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10 Ways to Make Art a Talking Point in Your Dining Area

Try these foolproof ideas for flaunting your favourite pieces and dazzling your guests with art while they dine

Houzz contributor and head curator at Rise Art which showcases, rents and sells great… More

Perhaps one of the most sophisticated and sociable spaces in the home, the dining area is where you gather to eat and chat, making it the perfect backdrop for your art and allowing you to exhibit your favourite works – and showcase your style – to family and friends. Discover these 10 ways to enliven your dining area with art, and spark a dinner-party discussion or two.

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Feature a masterpiece
The dining area is an excellent place to feature one of your favourite standout works to really catch the eye. This sculptural statement artwork by Charlotte Jonerheim comprises wax-coated book pages and thread, perfectly echoing the organic, natural theme of the room.

Pared-back, stripped wooden furnishings bring a warmth to the space that’s accentuated by the artwork’s neutral tones, yet pleasantly offset by the vivid green of the plants.

If you want a statement work in a tone that matches the colour scheme of your dining space, consider having something in an unusual structure or shape, which will add an extra dimension and ensure that the piece isn’t lost to the eye.

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Style up a salon wall
A salon-style hang like this one immediately brings intrigue to your space, with the added benefit of letting you flaunt lots of your favourite pieces.

A salon wall lends itself to an eclectic feel, but if you match the colour palette and frame materials with the general aesthetic of your space, you’ll create an edited look that won’t detract from the room’s central feature – the dining table.

Here, the black and wooden picture frames echo the two main colours of the room to create a sense of cohesion.

Whether your wall space is tall or wide, a salon hang lets you feature conventionally sized works without having to commission an artist, or feature one large-scale piece to fill the wall.

Always measure your space and organise your composition before you start to hang it up. Take frame sizes into account, and consider how much space you want between each piece. This closely edited arrangement works well within the cosy corner of this dining room, while a larger space might call for more of a gap between pieces.

Want to create the perfect gallery wall? See these expert tips for grouping artworks

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Prop it up
Modern meets traditional in this open-plan kitchen and dining room. These beautiful Renaissance-style paintings adorned in elegant, ornate frames are hung in an asymmetric composition. While dramatic and dark in style, these works don’t overpower the space, instead they offset its clean minimalism and bring character to the white feature wall. This is a bold look, further accentuated by the casual propping of petite pieces on the floor, which helps to draw the eye over the full length of the wall.

Bear in mind that paintings with large frames may be too heavy for a wall that isn’t load bearing. Here, a picture rail is used to support the weight of the artworks, while the spot lighting brings out the highlights in each piece and gives the room a professional gallery feel.

Need inspiration for your dining space? Check out these eclectic looks

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Create contrast through shape
A strict geometric arrangement creates a clean, organised look, and is a great way to feature a series of works from a favourite artist or some prized pieces from your collection. Here, the identical white frames create cohesion, while the spacious window mounts help to emphasise the pieces and fill the entire space of the wall.

This clean, structured edit perfectly contrasts with the organic nature of the dining table, while the fluid, painterly style of the individual artworks creates a dialogue with the table’s alternative, natural shape.

Monochrome photographic works or a series of geometrics look especially strong in this format, as both genres of art tend to be produced in standardised sizes.

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Keep it fresh
Creating a ‘living’ art wall allows you to change and rotate your artworks as and when you please. Shelving units or mantelpieces offer the perfect opportunity for this style of hang, or install some specialist slimline picture shelves.

Whether you fill the entire space with artworks, or mix it up with ornaments, you’ll never be tied down to a single composition. Don’t be tempted to stick to symmetry, or to use just one type of frame or size of work – this is your space to fill and it should reflect your personality. Whether it’s old family photographs, vintage posters, painted portraits or works on paper, showcase the best of your collection and bring some character to your dining area.

When curating your arrangement, stand back frequently for a fresh look and always get a second opinion. Even with different sizes of frames and works, you can still achieve a clean look and bring attention to your collection by maintaining sufficient space between each piece on your shelf.

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Bring the outside in
A panoramic piece that spans the length of your dining table will complement this key feature. Contemporary cityscapes make a great addition to any urban loft or apartment by echoing the outside. The accessories in this room pick out and accentuate the colours in the artwork, while the white frame matches the chairs, pulling the whole look together.

This piece is by Rebecca King, and her colourful works are particularly suited to contemporary spaces. For a more traditional feel, opt for images of classical landscapes. When choosing your piece, think about the atmosphere you’re looking to create.

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Choose a tondo
Circular works are easy to fall in love with as they add instant impact. Disregarding the traditional conventions of portrait or landscape, this style takes centre stage, bringing a bespoke charm and plenty of visual energy to a room.

Here, the central circular artwork echoes the spherical lighting, creating a dialogue as the features complement and accentuate one other. So take into account the lighting over your dining table when opting for a circular work. Also consider the height you hang your piece and make full use of the space. For standard-sized rooms, adhere to the gallery rule of hanging at around 147cm above ground, or push the boundaries for rooms with high or low ceilings.

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Maintain balance with symmetry
It can be tempting to follow the horizontal length of your dining table and hang a landscape artwork, but portrait pieces can be just as impactful, drawing attention to the symmetry of the room. This is a great chance to feature a triptych or diptych of works from your favourite artist, or a split panel piece for dramatic effect.

Match your frames for a seamless feel and make sure you measure your wall, maintaining equal space between and around your pieces for a balanced look. Don’t be tempted to fill the entire space, instead ensure your artworks sit close enough together so they don’t float aimlessly on the wall.

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Get a layered look
Try drawing the eye up by hanging works above eye level. This space combines form and function, with small postcards and photographs to draw the eye at mid level, and dramatic figurative artworks to create a dialogue above, all reflecting the personality of the homeowner.

The layers of different-sized artworks with space between ensures that our attention is evenly distributed. These canvases are also frameless, which brings a creative feel to the room.

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Add a vignette
Whatever the size of your space, there’s always an alcove or corner large enough to feature an artwork or two. Here, the neglected gap between the door frame and window has been cleverly filled with an elongated selection of photographic works. The vertical area around a doorway lends itself well to a long panel artwork or a collection of smaller pieces, drawing attention to what might otherwise be an overlooked space.

Don’t be tempted to hang your highest work in line with the door frame, as this could demote the installation from standalone feature to formal structure. Also be aware of hanging artworks framed in glass next to a window, as glare might detract from the pieces depending on where the natural light comes in.

What sort of art would you put in your dream dining space? Let us know in the Comments below.
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