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by guest author Alison Thompson of OldSpace NewSpace in Dallas, TX

Our walls are often the last thing we think about when filling a room, but they can have a huge impact on a space. Since we're in the business of filling walls, we asked Alison Thompson of OldSpace NewSpace - currently completing her Marie Kondo training - to walk us through some practical advice on how to let your walls spark joy and a few tips for hanging wall art.



Putting art around your house - or even in just one room - can be a daunting project! It’s easy to feel like you don’t know the “right” way to choose art, or frame it, or arrange it, or hang it. In this post we’ll give you an encouraging walk through several wall art scenarios.

We always encourage clients to treat their walls as an opportunity to tell their story through a personal collection of images, memorabilia, or other treasured items. By choosing to display items that spark joy, you can create a meaningful atmosphere curated just for you.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors



First, you might want to take stock of all the wall art you own, including photos, prints, or ephemera that hasn’t been on your walls before. Divide it into smaller groupings or single pieces based on any criteria that feels important to you, like color, material, or frame type.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors



If you love making statements, you can display several artworks together to create a gallery wall. The beauty of a gallery wall is that it unifies similar and dissimilar items and creates a large focal point without necessarily having larger pieces. Even objects like textiles or musical instruments could be incorporated into a gallery wall!

Photo courtesy of Beth Andrews

Photo courtesy of Beth Andrews

Consider having keepsakes and heirlooms (like these pictures from the owner’s childhood home) professionally framed so that they will last for generations.

With so much to consider, it can really help to measure your target wall space and practice arranging items on the floor with your measuring tape laid down for reference. Snap pictures of each layout that might work, and have fun experimenting! If you don’t feel confident about an asymmetrical gallery, go for a grid. It’s classic and stable, creating a visual anchor for the room. 

Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace

Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace



Sometimes putting nails in the wall can feel like too big of a commitment, and that’s fine! Try using a bookshelf as a flexible platform to enliven your space. A uniquely designed bookshelf can say a lot about your style, and you can change up the contents as often as you like. The 3D nature of shelving also creates an opportunity to layer pictures and objects, which is hard to achieve otherwise, like this floating cube shelf in the home of Cynthia Rojas.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors
Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace
Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace

 This all-black built-in shelf and fireplace make a big statement and also provide a neutral background for colorful books, artworks, and artifacts.



Bookshelves are great for holding bigger items, but if you love small treasures, try using specialty display cases or unconventional solutions to bring your collection together. Laying it all on a shelf can really collect dust, but storing it away in a box is no fun, either! 

Photo courtesy of Corrie Thompson, @corrie_thompson

Placing these found objects in an old printer’s drawer visually unifies them and keeps them from living in storage. 

Photo courtesy of Claire Hanlon
Photo courtesy of Claire Hanlon

Incorporating these ridiculously tiny embroidered pillows and the ceramic duck head above light switches reveals a sense of humor, and presents them as sculptural objects without the nuisance of clutter.



If you have a few posters that you love, it’s worthwhile to buy simple frames for them. Framing a piece shows that it is cared for, protected (this applies to framed objects and ephemera, really). It draws attention to the piece while adding a clean edge and texture to the room. Plus, frames are simple to hang and they keep the paper from getting damaged if you ever need to move it.

Posters and graphic prints can quickly help a space feel contemporary while also telling the story of events you’ve attended and designers you admire.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors
Photo courtesy of Cynthia Rojas @mintysynthinteriors



And finally, let’s talk about collecting fine art. If you want original art on your walls, reach out to local artists through open studio nights or even Instagram. Many artists have small works available for affordable prices, and they love knowing their art will be loved in your home.

This home features art by artists whom the owners know personally. Clean simple framing keeps the focus on the paintings, and is consistent with the finishes of their home.

Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace

Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace

Photo courtesy of Alison Thompson, @oldspacenewspace

Walls are a super accessible space for decorating because there’s no limit to what you can display! Whether you’re setting up a gallery wall, using shelf arrangements to show off your style, displaying quirky treasures, or beginning an original art or print collection, your walls are a perfect place to dig into your identity and celebrate the things you value.



Alison Thompson is the owner of OldSpace NewSpace out of Dallas, Tx. She attended the first KonMari Method training in 2016 and is completing her certification to be a KonMari Consultant. She enjoys passing on her Interior Design knowledge and experience to the students at El Centro College where she serves as Adjunct Faculty. Found out more about her work on her website or instagram.

Cynthia Rojos is an interior designer and lifestyle blogger based out of Dallas. She contributed images from her recent post that was also featured on West Elm's instagram. Find out more about her work on her website and instagram.

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