How to create the perfect gallery wall layout

Art is my go to ingredient whenever I want to refresh my decor. I always seem to change pictures around! But a beautiful artwork can really make a difference in your home. How do you style your home with art? Here are some inspirational ways to group art together and create a gallery wall layout. Find some ideas to display pictures, frames, prints and paintings large and small, around the house.



Forgotten corners: turn them into galleries

Image: pinterest

Hang it like you play Tetris

We all have places in our house we don’t really use for anything. Maybe part of the hallway or a corner in the living room. Give these empty spots a job and some interest and use them for displaying art. Floor to ceiling, combine small and larger frames and create an eye catching mini gallery. Start with the bigger frames and fill up the spaces around it with smaller ones. It’s like playing Tetris!

Image: pinterest

Group colours or themes together

Got a batch of black and white photos? Maybe some pencil sketches and drawings? Or some monochrome abstract prints? Combining art in similar colours can produce a striking result. You can create a beautiful gallery wall layout like this.

Buy these six prints as a ready made collection on Etsy

Set of ten monochrome prints ready to buy on Etsy

Gallery wall print set
Set of three mountain prints on Etsy

It doesn’t need to hang perfectly

I know a lot of people get nervous when thinking about hanging multiple frames together. How do you get them in a straight line? If you are one who cares about perfection, check out this tutorial. Otherwise, relax! Frames don’t need to hang perfectly straight if you are going for the ‘boho’, eclectic look. They look good anyway. If you’d rather have a perfect grid, scroll down for some layout templates. Best thing is to lay out all frames on the floor first to decide on what goes where. Then, measure from the top of the frame to where it hangs from, to know where in the wall to put the nail. (Don’t want to use nails? I use some great alternative picture hanging strips in my rental just now!)

Gallery wall ideas
Image: pinterest
ready made gallery wall set
Buy this gorgeous ready made set of five prints on Etsy

Gallery Wall Layouts

Do you like to know what you’re doing? Need a bit of guidance? I understand. Here are some Gallery Wall Ideas and suggestions for layouts to help you figure out how to hang art on your wall.

Gallery wall grid
gallery wall set
This set of six can be purchased on Etsy

Your taste…makes a great collection

You know what? As long as you buy what you love, you’ll probably find that the art you own goes pretty well together and makes a fabulous, colourful group on the wall. Gather lots of smaller framed pictures and one or two larger ones and create a cloud of artworks on one wall.

Not got enough art to do create a gallery wall layout? Try framing some beautiful wallpaper, fabric, a vintage photograph or eye catching concert poster. Or how about some cute abstract scribbles from your children? Anything goes when putting your colourful creative gallery wall together. Don’t be afraid, just try things out. You’ll be surprised how good things look in a frame.




How to hang a picture

Get the juices flowing: Five easy ways to boost your creativity

Are you an artist, musician, designer or otherwise creative person? Then you probably know that feeling, that no matter what stage in life you are at, whatever job you have chosen or lifestyle you are leading, if you have a creative streak in you, it just has to come out or you feel itchy. Still, sometimes you feel the burning desire to create…. but you can’t focus on anything or don’t know where to start. Perhaps you wanted to write that book, become better at playing the piano or continue to paint after you finished a great art course last year. But you didn’t. Another problem many creatives have – and I see you nodding – we all have too many things on the go but none of them are finished. And then there is procrastination. Here are five easy tips to boost your creativity and help you get motivated again!

Five easy ways to boost your creativity


1. Create a Pinterest Board with 12 projects for a year

Oh, I see you thinking, oh dear Pinterest, the ultimate station of procrastination! Yes, I know, we all spend too much time on it, drooling over interiors, recipes and pretty stuff. But there are some useful pins on there, really and they can boost your creativity. Try creating a brand new board and only pin creative ideas or projects on there that you know you are able to manage and finish. Perhaps a super easy sewing project, a simple printmaking technique you always wanted to try or an idea to upcycle a piece of furniture.

Choose 12 pins and give them a name: ‘Project January’, etc. That way you can focus on one easy creative task each month and you know there is a new one coming the next, which will hopefully give you enough of a drive to complete them. You know that each finished project will give you a great sense of accomplishment, so don’t be over ambitious and pin wisely.


