Hang On! What you need to know about hanging wall art!

Hanging artwork on your wall can make an instant and dramatic change. Art is an integral part of good design and most importantly, a presentation created with your personality in mind. Like paint color, artwork can immediately establish or change a room’s mood.

How you hang art, whether as a single framed piece or a grouping, influences the overall feeling of a room and doing so properly requires planning and preparation.

Many are confused and overwhelmed by the prospect of pounding that nail into the wall…that they just painted! I am here to help you sort through what can be a daunting task punctuated (no pun intended;)) by the myriad of choices and decisions you are faced with making.

The first step is, as always: Make a plan! How many times have you heard me say that? Analyze the style, color and function of the room that the art will be hung.   To make your art work stand out or make a statement, select a picture that best complements the room’s color pallet and is in harmony with the mood and style of the room.

After all, a blank wall is like a canvas of sorts, perfect for arranging pictures and creating a masterpiece that is both stunning by design as well as sentiment. Understanding the basic visual principles such as symmetry and lines is paramount to a well-designed presentation.

Rule number one (after you’ve make your plan and have a style/genre/etc. selected! duh) is to remember when you hang a picture, the size of the frame needs to be relative to the size of the wall. Smaller frames look best on narrow walls, while larger frames or a group of frames is best hung on expansive walls.

When it comes times to hang your artwork, you can minimize nail holes, by first doing a paper layout. This can be as low tech as a sketch or as high tech as using your computer and special software. Another way is to go down to the art supply store and stock up on inexpensive butcher paper and masking tape. Cut the butcher paper into the same shape and size of the pictures and other wall decor you’ll be arranging. On the other hand, if it helps, do a basic drawing in each shape to represent the picture you are working with. These drawings don’t need to be elaborate; they just need to represent!

Clearly, the safest choice on hanging art is a grid. You can do this easily on a square-based format. It doesn’t mean your entire wall decor needs to be similarly sized. Mixing up sizes and shapes while still conforming to a basic symmetrical grid layout is easy and presents a fabulous composition. Grids help with spacing and lining the art in a balanced presentation.

The use of LINE is sometimes overlooked by DIY’ers. Proper use of line can set the mood in a room. Horizontal lines tend to elongate, widen and emphasize a casual decorating scheme. Further, horizontal lines tend to be calming and can give the illusion of width in a narrow room. Vertical lines however, tend to be more formal, add to the illusion of height and can seem more elegant and refined. Diagonal lines make the presentation appear more dramatic and exciting. While artwork generally shouldn’t be hung in offset arrangements, it is a useful technique in a stairwell as the floor levels change. Diagonal lines – either within a picture itself or in a line of pictures arranged on the wall also tend to add excitement to the composition. Using symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangements of art can create either a formal or a casual feeling. Symmetry simply means that when an arrangement is divided in half, each half is a mirror image of the other. Symmetry adds balance and formality to an arrangement and is generally more calming to view. Asymmetrical arrangements are more unexpected and tend to be eye-catching and present a more casual and informal composition.

Take your cue from the other elements in the room.

In general, artwork should be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at about eye level for the average person. This is not ALWAYS possible but it is a good guideline to keep in mind.

It’s important to relate the artwork to the furniture below it if possible. For example, if you’re hanging a large picture over a table, the bottom of the frame should sit within 4 – 8″ of the tabletop. Also, the picture frame over you sofa should not be longer than the width of the sofa. As a rule, the bottom length of the frame should not exceed 75% to 80% of the length of the piece of furniture and let the height of the furniture piece determine the height of the art. That being said, art tends to look best when it seems to extend the lines of the furniture, windows or doorways, or when several small pieces are grouped together. Also, do not leave a lot of wall space between a sofa and a picture. Anything higher than 3 – 6′ will cause the eyes to focus on the wall rather than your art!

When hanging smaller pieces together, think of staying within the box! Two horizontally framed pictures can easily be hung with two vertically framed pictures by offsetting each style. Make sure that the perimeter of the entire grouping stays within boundaries so that the small pieces work together as one unit.

Smaller groupings can also be made to appear larger with interesting objects are interjected within the grouping such as mirrors, ironwork and the like.

