Here at the Affordable Art Fair, while our modus operandi is to help you fall in love with a perfect painting, print or sculpture, we’re also all about the fun factor and doing things a little differently. For anyone who’s been to one of our fairs — whether you’ve seen some entertainment at a charity private view, or had a go at one of our creative workshops — you’ll know we’re all about creative thinking. And just because you have completed your purchase and taken a piece of art home with you, it doesn’t mean the creative journey has to stop.
Thinking outside the box when displaying your brand-new artwork is a fantastic way to merge a little bit of your personality into your décor. We have some great hacks if you space restrictions, like to regularly change the curation of your home, or are renting and don’t want to mark the walls. Read on for our top tips about how to display art creatively at home — and don’t forget to let us know how you get on with your creative hanging!
In recent years, using shelves to display artwork has become very popular. Rather than hang your artwork on the wall, you can create a display that’s super easy to assemble and can be instantly refreshed by simply swapping your artwork around. This display style isn’t just limited to your bedroom or living room: think kitchen shelves, bookshelves or even bathroom shelves (just make sure your work is safe under glass for the latter!). Mantelpieces are also a fun way to display your artwork, as it can be mixed up with other items on the mantle — such as home photographs or plants for an attractive vignette.
If shelves are in short supply in your home, think about installing a simple floating shelf or picture rail, where your prints, paintings and photos can live and mingle happily. A fun option for budding collectors who like to change up their displays as they build their collection.
2. Think Vertical
Filling smaller spaces choc-a-bloc full of fantastic artwork is a really fun and unusual way to display your collection. We love the idea of adding a salon hang to a forgotten slither of vertical wall-space, curating a surprising, light-hearted hang. Mingle artworks in a tight-knit forgotten space, keeping frames close and inject some character into a random space — you’ll be amazed at how it breathes new life into your interior.
3. Outside the frame
If you have unframed pieces that are waiting to be taken to the framers — time for a rethink! There are lots of fun, simple and creative ways to get your work up on the wall without a frame, which can be a brilliant contrast to existing framed works already in your home. Consider using binder or bull-dog clips, along with simple picture nails to hang paper works or prints — it’s a really versatile and eye-catching way to display your art. Similarly, installing a picture cable allows you to hang pieces of work up around your interior, meaning you don’t have to frame your work.
4. The Great Outdoors
Sure, summer houses and gardens don’t tend to be the first choice for hanging artwork. But if you have an additional exterior space which is secure, incorporating a little art into your garden, is a really great way to add some wow factor.
Under-cover outdoor areas, like decking or patios, usually have empty expanses of wall space where certain artworks — one’s under glass, or made using waterproof materials for example — can live quite happily, provided they are protected from the elements. An added bonus: the natural light available in the garden will effortlessly give your piece all the light it needs to shine.
If your artwork is of a more delicate nature, think strategically about where to place art indoors — be it in your home itself, or in a summer house. If you have big windows that look out into the great outdoors, then hanging a bold, bright abstract in direct view of the garden can combine interior and exterior styles, giving your outdoor space a beautiful boost.
5. Propping Up
A simple one but a goodie — we’ve been seeing more and more of our collectors opt to lean work up against the walls, resting on the floor. It’s important to note that this only works if a) your works are on the larger side and feel sturdy, meaning they won’t slip, and b) the area feels safe. Don’t try this is you have children or dogs running wild — but for those more serene spaces, leaning and layering a few pieces of work alongside a wall or in an unused fire place can prove effortlessly contemporary — plus it’s great for rented properties so you don’t mark your walls.
6. Mix it Up
Finally, try mixing your artwork with other 3D objects for a intentionally mismatched and effortlessly bohemian style: think sculpture, ceramic plates, blocks of fabric, 2D items such as home photographs or vintage posters, even antlers or skulls.
Before doing this, it’s worth having a think about whether you want to create a really eclectic, unusual feel, or opt for something more classic. Will the items surrounding your artwork complement its subject matter or colour scheme? Either way, it’s a quirky, alternative way to incorporate artwork into your space alongside the sentimental keepsakes we all collect through our lives. Just make sure to map things out on the floor before you start hanging to make sure you have enough space and are happy with the layout.
And there you have it! Follow the fair’s ethos and don’t be afraid to try something fun and new. Injecting a little magic into the placement of your newly purchased artwork can really give it some added oomph; before you know it, you’ll be dying to add something new to your collection so you can try another weird and wonderful display technique!
A visitor appreciates a gallery hang at Affordable Art Fair Bristol, browse upcoming fairs here.