DecorArting: Art for your Beach House

Want to add a nautical inspiration to your home without going overboard? We’ve scoured the web for some of the best tips for selecting the right art for your beach house.

Before we dig into art-specific tips, let’s start with the basics of beach house decorating. Apartment Therapy summed the general aesthetic up well:

"When searching beach house images, we always find whitewashed walls, light filled rooms, and varied natural textures. Color palettes are generally based on the seascape with shades of blue, green, beige and dabs of coral. Fabrics are worn and woods are weathered. Rugs are usually casual and durable in striped flat weave or seagrass. And of course, accessories should evoke a walk on the beach or an evening sail. Look for shells, coral, rope, maps, and driftwood details.

If combining all these elements in one room makes you sea sick, then just select one. Maybe try a lovely shade of sea glass paint on your walls or throw on a white slipcover with a rope edge trim. Basically, do whatever floats your boat.”

The key to good beach house decorating is to be inspired by the beach. Don’t be too literal with your accents.

With that in mind, here are some tips for selecting the right artwork for your beach getaway:

Photo: Lisa Romerein

1) Add a natural wood frame. This sunny yellow, natural wood and sea foam green color palette evokes a hip, Southern California vibe.

Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

2) Be playful. Don’t be afraid to pair artwork with a fun wall pattern. They add energy and warmth to a room.

Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

3) Celebrate the beach. Accent your home with the bright colors and intricate patterns of the ocean. But remember to edit yourself! Too much of good thing will squash your relaxing vibe.

DecorARTing: Flexible Framing

We’re always on the lookout for unconventional ways to frame photographs, Paperwork prints or works on paper. These eco-friendly acrylic panel frames from Wexel Art are a seriously good-looking option. Assembly seems easy enough: first mount the panels on the wall, then use the magnets provided to hang the artwork.

The design is sleek (clean modern lines) and the frame suits all sorts of oddly-shaped artworks. What’s more, it allows you to easily rotate and rearrange your pieces.

The “mighty strong” magnets provided can hold 5 lbs. Plus, the entire product line is BPA free and phthalate free and the acrylic is made from 20-70% recycled materials. Wexel Art frames can be bought alone or in sets if you want to go for a full art wall. See their website for more information.

DecorARTing: Warm Up Your Office

Beat Hauser “Stop!”

We’ve got an office art collection, but what else can you do to warm up your work environment? To get some answers, we turned to the experts at The Nest:

Don’t treat your home office like you would a regular workspace if you really want to get ahead. Try these creative, streamlined touches to guarantee you’ll ace whatever’s on your plate.

Manifestation Board

Pinning inspirational notes and photos of places you want to visit onto a cork board will inspire you to create.

Optimistic Brights

A multicolored office will energize you to work harder and help you bring your projects and goals to life.

Posh Extras

Adorn your desk with items that make you feel rich and successful. Think sterling silver frames or vases.


One in the back left corner of your desk will attract wealth; one in the back right corner will energize your marriage.

Discreet Electronics

Electromagnetic energy from your computer and other electronics can disrupt chi. Shut your laptop when you’re not on it and consider covering up your machines with a piece of fabric when they’re not in use.

Jayme Barrett Los Angeles feng shui consultant and author of Feng Shui Your Life;

DecorArting: How To Hang Art in a Group That Can Grow

Great post from Apartment Therapy Boston….

We own a lot of art — specifically a lot of small to medium sized art — and when we moved in together last year, our individual collections collided. While struggling over what to do with all this art, we were also brainstorming about how to use the room-sized foyer which separates the living and dining rooms. It didn’t take long before we had this idea — a large grouping of art that could grow as we collected more and/or decided to change the function of the foyer space…

Step 1: Draft a Rough Composition

Since this was going to be a silly, function-less room (to give you a sense of scale, the previous tenant used it as a full office), we decided to create a furniture vignette from which our organic grouping of art would “emerge.” The low-stance of our LCM Eames chair was the inspiration. Our art cluster would appear to float up from the chair, beginning small and slowly gaining in size and color. We also knew we would jump over the corner of the wall to imply that the collage was not bound in on any side.

This asymmetrical composition would give us a balanced look while still allowing us to add to the collage on a variety of sides. The same would be much more difficult with a composition like a square or rectangle which is what we see in magazines most often.

