Friday 21 October 2016

Hung up - how to build up your own art collection

Put personality into your home by building an art collection - and hanging it properly

Emily Westbrooks

Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30

Fat cap prints by Eoin Holland and James Earley, €150 each available at
Fat cap prints by Eoin Holland and James Earley, €150 each available at
Jasper Conran checkered frame, €22 from Debenhams
Ashley Thomas flower mirror, €40 at Debenhams
Dublin photograph, €15 at
€15 at Jando Designs on
Greeting card, €2 at
Lola Donoghue

Art can be intimidating, which is precisely why half of us end up with the exact same pre-packaged print from a chain store hanging on our first apartment walls. But a grown-up gallery needs to be neither complicated nor overly expensive - at least to start - and making it slip seamlessly into your decor takes just a few tricks.

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Follow our lead and try a little texture here, something reflective there, mix in high-quality photographs and a limited-edition print. If you spend a little bit to make sure that your pictures are mounted and framed to perfection then even a birthday card could look worthy of a gallery.

1 Like It, Love It

The key to choosing the art you hang on your walls is that you should love each piece. They should each speak to you every time you see them. For instance, we love the colour combinations in these prints at the Dean Hotel.

Buy it: Fat cap prints by Eoin Holland and James Earley, €150 each available at

2 Photo Friendly

Photographs are a super place to start your art collection, because they can add gravitas to any wall without putting stress on your bank account. Have a browse around or local shops for up-and-coming artists, or just print out your own.

Buy it: Dublin photograph, €15, esthermoline

3 Proper Prints

If your bank account isn't ready for purchasing original artwork quite yet, don't fret. Prints offer an affordable option for art that isn't mass-produced but doesn't come with a scary pricetag. Find funky Irish designs at and And we love these prints from Jando Designs, featuring graphic type over classic Dublin icons.

Buy it: €15, Jando Designs,

4 Mirror Mirror

If you have a large space to fill and a selection of smaller pieces, build a gallery wall. Start with a few main pieces and fill in with little items, like mirrors or framed trinkets. These keep the artwork from competing and break up the space visually. For little trinkets, think about souvenirs you picked up on travels abroad, like ticket stubs or keys. Frame three-dimensional objects in shadow box frames.

Buy it: Ashley Thomas flower mirror, €40, Debenhams

5 Mounts and Frames

Once you have art you love, you have two big choices that make more impact than the pictures themselves: mounts and frames. A budget-friendly trick? Choose an inexpensive pre-built frame, and have the mount professionally cut to fit the artwork. For small prints or even trinkets, try a simple frame like this one from Debenhams, and head to your local framemaker to have your picture mounted.

Buy it: Jasper Conran checkered frame, €22, Debenhams

6 Card Trick

Think your artwork has to be expensive? Think again. A sneaky trick for adding art to your walls is to frame pretty greeting cards and postcards. Greeting cards that don't have an overt birthday message or occasion theme can work well year-round on your walls. Choose a simple, inexpensive frame and have a picture mount cut to fit. Think about mixing up the sizes - using a larger frame, even for a small card, allows you to have a wide mount, which will make it look like a more expensive piece. Keep your eyes open in stationery shops for cute card options.

Buy it: Greeting card, €2,

Works of art


After graduating from the Limerick School of Art and Design, Lola Donoghue (above) spent 10 years as a teacher before returning to focus solely on her artwork. "I work with both oils and acrylic," she says. "I love the depth and quality of oil, the layers and the glazes, but I equally love the instancy of acrylics. To kickstart a session I will grab the first thing that comes to hand, be it a piece of chalk, a marker or some ink, if only to get rid of the blank canvas as quickly as possible." Lola's top tip for having art with impact in the home concerns the hanging rather than the picture choice.

"Once you have bought your art, don't fall at the final hurdle - please don't hang your art too high!" she says. "Measure 58in up from the floor, this is the average eye level and where the centre of your piece should be."

Irish Independent

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