Five tips to become more creative


2. Start a creative journal

Draw, stick, paint, collage, collect and write. Journals are wonderful little books to help you to boost your creativity, try out different art techniques and visualise ideas. The nice thing about journals is, is that each page offers a new opportunity, a fresh blank page. There is no right or wrong, it is your personal journal, do what you like. Nothing in your journal has to be of great quality, it is a place to dump your thoughts, your scribbles, stories, mind maps, save cut out images and other items that catch your eye, and it will be a lovely thing to keep. You can refer back to it in the future if you need some inspiration or a reminder of creative ideas or genius brain waves.

I did a wonderful workshop called ‘Creative Sketchbooks’ last year with artist Fenneke Wolters-Sinke at Fenfolio in Scotland, who showed me that you can be truly free in your journals. She taught me how using old illustrated books offer a great basis for multimedia techniques using stamps, paint, scrap paper, fabric and collage techniques among others, with the existing text and pictures making an interesting base layer. Do you have an old illustrated book lying around you no longer use? Give it a go! What is the worst that can happen?


Creative journal example with scrap paper, cut outs, layering and drawings
This is one of my own creative journals, using an old children’s storybook instead of a blank sketchbook. These are pages I did together with my 6-year old son, who also enjoyed the activity!

 

Creative journal example with scrap paper, cut outs, layering and drawings


3. Start an Instagram account

Just like a paper journal, Instagram can be your own personal dumping ground for things that catch your eye, by taking snap shots of them and posting them on your Instagram page. You can make it public or keep it private, that is up to you. Perhaps you have a love for textures, or a certain colour. Or maybe you have always wanted to do a photographic series of vintage cars? Of people? Of plants? I recently started another account myself, taking pictures of colourful street art and other things that catch my eye in Valencia (@coloursofvalencia).

Instagram shows all your images in a grid and it can give you a real boost seeing your ideas and images all together, forming an overview of your creative journey. You may find a certain theme emerging. It also encourages you to go out and take plenty of photos. If your account is public you may even get fellow creatives commenting and you could discover some other interesting accounts giving you more ideas in the process.

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4. Set up a Mastermind meet-up with other creatives

This is a slightly different idea, which you may or may not like, but could be interesting to try! I have seen it work very well for women in business, who come together once or twice a month for coffee and discuss their challenges, certain topics and things that are perhaps keeping them from moving forward. Many times they end up collaborating, giving each other fresh ideas or pointing each other to contacts in their networks. I don’t see how this could not also work well for people feeling a bit stuck in their creative lives.

You could pick a topic each time or even plan a visit to local galleries to get fresh ideas and boost that creativity. Hook up with two or three creative friends or contacts you know that could benefit from a Mastermind meet-up and get the ball rolling. If anything, you’ll expand or revive your social circle, which can only be a positive thing.

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5. boost your creativity by Switching off the internet and mobile phone

Hold on, not just yet! But you get it, right? And yes, I did just encourage you to start a Pinterest board and and Instagram account. Guilty! But we can all admit that we are probably spending way too much time online, wasting an enormous amount of hours scrolling through pointless posts and photos of people we hardly know on our Facebook timeline, chatting on WhatsApp, and doing really not much at all that stimulates our brain, let alone our creativity. It is a worldwide addiction that prevents us from picking up that brush, the neglected guitar or switch on the sewing machine. Even reading a real book.

Let’s all try and break that habit, myself included! Be more mindful, go for a walk to let new ideas flow into your mind. Once the wifi is off, what else is there to do that makes us happy? Yes, plenty! You can start small, by choosing one day or night a week and dedicate this to creating. I promise you, you will be proud of yourself.

Do you have any other tips to boost creativity? Please share them below or on the facebook page. Happy creating!


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The therapeutic qualities of colour and light

Two weeks since we moved to Spain and so far so good! In between the hectic times of organising our new life as an expat, I have discovered the little perks of living in a warmer climate. Cycling! Oh my, how I’ve missed cycling. I don’t mean sporty cycling in lycra on a racer or a mountain bike, no, just using a bicycle to go from A to B. To do the shopping, to take the kids to school. In just a thin jacket. Wind in my hair, sun on my face, smiling from ear to ear. Wonderful. Now I just need to train those leg muscles to get me uphill. Ouch.

Valencia-bikes
Valencia is ideal for getting around on bike! Rental places everywhere.


noticing colour

Have you ever noticed how there seems to be more colour in warmer countries? The blue sky for a start (although lately it’s been grey and rainy too – still 10 degrees warmer than Aberdeen though), but also the architecture. Even the children’s school has great happy colours painted all over the outside walls. The older, colonial style houses in the various town centres dotted just outside the city, as well as old city parts like Cabanyal, are often bright blue or yellow or covered in colourful, patterned tiles. The sub tropical plants in front gardens and on balconies make the streets look so pretty. I realise that being surrounded by lots of colour really energises me. Having lived in the silver city of Aberdeen with its grey granite architecture, makes your eyes used to seeing in black and white. Valencia is a feast for the eyes.


therapeutic qualities of colour

therapeutic qualities of colour
My son’s nursery got jazzed up with some cool geometric colour blocks.

