Hanging Art: The stacked pair

Fun fact:  my design career really started with some art walls.  When I first started this blog, a couple of readers got in touch and asked me to hang artwork for them.  Then we started to work on other projects in their homes.

My background is in the arts--I have a Master's Degree in Modern Art and Curatorial studies from Columbia, I worked at a public art organization in NYC for nearly 6 years, and I am still on the board of Public Art St Paul--so I suppose it's not surprising that the art is one of my favorite parts of any project.

The more I use art to finish spaces, the more I think about the ways we can be strategic not just with the type of art we choose, but the way we hang it to polish a room.

One of my favorite tactics is the stacked pair.  Stacking an actual pair is pretty fool-proof, and it can be a great way to fill all of those narrow spots in a house.

My powder room, above the toilet:

My old guest room:
(a foolproof way to do a mismatched pair: two from the same artist, in the same medium, like these fashion illustration watercolors)

Clio's room:
(these are pieces from 2 different artists, but both are black and white line drawings in gold frames.)

The stacked pair is also a great way to visually balance a tall piece of furniture, like we did in this home:

With the library shelf, the stacked pair helps flank the window--the largest element in the room.  The pieces are from the same artist, in identical frames:

In Eleri's room, there isn't space for nightstands on both sides of the bed, but the bed felt imbalanced without a second lamp.  Enter--you guessed it!--a stacked pair.

In my living room, the window is off center on the couch.  To bring symmetry, I used a pair of side tables topped with a pair of lamps--and filled in the white space next to the window with a pair of 1970s portraits.

Advanced move: on this landing, I needed to balance the height of the gallery wall.  The stacked pair was an orderly way to get the height we needed.

I repeated the same stacked pair facing this one, to "end" the gallery wall:


I do love symmetry, balance, and pairs.   Most pairs in a room (chairs, tables, lamps) run on a horizontal plane.  A stacked pair gives the same balance, but since it runs vertical there is a new sense of movement.

Other posts in the works for this series: the row, the column, the flanking pair, and the butterfly.  Stay tuned.