead of trying to camouflage floral foam. Plus the twigs go in much easier.
If you have a large area over a sofa, use a couple of tall, narrow pieces instead of one large piece. You can hang them either vertical or horizontal depending upon the pieces. They do need to be all the same size and theme to properly make this work, as you can see in the photo. One piece over the sofa would feel heavy, but with the four pieces we took up the same amount of wall space and gave it more interest.
Another option is to group together multiple pieces, again the same size and theme. It gives the appearance of a wall gallery without being too busy.
When spacing artwork, the normal rule is 3 inches to 6 inches apart, but on a larger wall it’s OK to space them out a little more, but no more than 12 inches. When doing this I like the pieces to be at least 16 by 20 otherwise they will get lost on the wall. If you can find pieces 20 by 20, even better.
If you’re hanging over a piece of furniture, say a buffet or console, off center the artwork and place a taller lamp, accessory or green on the other side. This fills the wall space without all of it being artwork.
Metal wall hangings are another element that will fill a space without the bulk or the price of a large piece. You can incorporate it with things you have or if large enough, it can stand on its own.
Paint is a great wall filler. Select an accent color which enhances your artwork and it will fill the space. Pick one of your favorite colors from your art and don’t be afraid to go bold.
Create a simple wainscot panel effect by using a 4 inch by 6 inch or 2 inch by 4 inch board. Place in a grid pattern and paint it one color. This idea works best on a wall with a flat ceiling versus a vault.
One of my favorites is adding wall words which are totally customizable. They’re inexpensive and can be made in any size, color and font.
Also check out the many wall murals available. They work fine on our textured walls if you get the kind that rub-on versus vinyl. I’ve put many up myself with no problem.
One mistake people do on large walls is to stagger the pictures, placing one higher than the other. Believe it or not, two pictures side-by-side will visually take up more wall space. Another mistake is to hang the artwork higher up on a tall wall. It doesn’t fill the wall anymore and actually brings attention to how large the wall is.
Artwork should be hung at eye level of an average height person. I’m 5 foot 5 inches and hang artwork with the center at 54 inches.
Along with the small galleries ideas I’ve given, if you’re crafty you can make large pieces of artwork with a simple canvas and fabric. The rub-on words and murals also work well on canvas.
Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is: www.GMJinteriors.com.