January 12th, 2016

Decorating Tips Stolen From Museums

Berthe Morisot With a Bouquet of Violets (1872) by Edouard Manet at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.


The truth is, decorating can be overwhelming. Luckily, inspiration is everywhere and you can steal borrow ideas from places that have meaning to you. What better place to be inspired than in one of the world’s most beautiful places—an art museum! You might be wondering how you can use the same tricks a grand exhibit uses in your home but you absolutely can.

Here are 4 simple tips you can bring home from your next museum trip to create your own work of art.

1. Don’t be afraid of rich wall color.

While many museums and galleries use large expanses of white walls, you will also find beautifully rich and bold colors in certain displays. Take note—those shades are being selected by brilliant artistic minds, so use their love of color to your advantage. Try a deep blue like Approaching Storm, a dark forest green like Hemlock Green or go very bold with full-on black like Deep Onyx. Even the most inexpensive artwork will pop against these gorgeous hues.

2. Light it up!

This tip is one of the most often neglected but crucial decorating tips. You simply cannot get a beautifully decorated space without the right light. Ideally every room has great natural light, general purpose light (think overhead), task (like a desk lamp) and accent lighting (spotlights that highlight the walls or other points of interest). In reality, this is rarely the case but small touches like a floor lamp or a picture light can make a big impact and cost very little.

3. Clutter is your enemy.

While you may not have the square footage of a grand museum, you can still create a gallery feel in even the smallest space. The best way you can create an open feeling is to have clean, blank space to balance your furniture and artwork. That means different things in different homes, but generally speaking you want to have empty space on tables and shelves to give the brain direction to focus on the important pieces in the room. This can be hard but carry on—its worth it to have a calm space for you to enjoy.

4. Hang it right.

No matter what kind of artwork you have in your home, hanging it at the right level is key to giving a polished look. The natural inclination is to hang artwork too high when it should be at about eye level. And don’t forget to think about scale! A tiny little photo won’t look right on a giant wall. Instead, fill as much of the wall as possible by grouping large and small pieces in gallery-style arrangements that will read as one large piece but allow you to incorporate lots of artwork. (You are probably thinking this tip contradicts tip #3 about clutter but it does not—even the most packed gallery wall still looks calm and organized in a room free of clutter.)

That’s it! Simple tips that can sometimes push the boundary of what feels right but I promise the results will be outstanding.


This post is sponsored by Glidden® paint, a PPG brand. All thoughts, opinions and paintbrushes are my own.