February 28, 2015
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Guest Blogger Vanessa Francis

What to do with blank walls?

I find that clients are contacting me more often to put the finishing touches on a room. They have bought the furniture pieces and that’s about it. Oftentimes when I show up for the design consult, the walls are bare and clients are wondering why their home doesn’t feel warm and inviting. I always say that a room without art (photographs, paintings, even framed wallpaper) is a room without soul. And by art, I am not talking about going to a retailer and buying mass produced art. Why take the easy route when there are so many other options?

An artist friend and I painted two large watercolours for this living room. It was a simple and inexpensive solution to the age old question of “What to do above the sofa?”

Framing wallpaper creates visual interest and can reinforce the colour scheme in a space. In this dining room, we framed three panels of this gorgeous branch wallpaper from Schumacher.


Photo by Leah Kirin: http://forevermoments.ca/

When I included these sepia toned photographs in the initial design concept for a bathroom renovation, the client was sold. The photographs add to the bathroom’s vintage charm.

Photo by K West Images: http://www.kwestimages.com/

In my daughter’s playroom, the art wall is a reflection of her interests and loves. It can be easily changed as she gets older. Her art work, copies of the covers of her favorite books and original art all have pride of place in this colorful, random grouping.

My tried and true, yet inexpensive, solution to add charm and make a statement is to frame black and white photographs and hang them in a grid. Photos that evoke special memories and recall idyllic vacations add meaning and a personal touch.

Photo by Leah Kirin

The bold and vibrant art adds a punch of color in this otherwise neutral space. My client worked with the artist to ensure the perfect shade of green was incorporated into the piece. If you find an artist whose work you admire, contact them to see if you can commission a painting. It may not break the budget and you will end up with a piece that really speaks to you!

Vanessa Francis is an interior designer based in Milton, Ontario. The designer describes her style as refined simplicity—timeless, classic and understated. Francis is also the visionary behind the popular blog site "decor happy: ideas + inspiration to live well in your home."

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