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How to Design a Room Around a Picture

How to Design a Room Around a Picture
This is a question not often asked.  But it's still a decent, though not often used, means of creating your dream home design scheme.  How do we design a room around a picture?  It's really a lot easier than it sounds.  It's also what we're going to be discussing today.

Cramer Imaging's fine art photograph "Zion's National Park" staged in a living room space with a leather couch
The point of designing a room is to give the room an overall feel or vibe.  You know what the room is intended to do within seconds of entering the door.  If it's supposed to be a bedroom, you expect to see something calming, perhaps a bit messy, but also something very personal in the space.  If you are designing a living room, then you expect the room to show comfort and the best face to the public that the home owners can put together.  The rules for designing a room around a picture are much the same.

You start with what the room is supposed to do.  Then you choose a picture, whatever kind of picture you want, which will fulfill that need in addition to being the central focus of the room.  Perhaps you already have a picture in your possession which you plan on using.  If that's the case, then skip this first step.  It's not needed.

Once you have your room and your chosen image, then you start working from there.  What are the main colors of the image in front of you?  See if you can find a few pieces of furniture, curtains, or knick-knacks to match.  What are the secondary colors in the image?  Don't forget those colors too.  They make for interesting contrast.

Matching colors is simply a matter of comparing them together side by side.  Sure, you can't take a huge picture frame with you into most stores.  That will end up raising you some eyebrows at least.  It's also not practical.  Thankfully, your smart phone camera can come to the rescue here.  Take a picture which you bring with you into all the stores you will be shopping.  Bring the photo out to compare as necessary.

Photograph of Cramer Imaging's fine art photograph 'Idaho Spring' on the wall of a bedroom
Accessories which match or go with a color scheme will really help set the room's mood.
Remember that you are designing your room around the image.  This means that loud, bright, and flashy designs and colors are to be avoided.  They will detract from the picture you have chosen as the central feature of your room's decoration plan.  Patterns are ok just as long as they are more subtle.  Colors should be more subdued even if the art is loud and in your face.  This is not the time for screaming neon yellow or similar.  If you choose something just as attention-demanding, you will end up competing against your image and your design plans will fall apart.

Another thing to consider is that you don't have to choose something which is a direct match to the colors in the picture.  You can choose something different as long as it goes with the picture.  If it clashes or draws attention away, then you should choose something else if you plan to continue designing your room around a picture.  You can, if you prefer, go with more neutral tones for everything else and leave the splash of color to the picture.  That is a perfectly acceptable option as well.

Photograph of Cramer Imaging fine art photograph 'Ancient Red Skyscrapers' on the wall of a living room setting
This example of a neutral setting emphasizes the color of the photo above the couch.
Once you have purchased everything you need to set up the room, it's simply a matter of setting it up.  You will need to arrange your furniture, hang your picture(s) and curtains, and display your knick-knacks.  This is where the fun part comes in.  Be creative and make sure that you are happy with what you have.  Hang on to those receipts just in case something doesn't work out the way you initially hoped it would.

The final step is to show off your room.  It's a great time to get feedback if you want it.  If not, it's still a good time to get compliments on a job well done.  Enjoy the process and your new room design.  Have fun.  If you feel like showing off to us, then please leave a picture in the comments section below.