You guys, I’m so excited about this new series I’m starting here today – the first one of 2016! I know, I know… Sometimes blog series, like New Year’s resolutions, tend to fall by the wayside. But I’m so psyched for this one and have actually spent quite a bit of time already in the planning stages for it.
You see, when I saw my friend Kimberly’s post, The A-Z of Design Tips, my brain did a little happy dance. Alphebetization is my jam, especially as an adorable means of presenting information! The wheels started turning over what subject I could alphabetize here on The Gathered Home… And what subject do I love more than gathering?
What if I created an alphabet of gathering, Focusing on all things vintage, thrifted, and found? And what if I could pull together a huge resource of inspiration and ideas on how you can decorate with gathered things in your home?
I love the word “gather” because it encompasses so many ways to find unique treasures – thrift stores, garage and estate sales, vintage shops, Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, antique stores and malls, flea markets… Any source that requires a little digging, a little soul searching, and a little bit of serendipity!
It’s very different from walking into a big-box store and picking out six coordinating pieces; not that there’s anything wrong with that, but gathering relies a whole lot more on gut instinct, the luck of the draw, perseverance, and a dose of bravery.
And sometimes you’ve found something that just calls out to you, that’s perhaps a little oddball yet deeply appealing, but you’re not quite sure how you could/should/would incorporate it into your home…
So my new series, The ABC’s of Gathering, was born.
Together, we’ll be working our way through an alphabet where each letter represents one type of find or gathering concept. “Q” and “X” might be head-scratchers, but I’ve got some fantastic ideas for upcoming letters!
Today, we begin with “A is for Art.”
How to Decorate with Vintage & Thrifted Art
Art is one of my favorite things to gather and one of the things I have the hardest time resisting (perhaps second only to brass animals). Vintage oil paintings, pen and ink drawings, prints, portraits… You can find so many unique and even one-of-a-kind pieces to add some gathered flair to your home!
Housekeeping notes: Today’s post may contain affiliate links – you can shop from the convenience of your home and I may receive a small commission, at no extra charge to you.
All photos are used by the permission of my wonderful blogging friends. You can visit their posts to read more by clicking on each picture or the link in the caption below – please pin from the original source!
Now on to business! Did you know that there are five main ways to display art? (Says who? Says me, self-styled expert.) By the end of this post, you’ll be a vintage-art-decorating-ninja, but the first step is mastering…
Leaning is an effortless way to display a piece of gathered art – no nail holes required! Leaning art makes a great styling accessory for flat surfaces – desks, console tables, buffets, mantels, bookshelves. The art adds height as well as a colorful backdrop for other decorative pieces.
Brittany’s paint-by-numbers echoes the other colors in the room perfectly and bring so much energy and life to this bedside vignette.
Maggie’s flea market painting adds height to this arrangement and relates beautifully to the surrounding pieces – doesn’t it seem like the lamb just tumbled out of the painting?
This is my default dining room mantel. I may change things up seasonally, but I love using this extra-textured oil painting as a base and then filling in around it with other vintage finds.
Picture Kyla’s shelfie game without the boldly colored portrait… Not quite the same, right? I love the way the royal blue in the painting calls out the more-muted blue of the rug.
Kitchens are often overlooked in the art department, but Cassie shows us just how perfectly vintage oil paintings can fit into a work space. Up on the top of the shelves, her vintage seascapes are safe from splatters, while echoing the gorgeous blues and greens of the cabinets, backsplash, and dishware.
So maybe you’ve got some wall space to fill and some nails just begging to be hammered (but seriously, use these monkey hooks instead, they are revolutionary) and you’re ready to take your art game to the next level… literally.
I mean, it’s not like I really need to tell you, “Hello. You can actually hang art on your wall.” But moving from leaning to hanging seemed like a nice and logical organizational method, and let’s face it, you’re really here for the eye candy, right?
This vintage floral oil painting is such a classic, soothing piece. I love the way Danielle grounded the art with a sculptural chair, so it’s not just floating by itself at eye level.
As luck would have it, this thrifted butterfly art ended up coordinating so well with the colors of my guest room makeover! I still love the way it bridges the two wall colors.
Suzy’s vintage framed African textile is the perfect statement piece to fill a large span of wall space over her sectional. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to go big! Oversize art is an attention-grabbing way to fill an empty wall.
Amber and Nick show us that it’s okay to have a little fun with vintage portraits. They’ve named their quirky and colorful friend ‘Willard’ and he presides over meals at their dining room table.
