Decor & Styling

8 Easy Styling Tricks for Wall Art That Looks Straight Out of a Magazine

Source: Emily Henderson Design | Photo by Ryan Liebe
Source: Emily Henderson Design | Photo by Ryan Liebe

Of all the challenges that come from living on your own, I never expected hanging artwork to be the most difficult. For some reason, the idea of trying to hang all my pieces correctly sends my brain into panic mode, and it feels like I couldn’t hang an aesthetically pleasing gallery wall if my life depended on it. Which is probably why my walls are currently devoid of any sort of art.

This is no way to live. Art breathes life into a space, and nothing’s more depressing than spending a night alone surrounded by nothing but empty walls. To remedy this situation, I set out to find out how to style wall art like a pro. I consulted Jordan Huelskamp, curator for the online art marketplace Artsy, and artist and designer Katie Kime in addition to my own research to find the best tips and tricks. Keep scrolling for eight easy styling tricks that will make your wall art look straight out of a magazine.


1. Rhyme your artwork

When it comes to grouping artwork together, one rule Huelskamp swears by is rhyming different pieces of art. This means displaying pieces that have similarities—whether it’s similar colors or the same subject, like a martini glass or a landscape scene—together to create a cohesive display. The easiest way to do this is to try to view your pieces as friends; they won’t be exactly the same, but they should get along. Not only does this give you more freedom to mix and match pieces as you wish, but it also gives you a wider range to work with.



2. Focus on framing

While most of us tend to focus on the artwork itself, both Kime and Huelskamp explained that a frame is what really makes or breaks wall art. The right frame will subtly highlight the artwork, catch your attention, and draw you in. Look for frames that compliment the art, then have fun with your display by using different widths, textures, and sizes. Kime also suggested mixing and matching wood and metal frames for a more dynamic look. 


3. Play around with matting

Matting is the border that surrounds artwork, and while white and black are the most common mat options, Huelskamp explained that playing around with various types and styles can take your wall art to the next level. This means experimenting with different colors and sizes; you could do a thick white mat around a tiny photo, a float (negative space) between the art and frame, or opt for a funky, bold color like lime green, orange, or pink.


Source: @studiomcgee


4. Hang large-scale pieces by themselves

Large artwork will have the most impact when it’s not crammed together with other pieces. For this reason, both Kime and Huelskamp recommend hanging large-scale artwork as a single, stand-alone piece. Just make sure your piece is smaller than whatever furniture it’s hanging above, lest you risk crowding and making the room feel smaller.


5. Create a gallery wall with small pieces

Another common beginner interior design mistake? Hanging wall art that’s too small for a single wall, which is why Huelskamp advises combining smaller pieces to create a gallery wall. According to Huelskamp, diversity and balance are essential here, so be sure to use varying textures, sizes, colors, and mediums in your gallery. Likewise, try placing larger pieces off-center and building from there; this will help prevent your arrangement from sloping to one side.



6. Allow for negative space between pieces

If you’re hanging multiple pieces of art, it’s also important to allow for negative space between them. While it’s recommended to leave anywhere from 3 to 6 inches between each piece, it’s ultimately up to you and what you think looks best. Don’t be afraid to test out different measurements beforehand to find what works best in your space.


7. Highlight art with wall sconces

If you want to style your wall art like a designer, consider placing wall sconces on either side of the piece. Not only will these provide a super soft, warm ambiance, but they also highlight artwork beautifully. Plus, the added symmetry helps create balance. Shop around for wall sconces that rhyme with your wall art for an even more polished look.


Source: @ispydiy


8. Trust yourself

When it comes down to it, there are no steadfast rules to styling wall art, which is why Kime says the best thing you can do is trust yourself. Give yourself permission to explore and play around with your wall art; not liking it is the worst thing that can happen. And if it does, you can always take it down and rearrange accordingly.