Melanie Carver, of Mid-City Lumber, tells you how you can design your room around a favorite piece of art.
Local Artist: Angela Letterman Title/Description: Dreaming of Ireland, oil on canvas Melanie chose this painting from Capital Arts because it reminded her of the ocean waves, the warmth of the beach, and vacationing with her family. With these wonderful memories in mind, she thought of how she could bring a little bit of that happy vacation feeling into a home.
Melanie Carver

When you’re renovating a room or building a home, a piece of art can become the inspiration for your room’s design. When designing a room entirely around art, you want the art to be the focal point that draws your eyes in. Make it the center of attention. You can use a larger piece of art or multiple small pieces grouped together.

Illustration of a corner with arrows pointing to artwork.

Location Is Key

Selecting which wall to put your art on is key. With this particular piece of art being medium size, it would fit well over a mantel or a piece of furniture in the room. In most cases, you’ll want it displayed directly across from you when you enter the room depending on the entrance that most guests will go through. However, if there are large windows or a fireplace in the room, it can take up a significant amount of space on your wall. If your ceilings are tall enough and your mantel is low enough, a fireplace can be a great place to hang your artwork.
You also want to consider the size of your wall. Scale is very important in design, and all pieces of your room, from your art to your furniture, need to be in proportion. If you put a small piece of art on a large wall, it would seem empty. The opposite holds, too — putting a large piece of art on a small wall will make it seem crowded.

Line illustration of a roll of painter's tape

When in Doubt, Tape It Out

Something I tell all of my clients, and something I do anytime I’m redecorating, is to get some blue painter’s tape and tape the outline of where the art, furniture, or any pictures will go. This helps give you a better visual of what the space is going to look like and saves you a lot of headache of having to take something down, patch holes, and then rehang it.

Line illustration of color swatch strips in a fan.

Color Coordinating

Considering the color of your room will also illuminate the best way to design around your art. There can be many colors in a room from wall paint, furniture, throw pillows, blankets, and other decorative accents. Try asking your local paint store if you can borrow a paint deck and take it home with you. Never select a color at the store without taking swatches, or even a small sample, home with you. Every color is going to look different in the lighting of your room. Take the paint deck into the room you’re going to have the art in and try to find a color swatch that matches the colors that you want to pull from the painting. Having a paint deck will help you pick the exact shade that matches your art best.
Choosing a few colors from the artwork itself and incorporating them into the room will help tie it all together. I personally love sticking with more neutral-colored walls and furniture and then adding pops of color in the room with your artwork, pillows, and decorative objects. Since the gray tones in the clouds of this painting give me a calm feeling, I would choose a light gray for the wall color and then match the different shades of blue within the waves for my accent colors. Some light blue and navy accents throughout the room will also really help achieve that coastal look without taking attention away from the painting!

“I personally love sticking with more neutral-colored walls and furniture and then adding pops of color in the room with your artwork, pillows, and decorative objects.”

Melanie Carver

Light Hardwood floors:

My whole idea for this living space is bright and open! I would have the light hardwoods installed throughout the entire main living area. This shade of hardwood helps keep the room looking fresh, much like the beach. Having the same flooring
installed throughout will also help this space seem bigger and make each area look like it flows together.

White Cabinets:

Having white cabinets can really brighten up a kitchen. If you also include a light gray island, it will tie in the wall color and give your kitchen a more custom look.

Blue scalloped tile:

I like this tile for a fun kitchen backsplash. It reminds me of small waves, and blue is a perfect way to add a pop of color in your kitchen without being too bold. It also ties in nicely with the accent colors from the living room. Changing out paint colors and pillows is much easier than changing your backsplash, but this color can be really versatile!

SW 7015 Repose gray:

This is great gray because it’s a very neutral color. It’s not too blue, and it also doesn’t pull a lot of brown. Using a color like Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray will give you some color while still keeping things light. It will also give you some contrast against white trim.

White wall with a dark gray paint swatch, a blue-gray paint swatch, and a hand holding a paint brush painting a light gray swatch on the wall, too.

“Never select a color at the store without taking swatches, or even a small sample, home with you.”

Melanie Carver

Melanie Carver is an interior designer at Mid-City Lumber and has always had a love for design. While growing up, she spent many weekends tagging along with her dad, a contractor, as he remodeled homes and built pieces of custom furniture. Since she began her career in interior design, she has been helping her customers design their dream homes. 


An illustrated picture frame enclosing the words "Make It Yours"

To purchase the piece of artwork show above, or view other pieces for sale from local artists, call Capital Arts at 573-635-8355 or find them on Facebook @CapitalArtsJCMO.