Picking Art for your Home ~ in association with King & McGaw
Over the years we’ve built a collection of prints and filled our walls with art that we love. They add personality to our otherwise featureless walls in our modern purpose built flat walls and make it feel more homely. I’ve never had a problem with choosing art for my home but can understand why so many people find it stressful. “Where do I start?” “What style should I go for?” “Where should I hang it?” are all questions I’ve been asked before and am hopefully going to answer with this blog post brought to you in association with King & McGaw.
King & McGaw are a British company based in New Haven on the South Coast. Gyr King started the business in 1982 using a second hand screen press in the basement of the house he was converting in central Brighton. It has now grown to be one of the country’s leading art suppliers, with a website that has over 8000 pieces to choose from. They still make everything by hand and supply art to some of the world’s most famous galleries and museums.
Here are some of my tips for choosing art for your home…
Pick a Theme
You might think that 8000 pieces of art would be overwhelming to look at, however, the newly relaunched King & McGaw website is nicely broken down into categories making it easy to navigate. My favourite categories to browse are the Rare & Limited which has vintage exhibition, music and film posters and the Contemporary collection which has prints by current artists and graphic designers.
A few favourites from the Rare & Limited and Contemporary section:
It was in this section that I found and fell in love with Olle Eksell’s ‘Eyes of Cacao’ print. Designed in 1956 as part of Eksell’s first design program for Mazetti, the print works perfectly in our home due to its contemporary style combined with its mid-century heritage.
Pick a Place (or two!)
The very first print Jim and I hung in our very first home together was a British Transport poster for Seaford that was bought as a housewarming gift. We had visited Jim’s family who live there on our first trip to Brighton together and I fell in love with the view of Seven Sisters from Cuckmere Haven. It’s still one of my favourite places to visit and I love having it hung on our wall.
King & Mcgaw have a huge selection of British Transport posters for places around Britain for you to choose from as well as vintage travel posters for places further afield. Here’s a few of my favourites based on previous travels:
Our love for Scandinavia is very apparent when you look at the art we’ve hung on our walls. From maps of Copenhagen and Stockholm to prints featuring the beach we visited in Iceland hanging above our bed.
Pick a Hobby
Whether you’re into cycling, cooking, fashion or music, there’s so many ways you can feature your interests on your walls, a gallery wall is the perfect way to do that but more on that later!
Our love for indie music is what originally got Jim and I chatting way back in 2007 and since then we’ve loved going to gigs and festivals together. For that reason it seems only right that it should feature heavily on our walls.
the postcards of Morrissey and Johnny Marr dotted around the flat were picked up at an exhibition on The Smiths a few years ago and The Cribs poster that Jim stole from a gig we both attended just before we met is also hung on the wall.
Pick your Words
My name is Kathryn and I’m a typography-aholic. I’ve had to stop myself from buying anymore prints with the word ‘love’ on them because it was getting a bit OTT. If I didn’t already have that word on the wall 5 times then I’d be buying this Robert Indiana ‘Love’ poster immediately which I love for its vivid colours and vintage aesthetic.
I like the typography I pick to have some meaning to it. The Anthony Burrill ‘Work hard and be nice to People’ print on our gallery wall for example are words I think we should all live by. I have ‘Love, peace and Magique’ by Hotel Magique in both the living room and our bedroom because I love it so much. I have love and peace tattoos so now I think I need a magique one too!
I bought the Andy Warhol ‘I like boring things’ a few years ago. It made me laugh because at the time I felt like I was an old woman living in a twenty-something year olds body. It hung at the top of our stairs for years and was the first thing you saw when you walked in our flat… a sort of warning for guests! Now it sits above the armchair where I sit and enjoy my boring interests!
How to Display your Prints
As a basic rule of thumb, you want to hang pictures so that that the centre of it is at eye level. Personally, I like to group pictures together so will often hang 2 or more pictures together and will have a mix of different sizes.
If you plan to hang a collection of prints then line up the centre of the pictures rather than from the bottom or top. I tend to go for a black wooden frame (and really rate the King & McGaw framing service!) but there’s no rules – keep them the same or mix them up, it’s your wall you can do what you want!
If you’ve seen my Instagram then you’ll know my love for gallery walls is strong. The reason I like a gallery wall is that you can hang lots of art in one space (ideal if you have a small home like me), you view the art together as a whole rather than just on one piece (perfect if you’re not confident picking art!) and I just love how much character they add to a space.
I’ve curated a few gallery walls in my time and a few lessons I’ve learnt are:
Pick a theme - My current one is monochrome with pink and beige accents.
Don’t think too much about any sort of uniformity – I lay my pictures out on the floor beforehand to get a general idea of where I think pictures should hang based on their size, colour and content but then tend to go off piste and make it up as I go. If you do want some sort of structure to your gallery wall then Pinterest has lots of layout templates.
Use Command Strips – these are great for hanging frames as you can move pictures around without leaving holes and marks on your walls.
Picture Ledges are on my shopping list for my next trip to IKEA. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without having any! Perfect for flexibility and being able to move prints around, you can also place other things on them like vases and plants to add more of a feature to the wall.
Prop them up
I think there’s something so chic about propping pictures up rather than hanging them. Whether it’s propped on the floor, on a shelf, a bookcase or a chest of drawers it’s one of my favourite ways to display art.
Picking art for your home is a personal thing and something that a lot of people find daunting. I hope this might help you with a starting point and given you some ideas for deciding what to hang on your walls. I will post another blog post with more details on curating a gallery wall if that’s of interest? Otherwise I’d love for you to share more tips in the comment section!
[AD] This post is part of a paid collaboration with King & McGaw.