How To Display Art: Part One / by Raji Radhakrishnan

Master Bed Room designed by  Raji RM & Associates

Master Bed Room designed by Raji RM & Associates

It's no secret that I love art. It not only plays a major role in all my work, it in fact inspires me endlessly from a creative point of view. I can honestly say, I spend at least 5 - 10% of my awaken time studying or just looking at art because they really move me. Not every piece of art or every type for that matter. I do have certain types of works, certain artists I love much more than others but that is just my personal taste. At work, I often have projects where the clients already have a small or big collection of art that they love and cherish and it is always a definite influence when I design their homes. Not necessarily as a starting point for the whole design but I like to give a nod here and there. Sometimes, I help clients acquire new works of art. They are not always expensive but something that they will love.

When it comes to how to display your art works beautifully, the first thing I think about is how much negative space a wall and the room needs. This is very important. Not just in the display of the art, but to ensure what ever art you place integrates beautifully with the room's design plan too. This is of course assuming that most people in general want a fairly peaceful and balanced room as opposed to a chaotic or disorganized room. This means when I start designing a room, I'm certainly starting to think about possible best walls/areas/ways to display art. It's something to bear in the back of your mind while planning. In the design process, whether the clients already have art works they want to use or they will be acquiring new ones, installing the art work is almost the very last thing we do and it is only then that a room feels complete and alive.

After considering the negative space, next comes the all important scale. Beautiful art comes in all sizes, shapes and forms and regardless there is a way to display every kind to it's best advantage. Scale is about the relationship a work of art has to a wall and the room. Scale is also about knowing when to go proportionately larger and when to play with scale and do the unexpected. Large blank walls are great but not always needed. Challenges with very little wall space or walls of glass are always fun to deal with. It just means you think differently. Besides every art work is not meant to be on the wall. A wall of glass, for example, is primed to act as a beautiful and reflective backdrop for showcasing a great piece of sculpture. A group of art works displayed together, often referred to as salon style, can provide great scale and coverage to a room as much as a single large painting or a mural can. The effects are different though. An over-scaled painting or a large wall size mural tends to evoke a reaction that's in awe and the visitor is most likely to take a step back to realize the effect that large scale art has in the whole room. On the other hand, smaller works grouped together tend to coax the visitor to get closer and peer in at each little painting. There is a profound effect even in displaying a single and small work in a huge wall where say, 95 - 98% of the wall is empty. That little painting you love just got it's lime light, so make it a good one.

- xo Raji

In - Displaying Art: Part Two - we will discuss different display styles that will not only showcase your art beautifully but also act as a key design feature in a room.

Raji RM & Associates | Interior Designer & Decorator

Washington DC | New York

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