Illustration within interiors

Today we have a guest post from illustration aficionado Greg McIndoe, who writes design and illustration blog Headless Greg. Greg is sharing some tips for how to curate and display illustration in your home, over to you Greg! 

Every interiors addict has an element of design they feel no space can be complete without and for me that is definitely beautifully illustrated artworks. Hanging a print by your favourite artist is one of the best ways to inject personality in to the space and show off your unique style. However, to create the Pinterest-worthy art display we all dream of takes more than just picking a picture and and throwing it up on a wall. Running a creative lifestyle blog with a focus on illustration, I am constantly coming across ideas for new ways of incorporating illustration into interiors and have curated a few of my favourite tips below...

Image via The Design Files / Photo by Annette o"Brien

Image via The Design Files / Photo by Annette o"Brien

Always be on the look out

Waiting until you start to decorate a room to look for the art to hang in it is like waiting until the day of a party to shop for an outfit. You will most likely either buy something you like but don't love or will end up just using something you already have and, again, like but doesn't excite you. Turning shopping for art into a habit, or even a hobby, will make it an infinitely more enjoyable and less stressful experience when you do come to curate your new walls. And it is not as expensive a hobby as it may sound. In fact, it can often work out much more cost effective if you know the right places to visit. I have been building my collection for a few years and it includes original pencil drawings I picked up at the Glasgow School of Art degree show for just £3 and newsprint posters from the Urban Outfitters sheet zine which you can pick up in store for free.

Start with the art

Turning the classic interior design process on it’s head and starting with the wall art can often make things much simpler. Pick your focal piece of art and start from there. Finding paint colours and soft furnishings which either match or compliment your beloved illustration will be much more simple and feel less restricting than looking for art based solely on a pre-determined colour palette.

Image via Eslamoda

Image via Eslamoda

Split the space, half the challenge

A clever way to make big white walls far less daunting is to divide them up into different sections. There are a few ways you can do this. You can simply paint large blocks of your chosen colour or colours onto the wall (I would recommend using washi tape for painting clean lines and removing it whilst the paint is still wet to avoid cracking) or alternatively you can place a framed artwork inside a much larger, contrasting frame to create a real focal point. 

Mirror reality

Everything being too matchy-matchy will create an old fashioned and unfocused aesthetic but mirroring one of your illustrations in some way - such as with the palm leaves in the image above - can be a charming and effective touch. This little nod sees the room’s accessories welcoming and working with the art rather than against.

Image via Decor Envy

Image via Decor Envy

Create an art wall

One of the most popular yet tricky to master trends in art incorporation is the salon hanged art wall. There are 3 basic steps to this. Firstly, pick a theme. This doesn't have to be obvious or restricting as even a subtle theme can make it feel like a more visually cohesive collection. For example, on one wall I have a group of five framed artworks which features everything from reindeer to clowns but they are all tied together by the fact they feature triangles and geometric shapes somewhere in the design. Something else to bare in mind is having an entire wall of illustration can sometimes seem a bit cluttered so think about adding framed typographic prints, line drawings, more graphic illustrations, photographs and snippets of patterns in to the mix.

 The most daunting part of the art wall idea is actually hanging the art. The simplest way to do so is: cut pieces of paper to the size of each of the frames you want to hang, mark on each where the hook should be hung, blue-tac the pieces of paper to the wall in your chosen composition and make sure it is all straight, hammer in the hooks on top of the paper where you previously marked, tear away the paper, hang your pictures and you're done - you now have a perfect picture wall for all to enjoy, congrats!

Image via My Paradissi

Image via My Paradissi

Support independent artists

My final tip is to support independent artists when shopping for art. There is something very pleasing about holding a print the artist themselves has actually packaged (and if you are lucky, signed) and sent you, plus you are directly supporting them to make more similarly beautiful art. And you would be surprised how many artists are selling their work in some shape or form. I have a long list of illustrator's whose shops I would recommend. Here are a few based on what vibe you might be searching for: bright and happy: Ashley Le Queres, quirky and characterful: Barbara Dziadosz, calm and classy: Kate Pugsley, nature-inspired and magical: Sandra Dieckmann, delicate and detailed: Sophie Gilmore, playful and pink: Fran Meneses, and the list goes on.

What I think is generally most important, is to think creatively, be bold and remember that in interiors the final print isn't the final step in the design process. There are so, so many beautifully illustrated artworks out there waiting for you to find them and give them a home as it is not until you juxtapose them with you own style and ideas that they will reach their true show-stopping potential.

Thanks Greg! Lots of great tips and some interesting links to explore too!