One of my good friends has all of these freshly painted walls in her new house, but now needs art and things to fill them. I’ve been mulling it over in the back of my head and finally sketched out some ideas for her.
Display your favorite belongings, collections and quirky items in shadowboxes. Group things together. I’m partial to odd numbered items when it comes to collection and repetition. If you need inspiration from the Queen of Collections, check out Lisa Congdon’s Collection a Day.
Past items I’ve displayed are the gold sequined beaded bag (sketched below), a lemon yellow flapper dress scored at a thrift store in Florida, and a tiara from homecoming court. What a trend, all of these things are shiny, sparkly and somewhat gaudy!
I think a collection of medals would be neat, especially if they held personal meaning. The options are endless, and it becomes art, sentiment and quirky sideshow for your guests. Go mount your beloved grandmother’s old spoons, broken pieces of teacups, the burlap coffee sack you picked up in Central America. Whatever speaks to you. Be genuine!
Frame things you have or are large. Think maps, large photographs and favorite pieces of fabric.
Maps! Who doesn’t love maps? They showcase the world at different times, feed your travel lust, track places you’ve been, are colorful graphic images, and take up space.
You can embroider an epic roadtrip route traveled in college where your car broke down on the side of a mountain in Utah (moi), track a honeymoon trip, or pin places you want to go. You can use the actual map as a canvas for the shape of a favorite state. Purchase or create an illustrated map for a favorite destination or to document an event or trip.
Utilize your thousand megapixel camera finally and blow up your travel photos, still lives, or portraits. You can go as big as The Novogratz’s do with wall paper, or you can aim for 24×36. Or buy a print of some of your favorite photographers.
There is also fabric. I mounted a handmade woven piece from Peru with a dowel rod. You can frame or mount on canvas that yard of fabric you love but won’t ever touch. Enjoy it everyday instead!
Make your own collages using old paint chips, cut paper, magazines, old books, etc. If you’re artsy, make shapes and have fun. Have some friends over. Use a reference to trace a silhouette or a favorite vegetable. Do a grouping of 4 fruits or veggies for your kitchen. Paint 3 pictures of your favorite dogs that you’re not allowing yourself to adopt yet. Make shapes using cut out triangles or a paper punch. Cut stripes and be random.
Frame it and enjoy. Trade with friends. Collaborate. See if wine helps or hinders. Paste over the mistakes. Hang it in the laundry room if it’s an utter failure!
Make paintings! Same as idea three, but with art supplies. You can make a ton of colors by mixing primary red, blue, and yellow with white and black. Acrylic is easy if you’ve never done it, and mixes with water which everyone is used to. Trace some patterns, mix up some colors and make simple piece of art that you are proud of.
Invest in artists (established or emerging depending on your budget), that you love. Purchase photographs, prints, letterpress, screen-prints, illustrations, printed linen, whatever you want to look at daily.
I always think you should buy art that speaks to you, that makes you smile or feel something each time you walk by. Of course I live with a painter, so our walls are filled gallery style, but I still smile each time I see my beloved Heather Smith Jones piece or the watercolor from my friend Margaret’s travels to Alaska in the 70s.
- Big Cartel
- Michelle Armas
- Claudia Pearson
- Julia Rothman
- Lisa Rupp Designs
- Mike East (have to add my partner-in-crime)
Regardless of what you choose to fill your home, enjoy doing it, know that it’s a process, and bring things and art in that you love. Let me know what I forgot!
And have fun! Life is short and artwork can be rearranged.
(Says the girl with an alligator head and pink lawn flamingos).