I've mentioned before that my soul shrivels up a little inside when I see bare walls in a house (maybe an exaggeration, but you get the idea). Not to say that every wall should be jam packed with clutter, but a little tasteful art on the walls makes a house feel cozy and lived in, and a little more like a home.
I've always loved decorating, and while I'm by no means an expert, I do have a few tips I've learned over the years that might help if hanging art is a little bit of a conundrum for you.
1. Take inventory
It's easy to squeeze art into random nooks and crannies as you collect it over time. But take time every so often to reevaluate what you have and where it's hanging. Gather everything in one space and start to group and pair art that works well together. Sort it by similar color palettes, frame choices, or sizes (e.g. 3 of the same size to hang in a row, etc.). Create collections of similar tones and textures and think about which rooms and wall spaces they would be best suited for.
2. Use useful and meaningful objects
Think form and function. Maybe artwork on a shelf doubles as a place to collect keys (in a tasteful container), or a gallery wall has a hook to hang a bag. Maybe a shadowbox holds a meaningful object or a glass cabinet holds pretty soaps or perfumes. Art doesn't have to just be art; try mixing it up with found objects, signs, pottery (one of my weaknesses), antlers (my husband's contribution), or any number of decor items.
3. Put similar colors in the same space
Think about the mood you want a room to communicate. Color influences mood. Do you have a room with warm and cozy furniture colors? Choose art that plays off those vibes. Do you want a space with a fresh open feeling? Maybe cool tones or pastels are the way to go. Then hang multiple pieces of art that mimic those same tones and choose curtains and pillows in similar colors. Not exactly matchy-matchy, but in the same family.
4. Choose the art size to match the space
This might be obvious, but think about arranging small things in small spaces and large things in large spaces. There should be some wall space around a single piece of art (if it's not part of a gallery wall) to really showcase it on a wall. And there's nothing quite as unsettling as a tiny piece of art in a huge blank wall (try it some time and see what I mean). Think also about grounding art to furniture arrangements by hanging pieces closer to the furniture than the ceiling. This all serves to to create a cohesive space with art that draws positive attention.
5. Try asymmetry
I'm all for symmetry. In fact, I'm pretty obsessive when it comes to order in home decor, but sometimes there's a place for a little off-centeredness (that's a word, right?). Offset the traditional wall art with a little asymmetry. Instead of making a completely square collection of art in matching frames, try creating an asymmetrical collection of uniquely shaped objects. This also allows for more flexibility if all your corners don't line up exactly.
6. Create Balance
The previous point being made, don't forget about balance. For big walls create one focal point; Decide where you want the eye to rest in a room (maybe it's the center of the room, maybe it's a window or between two shelves) and put the largest piece of art in the middle with a collection of smaller items around it. If you have a piece of art above a chair on one side of a window, don't leave the other side of the window completely empty. Find the center of each gathering space or furniture arrangement and make that the center of your art arrangements too.
7. Create vignettes
Small spaces are great for this. Gather art and other small items and arrange them on a shelf or above a chair to create meaningful moments in art.
8. Edit your spaces
It's tempting to gather the objects and art you love and display it all at once. But learn to be okay with leaving white space in some areas. I recently restyled my mom's living room space and while I loved the final look when I finished, the next time I came to visit, it looked cluttered. It took fresh eyes for me to realize that I had used too many objects the first time and to edit it down to a cleaner more finished look. Don't be afraid to remove items after you've added them. It might seem like a contradiction to everything else I've said, but sometimes less is more.
9. Have fun with it
These are just some guidelines if you're in a rut with art. I'm no expert, and I know that not everyone has my taste in art and decorating, so find what works for you and have fun with it. It's your space, and your space should reflect what you love.