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June 02, 2009

Wall art

Bare walls are almost unbearable when it comes to home decorating.

Kimberley Luu

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Wall art such as paintings, mirrors, floating shelves and displays add zing to a home while playing on personal taste.

Anita Tighe, certified interior decorator with Wen-Di Interiors, recommends blending the artwork with wall colour. “People need to be conscious of what colours are on their walls and furniture when choosing artwork,” she says, as certain artwork may not fit in with the rest of the décor.

Mirrors will always have a place in the home because they are great reflectors, according to Tighe. They can make darker rooms seem lighter through window or light fixture reflections. Even if they’re not used for enlarging or brightening up a room, mirrors always add a little something extra.

Displaying favourite photos is another way of dressing up walls. “You can frame photos copied in black and white and create a display,” says Tighe. “The frames should be co-ordinated but not necessarily the same.” She suggests grouping about nine frames together if they’re smaller, which can turn out to be a piece of art within itself.  

Keeping in mind the scale, Tighe says not to be afraid to fill in empty spaces. “The rule of thumb is to have one picture at eye level while the grouping can be set higher or lower.” This includes seating areas which may have a lower eye level. According to her, six inches above the couch is safe.

However, if you’re not going for safe, she proposes floating shelves to showcase pictures, vases, and candles. “Stagger the heights and always use odd numbered groupings,” says Tighe.   

Tighe says floating shelves can also be used as a side bar with stools in a kitchen or a lower set shelf can serve as a coffee table. Better yet, a series of glass shelves hung in a bathroom or bedroom with candles flickering through them can add sparkle to a room.

Wrought iron work also brings beauty into a home and is made for eclectic and European styles. Tighe says straighter lines make for a modern feel. “Make a statement with your artwork, wrought iron on high-ceiling walls carry more weight value and make an impact.”

The actual artwork itself though, will have the biggest impact of all. According to designer and artist, Maria Curcic, art must relate to humanity. “Art and architecture are really one and should compliment one another,” she says. “They should work together conceptually in an environment.”

Curcic knows that Calgary is looking for fresh, vibrant art with meaning for the individual putting the piece up in their home or office. She says in Canada generally nature, whether abstracted or not, is a dominant theme. “Canadian art is more than impressions of natural settings, yes, we always have wildlife art and so forth,” Curcic says. “But Canadian art is more than just a landscape.” She suggests having a window to take in the natural view and incorporate it into to everyday life.

“Art is so personal, most of my clients do not buy art to match a chair or ottoman, rather they buy it because it takes them someplace else,” says Curcic. Wall art can take on many forms and she encourages motifs inspired from the natural and urban settings which are made into stencils that can be transferred to material, furniture, walls and more. “It is the appeal of decorative art on the wall that allows personal tastes to play up a room,” she says.

Both Tighe and Curcic will agree that bare walls deserve artwork as much as the artwork deserves to be displayed. Be it small figurines, candles, photos or large paintings, dressing up those vertical surfaces can add a lot to any room. CL

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