Once you’ve mastered both “The Lean” and “The Hang”, it’s only natural that you should want to put your new skills to the test by combining them.
Yessiree, “The Combo” involves pairing a hanging piece of art with a leaning piece of art, to great decorative effect…
First of all, glorious yellow! (Which you know I love – check out my favorite yellow decorating accessories in this post.) Charlotte’s grandmother gifted her this stunning painting that hangs over the fireplace in her bedroom. Note how she dealt with an off-centered fireplace by hanging the art centered on the wall, but balanced with the leaning piece of art below? Compliments of “The Combo.”
Ashley employed classic “Combo” technique in her soothing guest bedroom by hanging the nautical painting (bridging the 2/3rds-painted wall) and leaning the art on the night stands.
Layers are for more than winter-to-spring fashion and textured hair cuts! Try hanging one piece of art and casually layering another, just slightly overlapping – the differing heights are a great way to create that “decorating triangle“.
Ready to take it a step further? Julia’s layered art on her bedroom nightstands is master’s level “Combo” – practically a collage composed of pieces of art! While her vintage cathedral engravings might not have stood out very much on their own, they provide a wonderful frontispiece to the bold collection.
Like birds of a feather, gathered art loves to flock; to pair, trio, or even party. It begins innocently enough – the finding of a second piece similar in soul and style to another – but can quickly snowball into something more…
Erin’s diminutive seascape find nestles neatly beneath its larger counterpart. I wouldn’t have thought to hang the smaller painting underneath the larger one, but it works oh so well, don’t you agree? Takeaway: similar subjects with vastly different scale and framing situations make for a wonderful mix.
This portrait series Maggie found at a market in Barcelona forms a natural grouping here in her entryway. I love the way they pull in the colors from the rest of the space – hello, gorgeous pink door! Maggie’s use of color really brings out the whimsy of these oil portraits.
Julia alternated these four vintage paint-by-numbers in her daughter’s bedroom to add movement and interest. The aqua seas and skies pair so well with the velvet headboard, while the white frames keep the look serene. Takeaway: try painting the frames of gathered art to fit your aesthetic!
The Gallery Wall:
When one thing leads to another and suddenly you have a closet full of artwork waiting for a space to live (just me?), you just might be ready for the leap to “The Gallery Wall.”
Gallery walls come in all shapes, sizes, and can contain just about anything you can loop over a hook in the wall. (Seriously – monkey hooks, you guys!)
I know putting a lot of holes in the walls can be daunting, but at the end of the day, a little spackle and paint can easily repair the holes, so what do you have to lose by trying? For the nail-hole-averse, command strips are another awesome way to hang art!
Stephanie’s new gallery wall mixes gathered art with family photos and other pieces for her signature global eclectic style. Play around with blending vintage with new, paintings with photography, and mixing different styles of framing. Takeaway: gathered art plays well with others!
Cassie’s dining room gallery wall has grown over time on a nautical theme. While each painting is a different size with a different frame, her gallery wall still feels cohesive since they share similar subjects and colors.
Again, a similar color palette unites Pam’s gallery wall above her sofa and is echoed in the pillow fabrics, giving a very classic, old-world, and high-end feel to the room.
What happens when you’ve been gathering eclectic art finds for several years and finally have the perfect moody navy backdrop? You gallery wall, and you gallery wall hard.
Gretchen’s gallery wall pieces have similar color themes in common, but the beauty is truly in the mix. This is one of my favorite kinds of gallery walls, because when you buy the things you love and display them en masse, magic happens and they just all work. Takeaway: Sometimes more is more.
This gallery wall Gwen put together for her son’s room is another of my favorites. She blended classic vintage pieces with fun and contemporary touches – all different sizes, textures, and subjects, but loosely related by a blue, red, black and white color palette and a basic storyline of adventure.
This might be the most advanced example of gallery-wall-ing yet, but don’t be intimidated! Try out different combinations and designs by laying out your artwork on the ground first, keeping an eye on the balance of colors and sizes. It’s like building a free-form puzzle where you get to decide how the finished product turns out!
Today’s post contains a lot of information, I know, but hopefully you’ve reached the end extremely inspired to hit the ground running on sourcing your next gathered piece of art, or to grab that hammer and start hanging (or leaning!) the art you already have!
I’m dying to hear what you think of this new series – and which inspiration images are your #artgoals?
UPDATE! Catch up on these related A is for Art posts:
We’ve got 25 letters of the alphabet to go, so while you’re waiting for round two, “B is for…”, would you consider pinning this post and sharing with your friends?