If the matting and frames are alike, it tends to add an air of importance to the grouping….even something as mundane as postcards, menus, etc. will become a fuller more substantial presentation that brings unity and direction to the entire composition.

Conversely, you can add interest to a picture grouping by hanging pictures with differently shaped frames. This is a trickier application but can be done if there is some thought and planning involved.

Finally, it’s important not to forget another extremely important element of design and consequently, hanging your art: Lighting!

Beautiful artwork can be lost unless it is well lit. Illuminating artwork gives it importance. However, make sure you know what type of bulb you’re using, otherwise you risk doing damage to artwork, especially a painting, over time. Fluorescent bulbs tend to fade images, but incandescent bulbs only have 4% of their rays in the damaging zone. A good guideline to follow in terms of lighting is that anything that will fade your carpet will also fade your art, such as direct sunlight.

So, remember that creating a beautifully designed room includes the presentation of wall art and you are now equipped to go forth and Hang On! Imagination, Courage and Precision….come together to make a beautiful space because it’s all about: Better Living by Design!

Space Planning to Avoid Costly Mistakes!

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve gotten my Blog On! but I’m ready to give away some more tips and treasures on designing a perfect space. Today is all about Space Planning or creating a proportional representation of a space. It is one of the first steps if you are planning on painting a room, redecorating or laying new carpet. Drawing to scale, or creating a proportional representation of a particular area, is just a matter of careful measurement. Hopefully, you have never found yourself in the position of bringing home that much loved furniture piece only to find out that it doesn’t fit! Space Planning is the key to avoid such a costly mistake.

I think of the floor plan or space plan as an “inside-out” or interior design-based approach for developing the best arrangement, scale and proportion for interior spaces. Ask yourself: What is a room’s purpose? How can the space best serve the intended uses? What are the visual interest anchors of the room? As you ask yourself these questions, create a list of needs for the room. How is the room to be used? BE REALISTIC about how the room will really be used. You may have an “ideal” vision for the room: it is immaculate, a showplace, world leaders will be in awe of your beautiful home…..but you have kids…remember??? or pets or a sloppy spouse! It is okay to put everything on the list, but remember to put the things you do not want but must live with, like a toy box, a litter box or hamper on your reality list. Also on the list should be items that the room should be able to accommodate. For instance:

  • Comfortable seating for eight for social occasions
  • Focus on the architectural elements such as a fireplace, picture window, etc.
  • Display of artwork
  • Curio cabinet to display figurines/collections
  • Seat four comfortably for TV viewing
  • Computer desk for the family

Once these issues are determined, a floor plan and a layout and arrangement of furnishings are created. This arrangement determines the proper size, scale and proportion of each room.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Notepad
  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Now, begin by drawing a rough sketch of your room on either graph or plain paper. This is just a guide of the basic shape and placement of each wall, counter, door, window and other elements. Draw each room while standing or sitting in the room to make sure you note anything that should be present in your scaled floor plan. Measure the length and width of the room in question with a tape measure that reads in feet. Note measurements on a notepad being sure to include every wall. At this point you can label a small sketch with the measurements or just give each wall a title (i.e. connecting wall) and list them, whatever method works best for you. Be sure to include the location of doors, windows and any other fixtures.

Next, transfer the measurements onto your graph paper using a pencil and a ruler. Include in the sketch any permanent pieces of furniture, built-in shelving or cupboards. Transferring the measurements onto your graph paper means you will be taking each measurement and drawing it onto the graph paper using a scale of 1 foot is equal to 1 square on the paper. Know that length multiplied by width will give you the square footage of the room or as it is also called the OA for Overall Area. This calculation is a good way of checking that you have filled in the right number of squares on your paper. Make some photocopies of the blank layout so you can save different furniture layout versions.

Create scaled furniture pieces using the same method. Measure the furniture, and then draw it on the graph paper. Cut out the furniture pieces. Color them in if it helps you better visualize the room. This allows you to rearrange the furniture, move items or add pieces without having to draw a new floor plan or make tons of copies. Having little furniture cutouts saves time in the long run.

