Halloween is behind us and now we are fast approaching the holiday season with cozy evenings at home and loads of entertaining. This is the time of the year that I really move indoors and work on my house specifically to create the sense of purposeful atmosphere through artwork and accessories.

Artwork and accessories are a wonderful expression of oneself as these are how your house communicates with you and your visitors. The art and accessories is the dialogue of your personality and experiences.   Without them a house would be soulless however too much or done badly can be equally off putting. Interestingly enough though, it’s the artwork and accessories that immediately appeal to one’s subconscious and one’s minds-eye; therefor that first glance does really set the tone.

One’s minds-eye is an amazing thing as it sees your surroundings and unconsciously your eye makes immediate judgment. Depending on how things are positioned, shape, color, proportion etc, your eye (or really your brain) decides if you are comfortable or agitated, if something looks chaotic or restful and any of those sensory emotions. So the trick with interior decorating as a whole and specifically working with artwork and accessories is to use them in such a way that it appeals to one’s subconscious pleasure senses and creates a restful and inviting space.  

One thing your minds-eye loves when entering a room is to easily find a focal point.   For a living room this is usually the hearth area or Christmas tree at the holidays. In a kitchen it can be the stove or sink area, a bedroom is the headboard and wall behind etc.   To create a successful focal point it is best to focus much of your art and accessories in this area. A good example is to place a dramatic painting above the mantel or bed or put a gorgeous bouquet of flowers by your kitchen sink.  

What your minds-eye finds distressing is clutter and small bits and pieces everywhere. Your eye gets frustrated and can’t connect it together and so goes into a bit of a tail spin. So to avoid this it is best to group items especially smaller pieces or collections and display together in one area. A lovely collection of figurines can look haphazard if they are placed all over a house but that same collection can be wonderful if displayed as one unit on a few shelves or table top. Your eye joins the pieces as one for the room view and with closer inspection it enjoys the individual pieces.

Similar to clutter and bits everywhere is improperly positioned artwork. Again your eye likes to group so be sure to connect the artwork with the pieces of furniture around it. Groupings and pairings are very appealing to the eye. Paintings above sofas should be large (I love a dramatic horizontal painting above a sofa) and hung absolutely no higher than 10” above the sofa, the closer the better. The same rules apply with artwork over a mantel or a headboard. Art that is too far from the relating furnishings becomes disjointed and irrelevant equaling visual clutter.   

Your eye also loves proportion, therefore when placing art, think of the space and what it dictates. Size does matter. A large wall needs a large painting or group of smaller paintings. A small wall requires something else and a small wall that you stop at (i.e. small wall with an electrical switch) can take a small painting with lovely fine details as you are temporarily stopped here and more likely to appreciate the piece. I love to play with other more quirky wall spaces for more interesting placement of artwork. I like to find the intimate space between a sofa and side table tucked below the lamp shade to put a lovely little picture. It seems like such a special spot like a private dialogue between the artwork and the viewer.  

Again, to accessorize your home well you must always take into consideration how the mind’s eye works. When positioning artwork, accessories or holiday décor think about not only shape, color and size, but also focal points, groupings and proportion. Remember to make your Christmas tree the focal point and make it bold. Group festive ornaments together for maximum impact and make a statement with your artwork. Keep these tips in mind when decorating for the holidays and you and your guests will find it appealing. Have fun and happy entertaining!


Sponsored story by Beth MacDonald Interior Decorating Ltd.