Mix and match styles with a common theme to bring your walls into 2017

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 26, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Anything goes — eclectic is the name of the game when it comes to decorating your walls these days.

“If you’re wanting to update your house, the best way to do that is keeping the ... clean-line feel and then doing contemporary art, so it makes it more eclectic,” said Denyse Tzavellas, owner of Denyse & Co. in Grosse Pointe Woods. “Everything is related to scale, so if you have a really large sofa, you have a couple options: You could put one large piece, you can do two pieces — two coordinating pieces — or you could do a collage.”

The gallery wall, also called the “Paris wall” because of its popularity in Europe, calls for different styles of art to be grouped together to make a statement, said Diana Lynn-Tomak, gallery director at The Art of Custom Framing in Troy.

“It’s very eclectic right now — everything goes,” she said. “The gallery wall is very popular right now, where you’re mixing artist styles, techniques. You might do textured canvases with framed photographic prints.”

It’s important to have a common theme or thread through the gallery wall, such as the same color frames, stressed Corie Conroy, owner of First Impression Home Staging and Interior Design in Bloomfield Hills.

“I like to vary the texture and the size of the frames, maybe have a painting, or maybe have a vintage wall-hanging picture,” she said. “Vary the theme a little bit, but have a common thread among each piece.”

Monochromatic furniture and walls can help art stand out as well, said Tzavellas, and art and accessories are easier to change than furniture to alter the look of a room.

“If you do that, it doesn’t date the room as much and it’s less expensive to buy new art than new furniture,” she said.

The size and scale of a room make a lot of difference when choosing what to highlight on the walls. The smaller the room, the simpler the look should be to make it look more open. 

Alternatively, if a room has cathedral ceilings or is quite large, there are different options.

“We frame everything. We frame wedding gowns, guitars,” Lynn-Tomak said. “Sometimes you have these huge cathedral ceilings and they want a massive, strong piece in that space.”

Even in smaller spaces, three-dimensional items like baskets and fabric are adorning walls. 

But less is more, Tzavellas stressed.

“When you put too much stuff in a room, you don’t know where to look first,” she said. “Art can be used as just an accessory, or it doesn’t have to just go with the room. 

“It’s important that you enjoy looking at it on a daily basis and it’s pleasing to you.”

Lighting can even be made into accents for your wall with sconces on either side of a sofa, or battery-powered LED lighting to highlight a specific piece of artwork.

“That really brings a lot of mood into the room and makes your artwork illuminate the color, and it looks richer,” Tzavellas said.

The days of stenciling and clutter have passed, Tzavellas said, and clean lines and open-air floor plans are the way to go.

“In Michigan, we have the four seasons. We have a lot of gloomy days, so we want our house to be lighter and happier. The lighter your walls, the more your art pops,” she said. 

Clients are looking for a textured look nowadays, Lynn-Tomak said, and having prints made on canvas, metal or acrylic. It’s a less expensive option than buying an original piece of artwork, but it has a more updated look than poster prints that were popular in the past.

“People are really enjoying texture, especially in the gallery wall — that’s something that’s really great to mix in,” Lynn-Tomak said. “People are looking for something a little more unique now.”

The textured trend extends to the walls themselves too, said Conroy.

“Texture is really the big player for 2017,” she said. “You’re seeing more cork walls in rooms, muraled wallpaper. Some of (the wallpapers) look like marble, some of them have a muraled setting ... wallpaper that has nature prints on it, like leaves and things like that. A lot more texture.”

Family photos look great in frames the same size and color going up a stairwell, or in a mudroom or family room, Tzavellas said. For any photo or piece of art, she said, it’s important to hang at eye level, no matter how high the ceiling of the room. 

“It’s always good to use a professional,” she said. “You can hire by the hour and have them hang the art or show you where to place art, because that can actually make your house look like (it has) a whole new room.”

Conroy agreed.

“It’s my job as a decorator to work with a variety of different clientele based on their budget; whatever their budget is, we can always come up with something interesting for their walls,” she said.

For more information, call Denyse & Co. in Grosse Pointe Woods at (313) 886-8974,  First Impression Home Staging and Interior Design at (248) 761-3380, or The Art of Custom Framing at (248) 435-3726.