On Display

June 10, 2013

If you have a wall in your home that’s looking a little empty and you’re not a fan of wallpaper and either can’t or don’t want to re-paint, then why not create a display wall.

It’s perfect way to display photos, artworks and even plants.


(market stall at the Surry Hills Markets in Sydney)

To get you started, there’s some preparation that should happen prior showing off your finalised display….

Firstly, think about having a theme – deciding upon a theme will help to create a harmonious and cohesive display. When I say theme, I don’t mean that all images must contain the same subject matter or should all originate from the same source or timeframe.

Your theme might simply be linked by a colour scheme or a favourite holiday destination.

Next, determine what you want to display – do you want only photos on display or a mix of photos and artworks? Mixing it up a little bit can create a more dynamic display (see below).


(image via Simon Watson/Architectural Digest)

Then, select your frames – frames of varying sizes work best, as it makes the display more visually dynamic. Also frames of different colours and/textures work well too!

Not sure where to find frames? Ikea have a fantastic range of frames at very reasonable prices, in a variety of colours and styles – so they’re a good starting point. If you prefer you can always visit a professional picture framer who will mount, back and frame your images to your exact specifications. It costs a little more, but the customised and professional look that it gives is definitely worth it (see example below).


(image via Roseland Greene)

After that, finalise your layout – arranging your display on the floor first is a good place to start. That way you can move things around, add and subtract until you have your display looking exactly as you want it.

Also, it’s a great idea to have a focal point. Creating a focal point will give you a more visually balanced display. There are a number of ways that you can achieve this, for example having one of your images larger than the others will instantly make that picture the focal point of your display. Alternatively, your focal point could be an image that’s a different colour or texture to the other pictures in your display, which will make it stand-out (in the example below the cameo becomes the focal point as it not only is a different colour and texture to the remaining items, but it’s also the only sculptural element present in this display).


(image via Domino Magazine)

Finally, once you’re happy that your display looks as you want it to, you’re ready to fix your images to the wall. A ruler and/or spirit level are a good idea to help with this and always make sure that you use hooks that are capable of handling the weight of the picture that they’re holding (I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way myself :)).

If you can’t nail hooks into the wall, and need to use removable hooks then always make sure you follow the application instructions thoroughly, you don’t want your hard work to come crashing down after a few hours have passed.

Most importantly, the display should be meaningful and aesthetically pleasing to you. The really great thing about these types of displays is that (unlike paint and wallpaper) you can easily change them when you want to.


(image taken at Pieno – cafe in Surry Hills, Sydney)



2 Responses to “On Display”

  1. Elaine Roberts said

    Hope all your student will get to see this Kim.
    Excellent information and easy to read.

  2. Thanks Elaine – that’s really lovely feedback. I’m happy to share this post with my students.

    Thanks again!

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