Liven up walls with paintings and rugs


Sort It Finishing touchesSo many clients come to me looking for advice on how to finish off their newly completed refurbishment or extension. This is an area where people get completely stumped. But it doesn’t have to be complicated – a picture on a wall or a wow-factor rug can transform a room.

I know a lot of people feel that these are non-essential and potentially costly additions to their scheme, especially in the case of art but this is not necessarily the case. I have a client who asks for vouchers from galleries for presents and accumulates these until they have enough to put towards something they love.

Nothing adds the finishing touches to a room like hanging art on the walls. Whether it’s a collection of family photos or a statement piece of art, dressing walls is so important.

Prints are another way of gaining access to an established artist at affordable prices. A print is an artistic impression produced from a block, plate, stone or screen on which the artist has worked.

This makes it possible to produce a number of identical images, each one an original work by the artist. After the total number of prints in the edition has been “pulled”, the blocks, plates, stones or screens are defaced or recycled so that no further impressions may be taken. Prints start at around €500, not bad for an original artwork.

When hanging a collection, be it photos or pictures, don’t be afraid to mix and match. For example, group a collection of family photos in colour and black and white but make sure the frame colour is the same, or mix your frames but make sure that all the photos are either colour or black and white.

Your chosen painting can also provide the starting point for your colour scheme. You might have guessed by now but I’m a huge fan of colour and always try to convince people to be brave when it comes to using it in their homes. Taking inspiration from your favourite picture is a wonderful way to achieve a cohesive look. And don’t be afraid to use dark colours, they create a gallery-like backdrop for a feature painting.

And think about your lighting. Picture lights make a real difference if you can plan them into your room. If not, think about using directional spot lights – these have a swivel feature which allow you to angle the light as desired.

You don’t have to restrict the painting to your walls. Look for any other areas which could be brought to life with a richer paint colour. We recently used strong colours in an open-plan kitchen-dining-living area to create different zones. By highlighting key walls and surfaces such as one side of the breakfast bar, each distinct area was defined.

Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant