How to add color and expression to your walls without painting them


I've been asked this question quite a bit lately and so it inspired me to write a post about adding art to walls - passing along information and tidbits that can help everyone. Whether you're starting your first home, looking to furnish and decorate a second home, or starting all over after a move or divorce, there comes a time in our lives when we find ourselves in a new place that's completely empty but filled with endless possibility.

I got divorced and moved out of my marital home just two years ago. I brought very little with me and left most behind. This meant I had a lot to replace and within a fairly tight budget. Because I had the children with me, there was a sense of urgency to make the house feel like a home, as soon as was possible. As with any project, or any home project, it is really best to try not to do it all at once. And so I added what I thought was essential and then took my time to find just the right pieces. We're still a work in progress, but our house definitely feels like a home. It's filled with things that mean something to us without feeling cluttered and over-decorated - that's simply not my style anyhow. In a rush-rush world, we must remember that slow and steady wins the race. (I tend to forget this and seem always to get caught up in the moment!)

This slow and steady attitude absolutely applies to the home as well. Recently when I went to Bunny Williams' outdoor and gardening store, Treillage, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with her. Her advice when it comes to decorating your home is to take it room by room. Complete one room at a time before moving on to the next one. If not, your home will never be really complete. So start off with the basics in each room, then decide which room you want to work on and complete first. If you like to entertain you may want to concentrate on your living and dining areas before moving on to bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways. I tend to do this as well, but I find that a room or a house is never truly ever finished - or rather, there's always room for that special something that must be hung, placed on a bedside table or in the corner. Don't let the idea of filling your home daunt you. Start with baby steps. Let's work on the walls - I find they add most of our home's personality. They best tell your story - your passions and loves and interests. 

You need not fill all your walls with expensive art. If you have a great piece it should be showcased and placed in a prominent place - it will become a natural focal point. In some cases the art will find a place in a home that is already furnished and in some cases the furniture may be placed around the piece of art. If you haven't such artwork you needn't worry. There are many wonderful ways to add expression and color to your walls. The ideas I am about to share work as well on colorful walls as they do on those that are more neutral in tone.

Have you traveled? I love collecting pieces from my trips - could be a simple print, a black and white photograph or even a map. Frame maps, prints, posters from museums, photographs, vintage scarves (Hermes) and flags to create original art and add your own touch. Frame your children's artwork. Frame photos of your children, and vintage photographs from distant ancestors will ad a certain worldliness to your space. 

If you plan on creating a gallery on a wall you most likely won't have many pieces to start with. I suggest finding a central spot on the wall, at or just above eye level, depending on your height. You can then work out and up from there. Don't worry about symmetry. Odd numbers can make for an interesting and sophisticated look. You just want to be sure that one side doesn't look heavier than the other - or that your wall doesn't look top heavy.

Visit antique stores, flea markets, and consignment shops for inspiration. You're not looking for something with great worth, but something that will enhance the look and feel of your own home. When you visit these places do try to negotiate down to a better price. Cash usually speaks louder than a credit card. Another great item to fill empty wall space are mirrors. In some cases the bigger the better! Look for simple and decorative trims. I have written about using flags here and maps here if you're looking for more inspiration.

via Houzz

via Houzz

via Houzz

via King Ranch Saddle Shop

via House and Garden Co., UK

via Casa Suga

via Prairie Perch

via Pinterest

via Karen Blake Interior Design//Architectural Digest

via Robert Stillin

I hope these ideas and images have inspired you!

Please visit my Pinterest board for many more ideas, such as where to hang art in the most unexpected of places. Click here for more!