There’s a good deal of speculation, and a number of concepts, floating around as to why designers lean paintings and photographs against walls instead of hanging them. I’m not much for speculation, so I decided to bypass all of that stuff and go right to the source. Below are a few reasons and ways to get it done from the designers themselves.
LLC, KSID Studio
Become your own curator. For this family room, Karen Soojian, chief in KSID Studio, leaned the artwork and diverse the height of these pieces to provide a contrast with all the boxy shape of the fireplace. She notes that “juxtaposing several pieces of artwork and other elements is much more entertaining to the eye, and this type of art setup allows flexibility — our client has a hassle-free approach to change the arrangement of the artwork.”
Laura Martin Bovard
Test out it. “Necessity was the mother of creation,” states Laura Martin Bovard of LBM Interiors. “We were waiting for the clients to determine whether or not to purchase the artwork, and leaning it made it feel much more casual and flexible without committing to damaging the wall covering in the dining area of this townhouse.”
Laura Martin Bovard
This is just another design by Bovard where she was waiting for the clients to commit, or not, to the artworks. And, as with all the dining area, “we decided we liked how they seemed just leaning,” she states.
Andrea May Hunter/Gatherer
Produce a toilet gallery. If this master bathroom was remodeled designer Andrea May created a wall dab topped off with a shallow sea ledge. “These paintings are by a family friend and actually connect into a personal narrative,” she states. “I love to prop artwork, not just because it allows flexibility, but because I feel it makes the artwork less precious, more informal and more accessible.”
Jessica Bennett Interiors
Layer your artwork along with your bed. Even though these are little vignettes, the layering has a large impact. “I wished to lean the framed prints so as to make an extremely layered and collected appearance,” explains Jessica Pakzad Bennett of Jessica Bennett Interiors. “My client loves to collect prints and could not choose just one to hang, so that she wished to have them on her bedside table to enjoy. We also loved the idea of hanging the classic frames behind them for an even more dramatic impact.”
Mark English Architects, AIA
Change up it. “I made a decision to lean an oversized colorful painting against the wall for two reasons,” explains Mark English of Mark English Architects. “The first being that I wanted a feeling of changeability in the room, the idea that the artwork could move around. I personally wanted the painting to look like a furnishing than wall artwork.”
John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA
Rotate your group. “The inspiration for the photo shelves came from an art gallery which my client had visited,” states John Lum of John Lum Architecture. “They wanted a more flexible system which could accommodate various sizes of photographs, because they have an extensive collection of black and white photography. The shelves let them rotate their set without needing to constantly patch nail holes in the walls” Lum also noted that the shelves pull out in the event the homeowners determine they wish to place something entirely different against the walls.
Mark Newman Design
Require a contemporary strategy. “I actually leaned the artwork because the client wasn’t certain if they were planning to purchase it or not,” says Mark Newman of Mark Newman Design. “However, in some instances, I do like a leaning installation — it makes a room feel much more approachable and less stuffy. In a contemporary environment, it’s especially simple for artwork to become really serious, and this takes it down a notch and makes it more approachable.”
Create a sense of symmetry. “This master bedroom has been designed to have a tailored appearance and a airy, calming color palette,” says Annette English of Annette English and Associates. “We liked the idea of incorporating an unexpected element to the room and felt the leaning artwork adds a casual feel, while still reinforcing the symmetry of this room.”
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