Step 2: Arrange, Take Pictures, Re-arrange, Repeat

Once we had the idea for our composition, we brought out everything we owned and began grouping on the floor, looking for interesting relationships — complementary colors, shapes, variety of scale and density (how light or dark a piece is). Find a focal point (the largest, or brightest, or most colorful, etc.) and work outward from there. It’s all about finding good neighbors. For example, our focal point is the “aeronautique espace” poster which has a rich blue background that looked the best when surrounded by pieces with a lot of white in them. Generally you want a mix of solid color and whiteness throughout your grouping to create a nice optical rhythm.

A word of advice: once you find something you sort of like, take a picture before rearranging it. It’ll save you from a huge headache when you try to remember things you’ve already tried. Don’t lose patience. Walk away for a few minutes if you need to see it fresh again. You’ll know when you find a sweet spot.

Step 3: Hanging: If It Looks Right, It Is Right

Once you’ve settled on a layout, photograph it for reference while you hang. Begin by hanging the piece which is the focal point of your design and work outward from there. Three guidelines for measuring:

1. Establish one standard distance between all pieces (ours was 3.5”).

2. Try to anchor each piece to an edge that has already been defined — we began by hanging the two little illustrations on the left of our blue poster so that they aligned with the top of the poster.

3. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Remember, if it looks right, it is right. Those same two little illustrations that align to the top of the blue poster happen to be closer together than any other two things in our grouping because we wanted them to hang within the width of the green poster they sit on top of. But you probably didn’t notice that, you just thought it looked “right.”

Step 4: Completion is Relative

This is what our collage looked like after we were “finished.” We think it’s a pretty accurate representation of our initial sketch and we enjoyed it just like this for a few months. But, just as we knew would happen, we began to desire more function from our silly space and replaced the chair with a bench for putting shoes on and off. We also painted the walls a soft white, hung a light and rearranged a few pieces on the walls.

We’re still open to the idea that things will shift and change as we continue to change, ourselves. The wonderful thing is that our asymmetrical, growing composition allows us the freedom to add to and take away whenever we want!

DecorARTing: 9 Easy Tips

Simple tips on art and more from The Nest.

via Apartment Therapy

Tip 1: Modern furniture is beautiful, but it can sometimes look a little uninviting. Soften the lines by adding texture. Toss a fluffy rug on the floor, colorful pillows on your couch, and some organic decorative pieces on the coffee table.

Tip 2: Go funky with details to create unique end tables. Try a tower of art or fashion books, a pile of retro-style suitcases, even a stool.


Tip 3: Your entryway needs personality because it’s the first thing people see. First, clear a small space for all your stuff—keys, cell, and mail. Then get creative by jazzing up the wall with colorful paint or wild wallpaper.

Tip 4: Working in threes is a great tip for displaying your stuff like the pros. Try coordinating tea pots, potted plants, clocks on a wall, or vases of different heights.

Tip 5: Color is key when styling your open shelves. Pick two harmonizing hues and mix them up evenly. Use coordinating shapes, organize by size, and don’t be afraid to show off your hardware like colanders, shiny pots, even appliances.

via The Nest

Tip 6: Jazz up those white walls with some out-of-the-ordinary ideas. Transform your space by choosing a bright paint color for the background and add a fun 3-D element, such as arranging a collection of plates or hanging wallpaper in a patchwork pattern.

Tip 7: Photos can add a personal touch to your room—as long as they’re displayed the right way. Make a grid with pictures in matching frames; arrange photos on shelves and add family memorabilia; hang black-and-white photos against a colorful backdrop.

Tip 8: Every room needs a focal point, which is the one thing the eye is immediately drawn toward (it also drives the design of the room). Examples of decorative focal points are a fireplace, a four-poster bed, or an interesting piece of furniture.

via Apartment Therapy

Tip 9: Get creative by stylishly organizing bookshelves by color, rather than size or theme. Mix in objects to give the shelves a sense of texture as well. Most importantly, don’t fill every inch—leave some open space so the look doesn’t appear too chaotic.

DecorARTing: Art + Wall Color

Don’t know how to pair your art and wall colors? Apartment Therapy offered some sage advice:

The all-white room is a 20th century concept. I think it was the Bauhaus that threw the goddess Color out of the temple, but even Corbusier had his own vivid color palette, and we’re talking of course about people with resources and money. Go to the great houses of Europe, the beaches of Mexico, the streets of Bombay and what you see is color, color, color.

