Clever ways to display artwork

Bring character and charm to your home with our gallery of imaginative ways to display artworks, ornaments and cherished finds.

Before hanging, arrange the pictures on the floor. You don’t need to use a tape measure for precise spacing, as the tension will always be a bit different when they are hanging from a wire. A lot of the look will be down to instinct, but a good guide is to put the strongest image at the top. Don’t hang pictures too high – we call it the Cape Canaveral syndrome, as you end up having to look up and the pictures appear like they are about to take off. In rooms with fewer pictures, try hanging them lower. Finally, remember that not everything has to be in a frame.

As it spends about half its time in artificial light, properly illuminating artwork will make it more beautiful and ensure you are seeing its true colours, as you would in the best natural light. Because most artworks aren’t evenly lit, you aren’t seeing the true picture. 

Board meeting

Display artwork

Image credit: Adrian Briscoe

A simple and appealing idea for a rustic look, this cluster of vintage chopping boards in a neat symmetrical arrangement pops out against the deep-blue wall. The woods echo the various tones of the furnishings to unify the farmhouse-style scheme.

Art of glass

Display artwork

Image credit: Carolyn Barber

Wall-hung paintings can work in tandem with a display of complementary objets. These coloured glass bottles were selected to match the hues and theme of the images above. Glass ornaments work particularly well as they don’t detract from the main feature.

A step up

Display artwork

Image credit: Paul Whicheloe

Even the area under the stairs can offer an opportunity for imaginative display. When selecting groups of objects, look for ways in which they might work together through a theme, medium or origin, as has been done here with the curated collection of African artefacts.

Back to nature

Display artwork

Image credit: Carolyn Barber

When putting together a tabletop display of greenery, concentrate on a clear size hierarchy of both plant and pot. This will prevent a muddle of green and achieve a natural look, ideal for a hallway, bright corner or conservatory.

True blue

Display artwork

Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Displays of classic blue and white china always stand the test of time. For a more informal, contemporary feel, mix a variety of pieces and patterns from different dinner services. A dark blue background will allow their silhouettes to shine.

Studied perfection

Display artwork

Image credit: Paul Raeside

Always start with your picture. In my opinion, a frame chosen to suit your artwork unquestionably looks better than one that has been selected to suit the décor of the room. That approach can be too contrived.