Cabanyal Valencia. therapeutic qualities of colour
The neighbourhood of Cabanyal, with its characterful old buildings

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A wonderful old building in Godella, the town on the outskirts of Valencia, where we currently live.

villaeugenia nuevo godella


Valencia is also well known for its bold street art. In parts of the city centre whole sides of buildings are covered in cool graffiti. I managed to have a day to myself last week and thoroughly enjoyed wandering the streets, taking it all in and pinching myself for being here.


therapeutic qualities of colour


feeling better in a light filled house

Then there is our new house, which has giant windows, lots of space and is mostly on open plan. I love it! White walls, sunlight streaming in. (Oh, and look who’s arrived too?). It is a joy to hang up our artworks and make the house homely, room by room and I will post updates on the blog of my decorating attempts, as much as that is possible in rented accommodation. I was shopping for blinds and curtains today at the local Bauhaus store nearby and it is funny how I am suddenly drawn to bright, bold colours, whereas in Scotland I would have gone for the more muted greys, greens and darker tones. I guess yellow blinds just go better with a blue sky.


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So much colour. I think I’ll go for the yellow ones for the master bedroom… Before and after post next time?

therapeutic qualaities of colour and light


 

Review: buying affordable art online with Artfinder

Buying affordable art online is something that is becoming quite popular. I regularly post about art, as I believe it brings joy to people’s lives and can add real personality to a home. Art is in fact an important ingredient in my designs for clients and I always suggest to people to invest in some artworks if they don’t own pieces already, and it really doesn’t need to cost the earth. Without it, I feel a room is just not complete! I wrote a blog post recently about how and where to buy art in which I mentioned online galleries as a good way to browse art in a non-threatening way. Today I am reviewing Artfinder.

Discovering original art is becoming a lot easier with sites such as Artfinder popping up on the net, offering a service that takes any barriers out of the buying process. Buying art can feel a little bit alien to some, but just saving images as favourites as if you were on Pinterest makes things a doddle.

buying affordable art online
Hybrid No:19, collage on paper by Leigh Bagley

artfinder5
Landscape, Acrylic painting on Canvas, by Nadia Moniati


As you are saving your favourites, the site recommends other artists and works you may like, a bit like Spotify, so if you don’t know exactly what your taste in art is, then you may form yourself a much clearer idea after browsing the site for some time and regularly clicking on the ‘like’ button.

artfinder3
Diamond (Rose), Linocut on Paper, by Liam Roberts


Of course, there is more to art than only large abstract paintings – try browsing the printmaking section for beautiful contemporary graphic pieces for example. I enjoy receiving tailored suggestions or seeing “The daily finds”, as it is a good way of sifting through the huge amount of art that is on offer as well as discovering pieces you may nog have come across otherwise.

artfinder2
Cat in Teal Green, Screenprint on Paper
by Lu West


You can get an original piece of art on Artfinder from less than £50, so it is very affordable and so much more personal than buying a mass produced canvas from the home section of a high street department store (who buys these things anyway?). The nice thing is also that you get to read about the artist who made it, often with a bit of background about the artwork. Artfinder supports artists from around the world, which means you can buy internationally.

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Through a Courtyard (relief), Relief on Panel / Board / MDF, by Liam Hennessy


Many of the works come framed and ready to hang, which is a welcome bonus. Do double check the sizes though, as many artworks are small. Nothing worse than receiving your purchase in the post and opening a tiny parcel when you expected a huge canvas! Shipping costs are given upfront so you know exactly what you are paying. And if you are looking for an original birthday, graduation or Christmas present, there is always the gift card option.

Do you have any online art sites you like to use?


This post includes affiliate links to Artfinder. This mean that if you like this article and subsequently decide to purchase an artwork through Artfinder by clicking on one of the links in my post, Nina’s Apartment receives a small commission too.

