Since I started this column, several people have asked me how I decide to place photos and accessories in groupings such as the ones I showed in the articles and so I decided to expound on that subject a bit.
When faced with a blank space that needs “Melissification,” the first thing I take note of is the size and shape of the available space.
For example, take the space above your bed. If you have a behind your bed, a blank wall behind it up to your ceiling or crown molding, that can be a very different amount of space for each person. Because it depends on the height and width of your headboard, and your ceiling height, the space will vary.
You would consider the “art space” to be the space on the wall itself that is between the width of the headboard, and height of the top of the headboard to the bottom of the crown molding.
From that point you find the center of the space. If you are hanging a single piece, it’s easy. You would simply find the center of the art piece, and position it at the center of the wall space, and hang it accordingly.
However, if you are hanging a grouping, you will have to decide which of your pieces you will hang in the center. Actually, you don’t have to hang a piece directly in the center, although you can, but the center of your grouping will need to be placed in the center of your allowed wall space.
This is sometimes hard to do when it means tapping nails or hooks into your sheetrock, so often what I do, is place the pieces on the floor or on a table first. Sometimes I even use some painters tape to mark off the same amount of space on the floor as I will have available on the wall.
At this point in the task, you need to trust your own “visual balance”. I know, I use that phrase a lot, don’t I? What I mean by visual balance is an inherent ability to recognize balance. If you walk into a room and see a picture hanging crooked on the wall, you can immediately notice it because your eyes are drawn to contrast and balance. It’s easy to walk over and use your fingertip to make the lines straight. That’s what I’m talking about. Even someone with no decorating experience can recognize a crooked picture and make it straight!
So in creating visual balance in your grouping, you can mix sizes and mix items. You don’t have to just use framed pieces, although you can do that. You can also mix tapestry with framed pieces, plates on pretty hangers mixed with painted canvases, or flank a series of watercolors with pretty brackets topped with candles.
Once you put these items on a flat surface such as a table or floor, it will start to come together for you. You work from the center out, and you don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical, but you do want things to feel balanced. You will want the space between items to be consistent. If you need to measure to do this, that makes it even better.
Another neat tip is to put paper beneath the surface of your arrangement and once you get it like you want it, mark the edges of the pieces against the paper so that you can use it as a template to transfer onto the wall! This is a great way to get it right!
We all have the ability to use this mental tool of balance and symmetry, some just have it more perfectly honed than others! Give it a try! You can do it! If you mess up, hey...it’s just a tiny hole. That’s what and are for!