When I lived in a house with gobs of closet space, I kept every old picture and frame that had hung in my house at one time or another. I reused some with different prints, and eventually most got knicked up over time.
When we downsized a few years ago, off they all went to Goodwill.
My walls now (fewer) are far from bare, but every time I see an empty-frame collage I wish I’d found a way to keep my stock on hand. If you’re lucky enough to reap the benefits of my loss at a thrift store near you, here are some ideas to help make your arrangement more effective.
Rearrange and reconfigure…
Why it works: At least some of these frames have retained their original finish, but what variation there is reflects the color scheme of the room. Most are gold, a few are gray and blend into the walls, while just one is teal, like the bedside lamp. What we can see of the room suggests a subdued, elegant style, which the collage supports. The gold pops, but the gray and teal unify.
Wow factor: How the frames overlap–a true collage!
Why it works: Again, a color scheme is used, even though most of the elements are more vibrant than the previous example. The orange shade coordinates with the wall color in the foreground and pulls you forward, while creams, yellows and greenish-blues relate to the wallpaper backdrop. There is also variety of shape, size and texture.
Wow factor: There’s a lot going on here, but the one open frame with exposed brick showing through creates a place for the viewer’s eye to rest. Psychologically, it’s a girly-girl cracking a whip to bring the rowdy boys into line.
Source: See/read more about this home on Apartment Therapy.
Out of many, one…
Why it works: What we’re seeing in these two photos (if you can take your eyes off that gorgeous custom coral cabinet) are opposite ends of the same arrangement of frames on a curved wall. The frames are obviously not the focal point, so it makes sense that all are painted white and assume more of a textural presence. The overall horizontal orientation leads you toward that gorgeous cabinet, where you can pause to hang up your coat and sit in that cute chair to take off your boots in bad weather before you move into the main part of the house.
Why it works: Again, different shapes, sizes and styles of frame are unified with a spray coat of white paint, which pops again the cocoa-colored walls and echoes the bedding. I also like that only two of the nine frames are not rectangles, but one of those IS nested within a rectangular frame. This emphasizes the importance of the oval frames, which repeat the curves of the headboard.
Why it works: The arrangements both above and below follow the dramatic curve of the spectacular stairway. Not everything is the same color, but white, gold and silver predominate. This variation works because of the expanse of the display and the additional contrast of the dark railings against the light walls. I also like the mix of elements–frames, as well as mirrors, sconces, matted prints, and typography.
Wow factor: I love that the squares are alternately turned into diamonds. It creates a momentum that carries your eye upward (echoed in the ampersand). I also think the smaller collage above the bench acts as an exclamation point to the larger one and ties the two areas together. Altogether, a perfectly punctuated paragraph, says the former-English teacher.
Why it works: As discussed earlier, the colors of the collage elements repeat the room’s color scheme. The mix is unified by the small A on the left inside a frame, a large A on the right on its own, and another A on the small bed pillow. The entire collage is connected by more of those sweet butterflies, and here, they swoop and flutter from one end to the other! (Did I just make a poem? Ha!)
Wow factor: I love the “twinkle” decal with a butterfly dotting the eye. This is an exceptionally sweet and sophisticated room for a young girl.
Source: Hyde & Chic Boutique, an Etsy Shop that sells frame sets for wall arranging.
Why it works: We often see art and mirrors leaned instead of hung, so why not open frames? Indeed. The larger, slighter black frame repeats the fireplace opening, while the smaller white frame it overlaps repeats the fireplace itself. Each frames other three-dimensional elements to create a charming vignette. The vase on the left repeats the wall color, while the smaller vases on the right repeat the white of their companions. Overall, a lesson in restraint.