Hey, it’s Small House time again! Welcome back.
This month, Brenda and I are going to talk about Decorating Walls in a Small Space. Now, you might think that I’m going to say something like, Be Careful – don’t put too much on your walls if you live in a small space! On the contrary. I think you should approach the walls in a small space the same way you would in a larger space. Fill them with what you love, what moves you, what has meaning.
So let’s talk about my house and the ways in which I display things on my walls, and hopefully, I can give you some tips along the way. I’ve always adorned my walls (oh that poster of Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid in my dorm room!) and am a firm believer in it. Don and I have lots of framed pieces we love, some are on display, others are stored away. But everything we have has meaning. I know, I say that all the time, but it’s true.
Tip #1 – Tell a story with your decorated wall space.
These two oil paintings live on the wall by our front door. The top one is of our cottage and was painted by my dad. The one on the bottom is of my grandmother’s childhood home in Canada and was painted by my great-aunt. Putting these two paintings together tells a story about my life now and the life of my ancestors.
Tip#2 – Use words, letters and graphics. They give personality to a room. It’s good to have a mix of paintings, prints and graphics.
I hung this sign on the wall above the landing on our staircase. The bold graphic is great and it’s playful, as well.
This sign, painted by Paula of Castle and Cottage Signs, hangs above the window that is over our kitchen sink.
More graphics in the living room. The Keyboard School sign over the piano and the vintage Hymns sign from an old church. These also fulfill the advice in Tip #1. They tell a story – about music – and they are purposefully placed by the piano.
This sign hangs over the archway into our living room and takes advantage of the high ceilings in the kitchen. We looked long and hard for a sign that was rectangular in size and would work in that space. Which leads me to Tip# 3: Think up. Don’t forget the the area of the wall that is near the ceiling. Hanging something up that high can make your room seem larger. You can see that I hung a vintage Currier & Ives print up high in the den (just look through those french doors.)
I hung the Cottage Home sign high up over the kitchen windows. You can see it as you enter the house as well as from the den and it says everything about how I feel about our house. (Sign by my friend Rita of Mammabellarte.)
Tip #4 – Don’t just use large expanses, use smaller expanses and corners. I love using little nooks and corners to hang favorite pieces.
This little section of wall borders the spinet desk by the stairs. I hung this little print there. It fits perfectly. On the right is the door to the bathroom.
This little section of wall is by the desk in the den. Immediately to the right is a closet door. On top is a favorite print of mine and below is a little shelf holding some of my favorite miniatures. If just the desk was there, it would be nice, but adding these two pieces on the wall makes the corner.
Tip#5 – Sometimes less is more. Two areas of my house come to mind.
This area, by the loveseat in the living room, has only one small framed piece on either side of the window. This lampshade is such a favorite of mine with its pretty flowered print and fringe, that I used the simple painting by Christie Repasy to echo that same flowery feeling. The color of the chippy wood frame is in the same family as the background color on the lamp. Simple and effective.
The other example is in this photo. The cabinet is substantial, has green pottery displayed on top and a crochet banner across the door. The two little rose prints on the left pick up those colors and help complete the total picture. Just two little prints.
Tip #6 – Use shelves and architectural salvage on your walls to decorate. I’ve done this throughout the house. I have little shelves holding my egg cup collection, little shelves in my studio, and some big shelves, too.
Here is a wall in my studio. I used an old mantel to create a shelf and to make a statement. And you can see, I’ve added all sorts of treasures to the rest of the wall space; a pretty memory board, a couple of prints that I love, a tiny little shelf. All of it together says a great deal about me and my studio space. Rather than work around it, I also used the funky slant to the ceiling to my advantage. I think it makes the whole thing more striking.
Another shelf, nestled under the slanted ceiling and hung on the wall, makes this niche pop.
Tip #7 – When you’re hanging something above a sofa or a chair, don’t hang it too high. Sometimes I visit someone who has a painting above the sofa and it’s just too high. There’s too much space between the furniture and the painting. It should be hung at eye level. Excuse the messy pillows, but I snapped this to show you that this rather large print is hung fairly close to the sofa. It’s actually closer than this picture makes it seem. You don’t want too much dead space between the sofa and the painting.
Also, keep what you hang proportional to that large piece of furniture.
Tip #8 – Have fun! Hang some jumping jacks…or hang something else whimsical and fun. Not everything has to be just so or perfect. Wouldn’t you rather have have something on display that makes you smile?
If you walked around my little cottage, you’d see something hung on nearly every wall – maybe every wall. I think the things you hang on your walls tell a story about you. Don’t be afraid to combine prints with graphics with architectural salvage. Create wall vignettes. Have fun and don’t be shy because you have a small space. Go for it!
Be sure to stop by and see Brenda’s tips for Decorating Walls. Have a great day!