Newly minted EGOT winner Elton John could likely fill an entire home's walls with awards and accolades. He has chosen, however, to build a shrine to man's best friend – his kitchen walls feature a neat vertical row of dog portraits, handsomely framed in antique golds and bronzes.
Gallery walls have been a hot topic in the interior world for the last couple of years, appealing to maximalists and sentimental collectors alike. The outcome can look effortless and quirkily mismatched, but in reality, some strategy and planning can often make or break wall art.
If you're looking at a blank wall and wondering what you want to fill it with, Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin, suggests starting with the tone you want to convey in the space.
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'Paintings and photographs are the best way to inject color and character into a room,' he explains. 'Statement pieces often contribute far more to the feel of a room than furniture. Whether it is a brightly colored painting, neon, or a black and white photograph, the light reflected, produced, or absorbed by its surface will impact the mood of a space. So think firstly about how to coordinate tonal values with art on the wall.'
Martin Waller is the founder of Andrew Martin and he remains at the heart of the brand to this day. He has produced 23 books, appeared on television in the UK, US, China, India, Russia and the Middle East. He has written extensively about travel for a variety of magazines, including the Financial Times, and has served on the advisory boards of Molton Brown and KLC Design School. In 2017, he was named in The Evening Standard's list of 1000 Most Influential Londoners.
Once you have landed on your preferred color palette/design, consider how guests might interact with the works. Art can be a conversation piece (and our guess is that Elton's dog wall is no exception).
'Moods in environments are often dictated by the content of the art on the walls - bright colors and simple, more abstract shapes will make a room feel lively and energetic, while stranger or darker subject matter will set a more somber tone,' Martin says. 'Art will also trigger a response from people you invite into your home. Guests might ask, 'Why did you pick this?' or 'What does it mean?' providing interesting conversation starters.'
Finally, Martin suggests doing a little digging by looking at other aspirational walls that have already done the work of testing different styles, colors, and shapes.
'Take inspiration from collectors - It's not easy or quick working out what kind of art chimes with both you and your home, so do your research,' he says. 'There are many world-renowned collectors whose homes are frequently photographed and published across editorials.'
Below, find some prints and frames that can kickstart a gallery wall.
We love this traditional, ornate-style frame, which gives any artwork a vintage feel.
This black & white print of the legendary Dolly Parton looks fantastic in the sharp black frame.
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Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.
Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.
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