The “Big” Art Trend You’ll Want to Try on Your Blank Wall

published Jan 15, 2024
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Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 18-day program that’ll help you reset your home for the year ahead. Sign up here and get all assignments delivered to your inbox. Joining us today is Apartment Therapy’s Executive Home Director, Danielle Blundell.

There’s nothing like the magic of adding art to your home. Its perks are three-fold: It fills up a bare wall, elevates the design, and brings your personality into the room. It’s like the cherry on top of a put-together place. 

That’s why today’s assignment is dedicated to all things art, and luckily we have just the expert in-house to help you achieve some next-level style in your home. Joining us is Apartment Therapy’s Executive Home Director, Danielle Blundell, who’s sharing her advice on the best way to select and showcase your art pieces, as well as give us some insight as to what’s trending in 2024. 

Welcome, Danielle!

Day 9: Find and frame some art.

If your walls are looking a little, well, bare, you can do something about it today. That’s where artwork comes in, and the right frame will make any piece pop and look extra polished hanging on your wall. Whether you gravitate toward serene landscape photos or you’re all about technicolor, graphic prints, or vintage oil paintings, something out there will speak to you, and framing it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take forever to accomplish.

Step 1: Find some art.

First up, you’ll need to find that special piece. Maybe you have a poster you bought ages ago that’s stashed in a corner somewhere and you’ve been meaning to frame it forever, or perhaps you purchased a print on your last trip, and you’ve yet to touch it. If you’re an artist yourself, you probably have a favorite watercolor or sketch you’ve made at some point.

Even if art truly hasn’t been on your radar before, that’s OK, too. What you choose to consider artwork can be anything — a Playbill from a show you loved, a letter someone special wrote to you, a scrap of wallpaper that makes your heart go pitter-patter. The options are truly endless. You could even frame a favorite T-shirt, sports jersey, or pennant!

Step 2: Frame it.

Once you’ve selected your artwork, it’s time to frame it. You can approach this in a couple of different ways. First, measure your piece and figure out what kind of matting you want (if any) and what your ideal mat size and color is. If you have an appropriately sized frame handy (with or without matting), use it now! I’d recommend dusting or cleaning the glass on both sides and letting it dry thoroughly before you pop your piece into the frame and secure it. And don’t forget to do a streak check before you hang it for the best results.

No frame? No problem! You can shop for a fairly inexpensive style at places like IKEA, Target, Michaels, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel. If you’d like a custom job, just make today the day you’re going to drop it off or send it out. Sites like Framebridge and Simply Framed have pros on hand to help you measure, select the right frame, and figure out some of the hanging hang-ups you may encounter when your piece arrives.

Want a shortcut to an even more turn-key custom framing experience? Maxwell Ryan, Apartment Therapy’s founder and CEO, collaborated with Simply Framed on the online Apartment Therapy Frame Shop, where you can use Maxwell’s tried-and-true, favorite framing setup to streamline the entire selection process. A professional job will cost more than a DIY one, so do what’s best for your budget. Some items, like tapestries or wall hangings, might not even need framing, so you can skip ahead to the next phase of this task.

Step 3: Hang it up.

Once your framed piece is in hand and ready to hang, put it up! Make sure you know what kind of walls you have (drywall, plaster, etc.) so you buy and use the appropriate hanging hardware for that building material. If you’re nervous about making holes in your walls because you rent or otherwise, consider Command strips for lighter pieces; 3M actually has options that can accommodate pieces up to 20 pounds!

As far as what’s trendy in art hanging, one big statement piece seems to be eclipsing the ever-popular gallery wall, at least according to many designers Apartment Therapy polled recently. Maybe that’s because gallery walls require a lot of sourcing, planning, and prep. If you want an easy one-and-done solution for gallery wall hanging, consider a wall-mounted picture rail system. They’re a bit of an investment upfront, but they have an old-meets-new charm and allow for small- and medium-sized pieces to be almost endlessly repositionable. 

Now, all that’s left to do is to enjoy your beautiful artwork display. In fact, I bet you’ll be ready for even more art almost immediately once you see how much of a decorative impact just one piece can make!

PRO TIP: If you really want to get art placement perfect — or you just like seeing all the options — consider tracing your frame to make a hanging template on paper first. You can move this template around (secure it each time with painter’s tape so your wall paint won’t peel) until you find your ideal spot, which means fewer holes to worry about if you don’t get things quite right the first time around.

What art do you plan to hang in your home? Did you pull art inspiration from your vision board? Share it with us in the comments below.

More ways to participate in the January Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.