Occasionally it is helpful to also plan a vertical space plan. This is especially helpful if you have several windows and you want a chest, table or sofa to fit perfectly under the window. Knowing how much vertical space you have will be extremely helpful when shopping for that ideal piece that also happens to be the perfect height!

A little planning goes a long way in any kind of design project. The fun stuff really doesn’t begin until you’ve done your homework! Happy decorating and if you need more expert help….call Carma For Design…..because it’s all about:

Better Living by Design!

Mix it up…but stay TRUE!!!

Almost without exception, I steer away from the matchy-matchy.  I bet you have seen exactly the type of design that I’m preaching about.   Matching side tables to go with the matching chairs that sit in front of the fireplace with the matching candlestick lighting fixtures …the wood color and type throughout matches and …oh sorry…I’ve bored myself to sleep…*yawn*..wake me up when you can tell me something interesting:) 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are most definitely times when having some matching sets not only works, but works well.  I am talking about the design that screams boredom and lack of imagination and creativity.  Somewhere along the line the fact that mixing not only design styles and genres, but also wood finishes and types, furnishings in the same space and everything else that goes into a space got lost. 

Remeber when you’re putting your room together that, unless you are making the concept of the space true to a specific style or era, you can easily mix it up…just be thoughtful.  Naturally, you should choose only a style of furniture that suits and appeals to you .  When you’re mixing those different styles, just make sure that the pieces compliment each other.  Styles that are similar in scale, texture and lines will go well together.  Mixing light and dark woods in the same room is a very pleasing contrast. 

The bottom line is:  Be CREATIVE and use your imagination and if you get stuck…CALL a designer:) 

If You’re Not Moving Forward…You’re Staying Behind….

What does that mean, Miss Carma????  Well, in a nutshell….I have made the big decision to move on to a larger space that will help my business grow and help my clientale see what’s the latest and greatest with all things design!

It’s hard to move on when I love the people I work around…I’ve been with The Uncommon Gift for quite awhile now..moving to the new location in 2009…so we’ve become family.  So sad to say goodbye and still so excited to move on…quite the dichotomy.

So, stay tuned for the happenings and mishaps of the move…:)  Good Thoughts, Carma

Traditional Home – the short list:)

There are always items that specific styles of decor and design need to have.  I’m here to give you some 411 on what the more Traditional style of decor calls for.  Some are just BASIC…but they are still worth mentioning. 

For the more Traditional style, a versatile and ever useful console is a must.  I always suggest that you invest in quality on the “forever” type of furniture.  You know the kind I’m talking about:  the kind that no matter what, you know you will always use and need.  If you invest in quality for these “forever” pieces you’ll actually be SAVING money because it will last a lifetime.  Solid and dependable, a great console can be used as a sideboard in a dining room, or a very versatile storage unit in the family room or even as a media center in the master bedroom or family room!  Talk about versatile!  Classic pieces adapt to the seasons of family life. 

When it comes to art work, here’s where to use some WOW factor wall art.  Select traditional scenery, still life or even tapestry.  If you cannot find an architectural focal point (such as a large picture window or a fireplace), then try a single piece of art that commands the space and makes it come alive.  It’s an added bonus when the over-sized art makes an undersized budget stretch!

Sit down with style and comfort!  Traditional rooms, especially Traditional style family rooms must have a “curl up and get comfy” cushy chair.   The kind of cushy and delicious little chair that is perfect for watching television and relaxing with the fam and friends:). 

Storage with style and versatility.  Who doesn’t need more storage???  A sweet and stylish open bookshelf displays favorite keepsakes, organizes books and adds a  nice stretch of height to your Traditional room.  Really a “must have”. 

Texture!  One of my most favorite subjects!  Texture is absolutely as important as color and style.  I LOVE mixing textures.  It brings forth so much interest and depth.  Combining nubby linens, soft velvets and other natural fibers, make a room feel luxurious and that’s as good as it gets.  Traditional styling calls for velvets, linens, silks and spun beauty!

Welcome!  Every entry must have a welcoming entry table or console.  It can be a chest of drawers, a small bookshelf tucked into a small delicate space or a pedestal table as a focal point in the middle of the room.  You just need to carve out a spot by your door for keys, mail, your designer bag..whatever it is that you’re always searching for!

