Decorating with Portraits and How Does She?

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Hello Everyone! I am Caley from HowDoesShe.com – a site dedicated to helping us become the world-class women we want to be!

We are excited to be participating in Decorating with Portraits! With a background in Interior Design, I’m excited to share some of my knowledge about wall collages today! There are certain guidelines that you can follow to keep your wall collages interesting, yet balanced and complete.

Using the elements and principles of design, I hope these tips can help you as you create new wall designs in your home!

Here we go!

First, you will measure the space and decide the shape you want the arrangement to be: square, rectangular, circular, or abstract. For this arrangement I choose rectangular to fill the space above the sofa:

I then selected the pieces I wanted to put together and put them on the floor.

{This is a great way to get started because you can visualize it, play with it, take a picture of it, and then put it on your wall without multiple nail holes.}

A. Lining up edges of the art pieces creates an invisible border to the design as well as a sense of order and balance.

B. The shelf below adds visible weight to the left side balancing out the larger piece of art on the right.

C. Decorating in odd numbers is move visibly pleasing to the eye than even numbers. {Example: three main pieces, three items on the shelf}.

D. Coordinating the same colors throughout the design creates a sense of harmony and emphasis.

This is one of my favorite collages I’ve put together because each of the items have a special story that goes with them. That is one thing great about designing your own home! Everything has a story…especially family photos and memories…

For this arrangement I decided to go a little more abstract.

I needed to fill the space above a table, so the first thing I did was measure the table and placed the measuring tape on the floor. This gave me the exact space I wanted to fill.

A. Keeping your arrangement centralized over a table or couch creates a vignette or a relationship with the items around it and ties everything together.

B. Keeping the items between 2” – 4” apart allows the entire design to look cohesive and keeps items from looking like they are floating away.

C. Don’t be afraid to mix frame types, even if they’re different metals or colors. As long as they are repeated a couple of times in the arrangement, it will look great!

D. Make sure there are multiple shapes in the arrangement. This will look better as well as add more visual interest. {Example: the frames are rectangular, but the floral arrangement has a triangular base and the flowers are round. There are also oval and round elements on the table below.}

E. A tip to doing abstract arrangements: use the step-down method: have one side higher than the other and step each element down. Notice how the left side is higher and then it steps down to the floral and then down again…it’s the design principle called repetition. {This is a great look over a staircase as it repeats the shape of the stairs.}

Wall collages that include family photos, 3 dimensional objects like shelves or wall pockets, and different shapes make the whole look complete and interesting to the eye.

Hope these tips helped! Let me know if you have any other decorating questions! I’d love to help!


{Thank you, Caley!  It is great to learn more about the importance of layering heights to be more asthetically pleasing to the eye.  Thank you for taking the time to explain all of that!  At first I thought your wall was tiled, then realized you spread it out on the floor–made much more sense!  Join Caley and a handful of her associated over at How Does She?  Great ideas!}