Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grouping Smaller Items...

...for a Bigger Impact

Last week we talked about hanging wall decor. I mentioned that larger spaces need larger items or a grouping of smaller items. Today, I want to offer tips on building a cohesive collection of elements on a wall.

1. Pick at least one coordinating element to unify your grouping.

::Purchase or paint all frames a single color. (It isn't necessary to use the same style if they match in color or tone.)

::Use all sepia-tone or black & white photos in a picture grouping.

::Create a collage of single colored items. For example: all white plates, frames, and candle sconces.
::Repeating a single element can create a bold graphic display.

2. Find ways to physically connect or contain smaller items.

::Use a shelf (photo ledge/gallery shelf) to display photo frames or plates.

::Pin memorabilia to a large framed cork board.

::Hang an over-sized empty wooden frame around a selection of diminutive decor.

::Connect several items with a length of ribbon hung either horizontally or vertically.

::Hang items (using twine, ribbon, wire...) from a long coat rack or wooden peg rack.

::This brings me to my favorite tip of the day...
Do you have a room that is crying out for a bold splash of paint, but you are too nervous to cover all the walls? Do you have an area or wall with no clear beginning or end? Do you want to create an instant focal point?

Paint a square (circle, rectangle) on the wall to contain your grouping. This can be a splash of color on a neutral-colored wall, a color slightly more intense than the base coat, a contrasting color, or even a simple neutral color.

I recommend painting an area just larger than the grouping you intend to highlight. If you want the freedom to change around your decor, keep the remaining can of paint handy for easy touch-ups and nail hole patches.

If you want to emphasize the area, attach simple (or not so simple) wooden trim in a frame around the painted square.

In our previous home I desperately wanted to paint our hallway an interesting color (it was boring white), but there was no place to end the paint before heading into the kitchen. I painted a large rectangle (it almost filled one wall), hung four picture ledges floor to ceiling within the space, and painted a quote to define the theme.
3. Be aware of your 'white space.'

::Keep a relatively even amount of wall space in between each element. You want your decor to be neither too far apart (so as to seem disconnected), nor too close together (creating a crowded, uncomfortable feeling).

::Avoid creating areas of boxed-in empty wall space in your layout.

4. Choose a unifying theme.

::Themes have a way of establishing instant atmosphere in a room. Straw hats and wooden oars: relaxing boat house. Metal watering cans and vintage botanical prints: garden cottage. Salvaged architectural pieces and industrial sculpture: urban loft. Elvis records and a CocaCola sign: retro diner.

::Consider defining your theme with a quote, lettering, or sign. For example, you might paint the word Nest within a grouping of bird-themed articles.

5. Experiment with placement.

::Set your items on the floor or on a large table so that you can see how they all fit together. When you've arranged everything to your satisfaction, take the center-most item and hang it in the center of your wall space, about eye level. Hang each item, working from the center out.

::Alternately, use pieces of paper cut to the same size as the items you'll be using in your grouping so that you can easily move things around to find the right arrangement. Use tape or poster putty to attach them to the wall. When you are ready to start hanging, put the corresponding paper up to the back of each item to mark where your nail holes need to be. Adhere the papers to the wall, pound your nails through them, tear the papers off, and you are ready to put up the finished product.


I'll be exploring these tips in greater depth individually in the coming months (with photographs!). Let me know if you have any questions or are interested in a specific how-to and I will try to address them as I cover each topic.

Are there other decorating tips or how-to's that you would find helpful?


frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Love these tips and agree with them! This post of mine from June demonstrates the paint on the wall unifying a group of pictures. Take a look! :)

~ Sarah

Heidi said...

Sarah~ That's *perfect!* Excellent grouping and the way you used an extra line of paint to border your collage of photos looks terrific. Would you mind if I used your photo for a later post? (with a link, of course :))

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Sure Heidi, no problem. Let me know if you want a better quality picture--that one is pretty grainy!!

~ Sarah

Nicole said...

Hi Heidi!

I'm really enjoying your decorating lessons! Here's a question: with 3 boys, you must accumulate lots of "stuff"... how do you edit and keep your home always looking so neat and organized?

By the way, I tagged you! I think you have to go to my blog and get the questions.

Take Care,
Nicole - Crafting Happens

Christina said...

I love your ideas!

I have a wall that is so cluttered, but there's no way around it. So should I continue a cluttered theme in the rest of the room? Maybe I'll take a pic and show you since I'm horrible at describing.

Thanks for the tips! I'm using the paint on the wall for a grouping. Probably this week. But instead of a grouping, I'll just be hanging a map in that area. This way I don't have to buy a custom made frame. Thank YOU!!

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love your collage of sepia-toned pictures! That is great advice to keep them all of the same color or tone... and your theme of wedding/family is wonderful. Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

When we used to live in an apartment in the States, I wanted to remove the standard bathroom mirror and hang my nice framed one. Well, when we took off the mirror, the wall underneath was all icky and unpainted compared to the rest of the wall. So instead of repainting the whole wall, we just painted a pale blue frame around my new mirror, pretty much the size of the old mirror. It worked great, added some punch, and saved me from having to paint the whole wall!

Love the photos, as usual.

Renee said...

It's official. You're a genius. At least by my standards!

Darcy @ m3b said...

Heidi -

I wanted to tell you that I've really enjoyed the Rachel Carson (sp?) book you recommended a few posts back. Her book is beautiful.

The author/speaker from "Nature Deficit Disorder" is coming to a town near me. If I can go, I'll try to take notes. Have you heard about it?

I love these tips. I recently hung a grouping of frames up. now I just have to fill them! ;) Empty frames... not as beautifful as your gorgeous walls. My newest project (and by *my* I'm mean Handy man's!) is to line the backsplash of my school room with 12x12s of decorative cork. Fun!

Love your advice!


Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Our stairwell has become our "family picture" wall. Everyone loves looking at them as we go upstairs, but the frames are hodge podge. I have been wanting to paint them all for a long time...this confirms it. Off to buy lots of black paint.:)I'll let you know when I am done.
I also let my girls do your picture idea with the circles of scrapbook paper. For a 5 and 9 year old, they did an awesome job. Now, for mommy to do a more "adult" one.:)

Elise said...

Enjoyed this post!!

heather said...

This is incredibly helpful! I can hardly wait for the pictures. I like to see the ideas in a photo. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

Beth said...

I really liked this post! The idea in #2 especially caught my attention. I have been, slowly but surely, cross-stitching a collection of pictures all with the same theme and I hadn't come up with any idea of how to showcase them.

We also have a bedroom wall that *needs* something. Now I've got to think about pictures, color, framing elements... Wow, sounds like a lot to figure out! I'll be watching for your more detailed posts with pics.

Anonymous said...

So sweet wall decor idea!! I too love to use this one for my home decoration!!

Adventure girl said...

Wow! So many Heidi's in the blogging world. I am new to it and I am just amazed how many I see:)
Heidi C