Mirror, mirror on the wall!  Traditional meets exceptional.  Plop an over-sized mirror on the floor or fasten it to the wall…either way, you’re making a statement.  A great way to bring the outside in is to have your mirror opposite a window.  The reflection also helps to make the room appear larger.  Sweet!

DIVINE seating!  There’s a reason that designers insist that the sofa is home’s most important furnishings….its where we all really live:)  The best in comfort and design is the down filling!  A poly-down mix is where form meets function!  Love it! 

When it comes to accessorizing, remember that it’s the little things that give your home a BIG personality!  Select accessories that have special meaning and bring a smile to your heart with every glance.

What is YOUR Color Personality?

I bet you already knew that color has energy.  When you think about color as having varying wavelengths then it makes perfect sense.  Most of us are naturally attracted to a specific color.  What’s your favorite color and what does it say about YOU? 

RED:  Dominant and strong.  You are a risk taker and a visionary…you’re courageous and willing to go out on a limb!

ORANGE:  Balanced.  You are both mentally and physically balanced.  Typically happy, loyal and easy going…willing to take each day as it comes.

YELLOW:  Enigmatic!  You’re typically happy and cheerful, charming and intelligent.  Both creative and even somewhat psychic.  A great negotiator.

GREEN:  Grounded.  You are not easily swayed and will remain loyal to your point and your people.  You attack problems logically and find balance between the physical and the mental.

BLUE:  Devoted.  You are an idealistic and empathetic care giver.  A natural mom!

INDIGO:  Ambitious!  You have a great lust for life and a somewhat impulsive/curious streek.  You have an inner-knowing!

VIOLET:  Loving.  An old soul with the artistic and sentimental flavor for life. 

So, what do you think….??  Do these describe you and your personality?  If you’re thinking about creating a space that speaks to YOU and reflects your personality, call me!

A New Year! A New Hue!

It doesn’t matter how you say it. Whether it be “two-thousand and ten” or “twenty-ten”…It’s a NEW YEAR! Yahoo and Yippee! Bring it on I say! Moving forward and embracing that side of myself that is always asking “why? and..what’s next? is what that HAPPY NEW YEAR bit is all about. So, that ever curious part of me makes moving into a new year and, dare I say, a NEW DECADE, all the more fun.

Because I am blessed with the gift of doing a job that I truly love and having a career that chose me as much as I chose it, I like to keep abreast of the latest and greatest, the newest and brightest in all things DESIGN. This doesn’t mean I always go with the newest, most tantalizing, all the “bells and whistles” gadget, design, color pallet or anything remotely like that! I just gotta know! It brings me true joy to view what “they” or the “powers that be” in design have presented. One of my favorite design concepts is COLOR or HUE. So with no further adieu, lets talk some hue:)

So this year brings new hues to the forefront and while one can rarely completely change the interior color pallet of their home each and every year (and who would want to?), it is fun to know what small changes one can make utilizing the latest color trends?

This new year brings about a lot of talk and influence that have clearly started much earlier, but are even more prominent now. GLOBAL concepts and GREEN living. The neutral hues for 2010 are earthy and saturated though they have lessened in their saturation just slightly. Going green has a number of meanings and tremendous influences in just about every aspect of our lives these days. With regard to color, more organic and natural elements are being used in the process and creation of product. Colors derived from natural organic matter such as berries will bring a lot of neutral colors back into play such as beiges, browns, greens and so forth.

While the neutral pallet is moving toward the earthy, muddy hues, the global influence introduces some vibrant and intense hues. So, expect to see some earthy browns and greens mixed with the more vibrant oranges, pinks and purples. Rich plums and purple hues continue to pull through the new year and decade and the less saturated pinks and lavender are reintroduced in small doses.

Look for some vibrant yellows (great for a sunny kitchen and kitchen dining area) and soothing greens. For metallics we’re going to see gold make a comeback.

So, pick a new hue for 2010 and bring it into your home in small doses. How about a couple new accessory pillows in a beautiful plum with a red tassel??? WOW! It’s easy to do…just ask a designer friend you know…like me:) Carma Zarosinski with Carma For Design!