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Showcase your personal treasures

From the Resene decorating blog

One of the most satisfying parts of any newly renovated or decorated space is that moment when you add in your personal belongings; the things you love that make the room sing.

It’s really the point of good interior design to provide a beautiful backdrop to the art, collectibles, photos and furniture that really reflect your taste and style as well as your experiences.

A dramatic home gallery

The deep red plinth in Resene Lonestar makes a dramatic addition to this home gallery, tying into the small DIY artwork and paying off against the warm neutral walls in Resene Cashmere and floor in Resene Quarter Rakaia. The artwork uses Resene Lonestar, Resene Avant Garde, Resene Cashmere and Resene Alabaster. On the shelf, candleholder base in Resene Innuendo and bowl in Resene Cashmere. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

A lounge with whimsical and unexpected colour combos

This lounge uses unexpected colour combinations to emphasise the whimsical abstract nature of the artwork, without having to match it perfectly. Rear wall painted in Resene Lola, side wall in Resene Jurassic with a matching floor stripe, floor in Resene Concrete, bench in Resene Cab Sav, tall plant pot in Resene Permanent Green, short pot in Resene Porsche and tiny vase in Resene Citron. Jen Sievers artwork and Georgina Hoby Scutt (aka Belle Hawk) artwork from endemicworld, armchair from Freedom, cushions from Republic Home, throw from Madder + Rouge, lamp in Citta. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

It might be paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture or arts and craft; it might be travel souvenirs and quirky gifts, it might be plants or funky furniture or a cool kitsch object you’ve found in an op shop, it might even be something you have created yourself.

There are as many different ways you can show off your treasures, as there are types of treasure to show off.

The spotlight effect

The simplest way to pay tribute to a piece of art in your home is to make it the centrepiece of your room. After all, it’s much easier (and generally cheaper) to build a design around a beautiful couch or piece of art, than try to replace what you already own and love to suit a colour scheme.

If you have an item of furniture, such as a couch, or even a sideboard full of collectibles you can effectively shine all the attention on it by framing that piece within your room. That doesn’t mean a literal wooden frame like you might do with a print or painting.

Start with a neutral wall colour, then paint a shape on the wall behind your furniture piece (it doesn’t need to be geometric but use the general shape of your piece as a guide) in a beautiful pop of complementary or contrasting colour. If your wall is Resene Thorndon Cream, and you have a couch in a similar shade you want to hero, paint a block of colour in a bold shade like Resene Cab Sav, spicy Resene Toffee or a dark blue like Resene Spinnaker. Play with Resene testpots to get the colour scheme you like the most.

If you have a bold-colour couch or other furniture item or piece of art, consider a tonal match for your painted wall frame so it really stands out. For a dark green couch for example you might want to try a deep green paint shade like Resene Permanent Green or Resene Cardin Green.

Top tip: This use of paint to create faux-frames also works well as a headboard, and can create the illusion of negative space making your rooms feel bigger.

A matching colour scheme throughout a whole room can really effectively amplify the impact of the artwork rather than camouflage it as you might expect.

Upper wall painted in Resene Triple Alabaster, lower wall in Resene Aviator, floor in Resene Romantic, desk in Resene Sail, chair in Resene New York Pink with legs in Resene Triple Alabaster, rugs painted in Resene New York Pink and Resene Triple Alabaster, plant pots in, from left, Resene Aviator, Resene Bunting and Resene New York Pink, wicker tray in Resene Cornflower and pencil cup and metal arch on the desk in Resene Torea Bay. Artwork by Alice Berry from endemicworld, rug from The Ivy House. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A dark greige and charcoal lounge

A bold rectangle shape in the deep gold of Resene Hot Toddy perfectly echoes and frames this jewel-toned statement couch. Dark greige and charcoal tones intensify the spotlight on the couch.

Back wall painted in Resene Nero, peg stool and tabletop in Resene Half Gravel and table legs in Resene Double Merino. Couch from Contempa. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Melanie Jenkins.

Beyond white walls

When you step into an art gallery the walls are generally all painted in the whitest white, on the premise that the walls recede and the art is the central focus.

While that is generally true, you don’t need to stick so strictly to that when you’re wanting to showcase art or other personal treasures at home. In fact, using the right colours to complement your key pieces can actually make them stand out, which is good news as a living room with four bright, stark white walls might be a little intense.

Look at the shape of your art piece and think about where in the room you want to place it to show it at its best. Then think about the colours in the piece and how you might either replicate them or complement them with your Resene paint palette.

Of course there are a lot of talented local artists who use Resene paints in their work which will make colour-coordinating a breeze – or you can grab yourself a selection of Resene testpots and think about creating a work of your own.

If you’re unsure what colours will work best to show off your art, take it (or a good quality photo of it) into your local Resene ColorShop staff so they can help choose the best colours. You could also upload your photos to the free online Resene Colour Palette Generator and you’ll get between five and twenty ideal colour matches. This can also be a really effective way to bring the colours of treasures like those photos of memorable family holidays into your home as well.

Create a gallery

Gallery walls are extremely popular, with good reason. Not only are they an excellent way to showcase multiple personal treasures in one space, they’re also a really good way to add interest to large stretches of boring wall. They’re perfect in hallways or stairwells and even toilets to add your personal flair to functional spaces.

There are several types of gallery wall. The first is the orderly collection of images that are all in the same type of frame, and are the same size. They might be a collection of related works by one creator or they may simply be grouped together based on their colour.

These walls are relatively easy to hang. Just pay attention to how much clear space you have, and measure carefully because you want to emphasise the uniformity. That means making sure they are all the same distance apart from each other and the vertical and horizontal lines match up.

The other way to put together a gallery wall is to experiment with a range of different shapes and sizes of art pieces, including some that are more sculptural or 3D. You want to try all sorts of different frames – second-hand shops can be a good source for those – and you can even tie it into a wall shelf of books and collectibles to create a museum-like result.

The trick to this kind of gallery wall is planning and experimenting. Clear an area of floor a similar size to your chosen wall and move your items around to see what looks best where. Pay attention to how different shapes play off each other, as well as different colours and think about how many pieces you need to fill your wall space just the right amount – not too jammed in and not too spaced out. Trust your eye.

You also don’t need to aim for a specific overall shape for your collection. They don’t have to make a rectangle when put together for example. Try something a little more off-kilter.

Top tip: Odd numbers of things often look better in groups than an even number. They form an organic shape more easily if that is what you’re after. Even numbers tend to default to rows.

Quick ideas

Some other fun ways to display your art and objects are:

July 03, 2022

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