How to Boost the Impact of Art in Your Hallway
Try these tricks for helping artwork to elevate first impressions of your home
Jewel tones are always a success when it comes to feature walls. They have a depth of tone and, even in the darker range of colours, often have a surprising luminosity that will add impact to an entrance.
Detailed artworks placed on an adjacent wall will balance the energy of the feature, especially when framed with natural materials.
Even busy thoroughfares can benefit from an artistic presence. Detailed, delicate works will encourage pause for thought and a new perspective. Artworks hung high and out of harm’s way from rushed entries and exits will lend visual interest and greater height to the space.
Alternatively, but in a similar vein, you could hang a series of coordinating artworks, up high, in matching frames and sizes, and in a line that stretches from one end of the space to the other, drawing the eye into the house as well as accentuating a high ceiling. If your ceiling is on the low side, choose frames and mounts that blend into the wall colour to keep the space feeling open.
Hallways are also often a good spot for a high bookshelf that stretches from one end to the other, or even travels the circumference of the space; break up the line of spines with the occasional artwork. You could even arrange books by colour and coordinate your chosen artworks with them.
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Feature walls are a great way to shift design from drab to divine. Bold paint colours, mirrors or patterned wallpaper along one wall will draw the eye into the heart of the home, and make for an especially dynamic effect when paired with artworks. The warm skin tones in these portraits coordinate with the wallpaper, while black frames accentuate the works.
Embarking on a bold feature wall like this can be difficult. But don’t be afraid! Most wallpaper shops offer samples, which you can hang in the space to accustom yourself to the change. Be certain to watch how the changing daylight affects the tone. It tends to feel like a more tied-together scheme, rather than a chaotic explosion of clashes, if at least one of the shades in the artwork is picked up in the pattern of the wallpaper.
When considering your colour palette, look up and look out! Harness what’s outside your front door to make the transition from outside in a seamless journey. Abstract canvases or landscapes that reflect the local environment are good choices in this arena.
Be creative in building landscape-inspired decorative combinations. Pair sculptural objects with family heirlooms, houseplants, architectural salvage, favourite photos… Pick pieces to tie in with the colour scheme in whichever painting or photograph you’ve chosen to display to tie the disparate objects together.
Murals are an excellent way to activate a wall and tell your visitors a story as they come into your home. Highlight a personal narrative, family folklore, favourite location or historical period, using your home as a canvas. Add impact by making use of the length of a hallway for a more impressive view of the work.
Seek out local artists who might fit the bill. Enquire at galleries in your area for recommendations, or browse online galleries to pinpoint an artist whose work you really love. It’s always worth contacting the gallery to discuss the possibility of a commissioned piece and to get suggestions of artists who live within reach of your home.
In a formal hallway – think console, think symmetry – a clustered-style hang of chromatically similar artworks creates a contrastingly dynamic wall space, while still feeling suitably restrained for an elegant result. The effect is heightened when the colour scheme of the artwork speaks to the additional design elements in the space: in this hallway, the striking black bureau and lamps against crisp white walls are elegantly mirrored in the white mounts framing black and white photographs.
Tip To most effectively visualise and strategise a clustered hang, lay out the works on the floor beforehand to find the proper spacing and placement before you start hammering nails into your walls.
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To add drama to the display of your artwork, boost the background on which it hangs. A wall of antiqued mirror tiles will bring dynamism to a hallway, opening up the space and acting as an excellent foil for a colourful artwork.
Tip Don’t be afraid of scale. Just as rooms can often feel larger with the addition of more furniture, so too can a large, monumental artwork lift a space.
A dark-toned hallway filled with vibrant colour by way of artwork is a playful and contemporary twist. Look for bold colours and bright whites to lend contrast and bring light to the space.
Tip Dark walls coupled with dark mouldings is a bold step. Make sure you consider light sources – often sparse in hallways – and colour opportunities to add energy to the space. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll have light filtering down from a stairwell, or through a glass-panelled door. If not, bouquets of flowers and colourful rugs will all be helpful complements to the artworks you select.
Channel your inner Dan Flavin and make your artwork a light installation along your hallway. LED lights are abundantly available in myriad colours to create a procession of light into the home that would ease anyone’s mood.
Tip To create this effect, keep the space minimally decorated – white walls, monochromatic artworks and controlled external sources of light will help your light installation really stand out.
Bigger isn’t always better. Make an entry vignette – a petite, elegant moment to experience as you or your guests enter or leave your home. An interesting small side table or decorative shelf paired with an artwork that’s small but integral to the space is a wonderful (and often inexpensive) way to bring visual interest to your hall. We love the small, collage-based works of one of our artists, Slavomir Zombek.
Should you find a few small artworks you love, swap them around seasonally to refresh the space. Small works are easy to store, but you could also consider renting artworks, too, so you can easily decorate your entry hall as the whim strikes.
How have you used art in your hallway? Share your tips or photos in the Comments below.