Choosing art for your home

Choosing art for your home can be quite a challenge. How do you buy art online? Where do you find affordable art in your local area?

art: an essential ingredient in interior design

Art is a funny thing. I absolutely love art and have always been interested in it, from when I was very little. Art needs to be around me, whether it is paintings, photographs, sculpture or ceramics. I yearn for the handmade, original qualities of a piece of art. Problem is, I keep buying it, even though I have long run out of wall and shelf space to display anything.

how to buy art online
image source

choosing art for your home
Image source

choosing art for your home
Image source


I find it amazing how art just seems to have the ability to ‘grab’ you and you feel you need to own it, probably because it is such a one-off, unique piece and you adore it. Well, that has happened to me more than once. Even though I sometimes couldn’t justify it and it was not in my budget. Choosing art for your home often happens by chance, rather than research.


art is personal, buy what you love

One time I was working at the Glasgow Art Fair for a previous employer and during a little wander around suddenly this big orange Rothko-like painting stared me right in the face and drew me closer. I couldn’t walk away. It was as if the devil himself had taken over my sanity and before I knew it I took my card out and spent every last penny of my hard earned savings. Utter madness. But it is still my favourite painting and it has pride of place in my house.

Countless visitors have looked at be baffled and don’t see why on earth I love the painting so much. That is the thing about art: it is not about what other people think – it is very personal. If you love it and it means something to you, it is worth buying. Even if you have to live on porridge oats and water for the rest of the month.

eberhardt ross
My own orange masterpiece on my wall.

 

 

choosing art for your home


If you spot something you like – or even more than one piece, don’t be put off buying it because of lack of wall space. Group pictures together to create an interesting gallery wall. And don’t be scared to buy something large either. Nothing worse than a tiny picture frame on a massive wall. Here’s a great website explaining you how to create a gallery wall: decorationchannel.com

choosing art for your home
Image: Decoration Channel

choosing art for your home
Image: Rise Art


If you are not too familiar with art buying, you might feel a bit at a loss when finding something great for your walls. You may choose to be safe, going for a picture that matches the colour of the curtains rather than that it evokes any emotion at all. Such a missed opportunity, because why not make your home a place that inspires you? Fill it with things that are meaningful, not mass-produced.

Still, if you feel you know very little about art or claim you are “not really into art”, then where do you look for something that ticks those boxes? Here are a few ideas.


First of all

  • Don’t care about what everyone else may think about your choice of artwork or whether it is by someone famous. If you love looking at it, it is meaningful.

  • Pick something that ‘speaks’ to you. Does it make you happy? Does the subject have significance? Or do you just really love the colours or composition? You’re onto a winner.

  • Set yourself a budget if you don’t want to be swept away by crazy impulse buying tendencies. Yup – I am talking from experience.

  • Sleep on it. Do you still think about that artwork in the morning as worth it? Get it.

 


Where to find art?

Visit the degree show of the local Art School

Those fresh graduates are dying to make it big and have their art out there. You are bound to discover some pretty cool pieces. The artist will also be incredibly grateful if you go home with one of their works.

Go to local art fairs and markets

There must be some in your city or area. Stroll around, speak to the artists. These events are usually very lively and informal and feel less daunting than shopping for art in a quiet gallery.

Buy art online

There are a growing number of online galleries selling original artworks at various prices. An easy way to familiarise yourself with different styles and see what you like. Rise Art or Artfinder are good places to start. They have some more great tips on what to look out for when buying art. Oh, and if you don’t want to buy, you can rent! How cool is that?

Be brave! Dive into an actual gallery!

Galleries may look scary for someone who doesn’t usually go to these kind of places, but trust me, gallery owners want to sell art and you are customer just like anyone else. You’ll probably find there are pieces of art at different price levels. You may not be a regular, but you have every right to go in and have a look around. Many galleries in the UK now have a scheme called Own Art, which let you buy an artwork with a 0% loan, so worth popping in for.

Vladimir Tretchikoff (10)
Popular art with vintage lovers: the Asian lady series from the 1960s by Vladimir Tretchikoff


buying art On a budget? on the hunt for something vintage?

The local auction house

Your local auction house will have plenty of artworks too. Have a look in their online catalogue of items to see if it is worth bidding. You’d be surprised how often you could pick up a framed original for less than £50. Of course, as with markets and charity shops: it is hit or miss, but certainly a good way of buying quirky art on a budget.

Browse the second-hand shops

Charity shops, car-boot sales or flea markets for original paintings, etchings and vintage posters.

Feeling creative?

Make something yourself. Paint, draw, sew, print or take photos. Frame a piece of fabric or wallpaper you love. Get the kids involved and let them go crazy with their felt pens and finger paint. It is amazing how good things look in a frame.


Have fun, starting your art collection!