Perhaps it’s the artist rather than the art collector who requires the purity of all-white rooms for the untainted experience of viewing, but even then, I don’t buy it. The British favored red as the ideal color for a portrait gallery, an idea that goes back to Pompeii. The aristocracy has always used color — rare and expensive were pigments — to display their wealth. And when I troll the museums here in New York, all-white rooms may be associated with Modernity (MoMA) more than anything else. I close with a sampling of photos snapped over the years. When it comes to art collections, I personally am more likely to paint my walls black than white.

all photos via Apartment Therapy

Decorarting: How to Start Buying Art

Art = happiness. Simple as that! A joyful first-time art buyer with two new Paperwork prints.

How does one start buying art? Apartment Therapy ran a great article addressing the oft intimidating art buying experience. Here are the highlights:

Rule #1: Buy what you love. It may take a little while, but you’ll know what you love when you see it, and it’s fun to look.

Rule #2: Have confidence. Although art can seem intimidating, many artists and gallery owners are happy to talk with browsers about the artwork. (I promise we are! Call us anytime)

Rule #3: Set a budget. No matter how much (or how little) you spend, you can find artwork in your budget. Handmade prints and posters are an inexpensive alternative to original paintings. Checkout Ugallery’s sister site Paperwork which offers prints for as little as $20.

Rule #4: Display it. For tips on how to hang art, check out this post. The general rule of thumb is eye-height or 60” from the ground.

DecorARTing: Eating with Andy

Jonathan Fong didn’t just decorate, he turned his kitchen into a work of art. Here’s what he had to say about this one-of-a-kind Warhol kitchen:

You never know when inspiration will give you a big, sloppy kiss on the lips. I was at the museum store at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Andy Warhol retrospective when I noticed that all the Warhol posters were 40% off. While a normal person would think, “Wow, I should get one and frame it,” I (who am not normal) thought, “Wow, I’m going to buy every poster they have in stock and decoupage them onto my kitchen cabinets.” You have to admit, the kitchen is an eye-popper.

For more information about how he turned his Warhol poster collection into a constant culinary companion, check the whole post out here.

DecorARTing: Art in the Kitchen

Beware what you hang above the stove! (Photo via

Our old friends at Apartment Therapy (check out their favorite Ugallery pieces here) recently did a post about the nuances of art in the kitchen.

It has some great tips about what to put in that oil-splattered, steam-filled danger zone, so we thought we’d share:

Apart from their children’s crayon masterpieces, many people refrain from putting art in the kitchen for the same reason they’re reluctant to hang it in the bathroom - moisture, heat, grease and extreme temperature changes — the four dark horsemen of art. But we say, have at it!

While you might not want to put a rare lithograph right above your stove, why not try a pretty postcard, a photograph or a graphic poster? Art here is a welcoming addition. Our only piece of advice? Stay away from anything kitsch or kitcheny. Go for the graphic, the bold, the unusual, the unexpected.

With AT’s expert interior design advice in mind, we have gathered together a few Ugallery works perfect for the kitchen:

Jonathan Murray Spins Her Heart Out - $75

Jonathan’s digital prints from photographs are graphic, bold and durable, perfect for the kitchen. This work comes from a series of work that capture the moods of a girl who “likes to act much younger than she is.” As part of a series, this piece will be perfect for people with more than one hold to fill. See the rest of Jonathan’s portfolio here.

Got a sexy, steel-coated modern kitchen? Mark Elverson’s steamy photographs may be just the right accent. He has many colors to choose from, and you can order the image in different sizes. The work is so seductive, you’ll be happy to see smoke in the kitchen!

Ina Christensen’s rustic, color-infused photographs will tug at the pocketbooks of Anthropologie shoppers everywhere. She takes country settings and turns them slightly askew, leaving us with a lovely blend of edginess and nostalgia. To meet all of your decorating needs, this work is offered at multiple sizes and has many fraternal twins if you are looking for a whole collection of work.

Are you proud to live on the wrong-side of town? Did you slip into a grungy pad before your hood gentrified? Then this gritty photo is for you. It doesn’t get much more bad ass than digging into some Chinese food in front of a graffiti-soaked, barb-wire restrained rendering of the Last Supper.

And finally, a little treat for all the outdoorsy folk. Greg Byers' abstractly arranged panoramic of a tide pool in Cinque Terre, Italy (the birthplace of pesto!) is a jaw-dropper. The crisp image will delight weary travelers while reminding us all to be a little more eco-conscious.