9 Things to Hang on a Wall Instead of Art Work

Decorating Ideas >

When it comes to decorating the walls in their home, most people’s go-to is a painting, print, or photograph. But there’s a whole world of other good-looking wall hangings you might like. If you want to mix it up a bit, consider some of these non-artwork wall accents.

1. Art Glass

This could describe anything from a trio of blown-glass flowers to a giant glass geode. Art glass designs are a gorgeous addition in a room with an eclectic style, says Nicole S. O’Dwyer, of NS Designs, an interior design firm in northeast Pennsylvania.

2. Sunburst

Often seen in coastal settings, a sunburst pairs well with Mediterranean decor because of its nature-inspired personality and typically metal composition, such as brushed gold and copper. Styles vary, with some sunbursts’ center space featuring a mirror or face.

3. Arrow

If you’re leaning towards a modern or industrial farmhouse look, says O’Dwyer, a metal arrow will hit the spot, while a wood arrow works with a rustic or traditional décor.

4. Mirror

A mirror fits with a number of decorating styles. “The frame of a mirror, or lack there-of, suggests the appropriate theme,” says O’Dwyer. “Traditional styles are usually a painted wood or wood stain. Many farmhouse styles have a wrought-iron finish. A more modern mirror may be frameless with a simple beveled edge.”

5. Vintage Magazine Cover

Often found at flea markets, old-timey magazine covers – mostly drawings from the archives of legendary publications – are the perfect accent. For a chic home office, covers from “Vogue” and “Vanity Fair” will add some glam; for a den, “The New Yorker,” and for a man cave, “Sports Illustrated.”

6. Clock

Wall clocks are a classic, versatile option. “I recently completed a French Country-inspired dining room with an oversized robin’s egg blue clock with ornate Roman numeral,” says O’Dwyer. “‘It was the perfect functional addition.”

7. Metal Art

Often used in an industrial style space, metal artwork is often seen in geometric shapes. “I like to pair metal art against a light-colored wall to really make an impact,” says the designer.

8. Map

A map adds loads of character and sophistication to an office or family room, whether you hang a world map or one that defines a more specific destination that’s meaningful to you.

9. Compasses

Large repurposed compasses look striking on a wall in a rustic style or modern farmhouse, says O’Dwyer. “They’re a great conversation starter positioned behind a bar.”

No matter what you hang, size matters.

“The appropriate size artwork for a wall doesn’t overwhelm or underwhelm the space,” says O’Dwyer. “I use the three-eighths rule.” If you have a wall that is nine-feet wide, for example, and you multiply it by three-eighths, you will have approximately 34 inches on either side of a 40-inch wide piece, which is the perfect balance. Here’s how to figure it out: 9’ wide wall (108”) multiplied by three-eighths (0.37) = 40” wide artwork; 108” minus 40” = 68”. If you center the artwork, you have 34” (half of 68”) on each side.

How high to hang it: A common decorating mistake is placing a wall hanging, whether it’s a painting or a sunburst, too high or too low (exactly at eye level). Instead, says O’Dwyer, make sure the center of the piece is at eye level, approximately four to five feet high, which helps achieve balance and proportion.

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