How to Bring Small Spaces Alive with Artwork

We all have those small spaces in our houses or apartments that we neglect....mostly because we just don't know what to do with them.....but I'm here to show you some tricks for turning those small spaces into colorful corners of delight. 

Let's get started!

Pick Artwork that Accentuates the Style of the Space (and your Style!)

#21 & 22 set of rectangular framed prints

#21 & 22 set of rectangular framed prints

#22 rectangular framed print

#22 rectangular framed print

The number one rule of decorating in my opinion is to pick things you love...this is especially important for artwork ....because artwork is emotionally based. So when picking out artwork for a small space first make sure you love it and then ask yourself if it fits the style of your space....marrying those two aspects will make your small space feel like home.

Now how do I do that?  Before you go shopping take a few minutes to stand in the middle of your space. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Then open your eyes. Write down 5 words that describe how you want to feel when you're home. Then close your eyes again and take three deep breathes. Open your eyes and write down five words that describe the style of your apartment (for example, industrial, cozy, expansive). Now, do any of the words/sentiments from those two lists match? If so, write that word on a new piece of paper and pick a piece of artwork that makes you feel that way. 

If none of the words/sentiments match then simply take your list of how you want to feel in your space with you shopping! Prioritize yourself!

An example of what I mean about your personnel style and your space style matching can be shown in the images above - In the industrial-style loft above the brick and concrete walls are painted white; however, the headboard and side table are both made from rustic wood. For artwork to work in this space it needs to blend the white walls with the wooden furniture. These abstract framed prints work well because the print also has a modern rustic style with different shades of brown (like the furniture). In addition, the print has white accents and the matte that surrounds it are white (like the walls). Bringing it all together is a black frame that defines the artwork's space and provides a barrier between the texture of the prints and the texture of the brick and concrete walls.

Use the Artwork to Define the Job of the Space

If you have a small space that you want to use as 'the place where I put my mail and keys' then pick artwork and accent pieces that accentuate this. For example, you way want to buy ornate or antique hooks and install them on the wall to hang your keys from. You could then buy a sculpture-like bowl to hold the mail. You could even then buy a painting or canvas print that accentuates the colors of the sculpture bowl and hooks. Overall, the idea is to buy the artwork for the 'purpose' of the space and not just as ornamentation....making the space feel artistically inspiring but at the same time serves your functional needs.

This concept can be blown out for one room apartments where the one room serves many functions. For instance, to define your living space you can arrange a sofa and chair in an L-shape using a rug to literally define the floor space, but you also need to define wall space to make the space complete.

To accomplish this, I recommend using my philosophy of 'setting your mood' for each room even in the one space. If the layout permits, place a piece of artwork on your living room wall that defines how you want to feel in your everyday life. If you want to feel bolder and/or more vibrant choose artwork that is energizing to your soul. Then in your bedroom choose artwork that is calming to your soul... and make sure that it is what you see when you first wake up.

To learn more read my blog post - How a Colorful Home can Make you Bolder.

#32 rectangular framed print

#32 rectangular framed print

#30 rectangular framed print

#30 rectangular framed print

Use Sets of Artwork to Take Advantage of Wall 'Slivers"

Narrow spaces or 'wall slivers' as I like to call them aren't always obvious places for artwork. They're often overlooked because most regular-sized artwork is too large for the space while a bunch of small pieces of artwork might make the space look cluttered. However, if you use a set of prints or paintings by the same artist then the space gets a cohesive look. It becomes even more cohesive when the prints' style connects to the rest of the room (as discussed above). 

In my opinion sets can consist of either square or rectangular prints or modern wall sculpture. The important thing about sets for narrow wall spaces is that they go down the wall. This accentuates the wall's length thereby giving the illusion that the space is larger than it actually is.

#4 set of square framed prints

#4 set of square framed prints

Blue modern walls sculptures (photo by spacecrafting)

Blue modern walls sculptures (photo by spacecrafting)

Mix Small Spaces with Big Artwork

In some instances, hanging a big or even medium sized piece of artwork in a small space can actually make the space look bigger. For example, in a short hallway many people's instinct is to fill it with a bunch of smaller works of art. However, if you place one large piece of colorful artwork the space becomes more cohesive and when someone walks through the space...instead of focusing on the small space they focus on the large piece of artwork...and their mind is tricked into thinking the space is much more spacious...at least this is my experience....test it out!

Choose Artwork that Reflects the Shape of the Space

#11 custom canvas print

#11 custom canvas print

They're difficult to find but if you hang a long skinny piece of artwork in a narrow wall space, the artwork can really 'work with the space.' This tip is especially helpful to those with a very contemporary-styled home. Longer thin pieces of art look very clean and simple and compliment simple sleek furniture. 

*Due to the flexible nature of my canvas prints they can be cropped to any size including long thin prints. If you'd like to find out more, visit my custom work page.

Celebrate your Small Spaces

In summary, small spaces should be celebrated! Be creative. Be Bold. But don't be Boring:)

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