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To the Window, To the Wall

Far too many times I walk into a home and immediately my eyes divert to a piece of artwork incorrectly hung on a wall that should be, in my humble opinion of course, designated for another wall. I have seen teeny, tiny little frames trying to fill up a wall so wide, it makes the wall look too chaotic and not in sync with the other frames throughout the home. The other day I walked into a prospective client's home to look at the guest bedroom. Without a thought, I saw that there was a piece of artwork, probably 11x14, on a wall that was designated for an overly sized headboard - at that moment, I looked at my client and said "see, this is a nice piece of artwork, but for the wall over there" as I pointed to the small wall space in between the two big windows. My client looked at me and said, "can I record you, because I don't think people know this?" I was smiling while shaking my head because it was a simple piece of advice but then it got me thinking... and here we are.

Knowing how to properly utilize a wall space is just as important as knowing how to fill up the floors in your home. I almost always buy two matching pieces of artwork, bring it home and display them on the wall I'm thinking and they fair well either side by side, one on top of the either or staggered.

For example:

Noticed the two picture frames filling up the width?

Here I have two 16x20 gold picture frames filling up a relatively narrow wall in my master bedroom. Additionally, notice how I added one mirror over this ottoman, because if I tried for two, it would sit too closely to the light switch and thermometer. However, there is just enough space on both sides of the mirror, making the wall appear filled but not crowded. That's because, in the design world, there's such a thing as negative and positive space. No I'm not talking algebra, but you may need to do a little bit of math to calculate how to best use a wall.

Ivyleaf Tips & Tricks:

A negative space pervades all aspect of design and decor like architecture and art and au contraire, a positive space is one filled with those aspects. There are psychological and functional reasons why it's important to know how to use these spaces, so I'll spare you the details and table it for another post. But for now, negative space is just as important to be in your home decor mix as positive space, because of the way our brains process a room as a whole first. In lament terms, we are able to categorize the room by its function and truly hone in on its aesthetic or the individual decor elements themselves and we tend to react more positively to rooms that feature plenty of negative space because they’re easier for our brains to identify.

Here's an example:

Do you notice how on the left side of the photo, left of the greenery white bins, right above the light switch, there's a small wall space with nothing on it? That would be considered a negative space, but because, there's so much positive space around it, there isn't a need to fill up the smaller wall. Each wall plays a big role in how our brains process interior decor as a whole and it's essential to understand those roles so that you can have the design space that makes your home feel filled but not congested.

Moreover, in this picture, there is literally a pair to each product. I like buying in twos because I'd rather buy it and not need it (and return it) than need it and not have it. Do you see how the space is filled up but not in a clutter type of way?

Here's another example:

I could've gotten away with just adding one of these on the wall in between both guest bedrooms, however, I decided to get both and if the space would've felt too cluttered, I would've easily returned one. Simple, right?

Here's a before and after because I'm a visual person and I want to show you how using itty bitty frames on a big wall does a disservice to the wall itself.



Home Office Install

Are you peeping the reoccurring theme here? Notice how I have four floating shelves, each positioned about 5 inches above the bottom part of the gold geometric picture frames and about 5 inches over so that there's symmetry in my client's background for when she does her masterclasses. It is important to note that the shelves are not overly filled, I maintained a color pattern that does not distract the eye, and I utilized the wall space well enough to leave enough negative space.

Make no mistake, though, that my message isn't to convince you to buy in pairs. It's more about knowing how to fill up a wall and which wall should be designated for which artwork, floating shelf or bookcase or all.

Here's my last example:

In the living room install above, there was this little small wall behind the couch, that quite frankly, I had no idea what to do with it. I know that I needed to fill it up some way because it serves as one of the focal points in the living room, but how? I thought one long piece of artwork would fill up the space nicely, but it would have to be really narrow and it would be a challenge trying to find a piece of artwork that flows with the decor theme I've created that meets the length and width requirements while staying in budget. So many factors to consider, right? So here, I found these geometric pictures, developed them in 12x16 photos and found these sleek, black picture frames that compliments the black finishing on the end table and the black legs on the accent bucket chairs to fill up the wall behind the couch.

Homework time
  1. Go explore your home or interior space and determine if an artwork, wall shelf or picture frame you already have up can be used on a different wall.

  2. Take the picture frame off the original wall and place it on another wall you're considering and see if the wall space on both sides of the frame is about equal.

  3. If so, that's the perfect wall space for it.

  4. If not, you may need to get a larger piece of artwork to compliment the wall. Even if you staggered a home decor piece a little more to the right and the other one a little more to the left, you should be able to fill up the wall space with negative space around it.

Leave a comment if you like this post, want to know more about negative/positive space or if you have a suggestion for a topic I could write about for next week. I am always eager to know if my blogs are helping anyone out there or if there's a need for something else.

If you like this blog, like it with a thumbs up and if you're still unsure what to do with your wall space, email me at or visit my website and set up a consultation at

-Jeannelly Jay

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