Accessories, Decorating Dilemmas, House / Kitchen & Dining

Dining Room Art Wall Dilemma: Prints or Paintings?

I’m rethinking my approach to the gallery wall in our dining room/kitchen area.  Here’s why:

The dining/living/kitchen area is all open and flow-y.  Or something like that. And that’s why I’m starting to think that the art that goes on one of the two dining area walls should fit the same style as the rest of that are.

For example, on the living room wall we have two paintings, one of which is this:

Living Room Oil Painting Corner | The Borrowed Abode

And if you continue down that wall to the dining area, we have a moody Ships at Sea painting which I picked up at Just L, our favorite mid-century modern shop, during the minimoon.  I am absolutely in love with both of these paintings.

Dining Room Painting Ships | The Borrowed Abode

So with that in mind, I think it might be too random and clashing to have the opposite dining room wall display a growing gallery of random modern art prints and photos, framed in plain white frames.

Dining Room Beginning Art Gallery Wall | The Borrowed Abode

The photo above shows the current state of the wall (I just spackled all the holes in preparation for refreshing the paint).

If we continue that white frame wall over to the island, that’s going to be a heck of a lot of white on that wall.  I feel like it may just look boring.  I don’t like boring.

Random old paintings, however, in funky ridiculous old lady frames, however, may add a little more fun to the wall while blending better with the rest of the art we have in the entertaining spaces of the first floor.

Here’s some of what I’m loving, via Etsy, right now:

1.  This Moulin Rouge oil painting via Shop on Sherman at Etsy.  But at $190 it’s a little more than I think we’d like to spend right now. The style is so much like the Italian painting in our living room.

Moulin Rouge Oil Painting via ShopOnSherman on Etsy

This set of two miniature Dutch Oil Paintings via LittleBearandBunny on Etsy.  I am really craving some miniature sets of paintings right now, I have no idea why.

Miniature Dutch Oil Paintings

With this in mind, I’m actually wondering if I could mix some older, classical-style paintings with some of our more modern art prints that we love, such as the Washington DC print in our kitchen photo above.

What do you think?  If I popped the pop art into some old Granny style frames, would that help it all come together as a cohesive collection?  Or do I need to pick one style – prints or old paintings?

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  • Reply Vinnie at 3:17 am

    I agree that there’s too much going on with prints and paintings, but I wonder if the density of the prints is partly to blame. The paintings have some room around them… the prints don’t. Maybe spread the prints out more?

    Also, fwiw, we end up with different elements in different rooms. Paintings (mostly) in the living room, photos (that we took) in a series of frames in the kitchen. We routinely (annually-ish) swap out the prints for new ones, so we can always be reminded of recent things we’ve done…. We don’t have many prints – just a few from projects we worked on…

    • Reply Jane at 7:29 am

      Hey Vinnie 🙂 What a fun surprise to see a comment from you! In our basement rec room we are setting up a gallery of large blow-ups of a few great travel photos we took, because I love being able to use my own photos as art. Your comment about spreading out the prints is a good idea (btw, only one of the framed items is an actual print so far. . . but I digress.) Actually, I wonder if just moving to larger size framed prints would help, rather than such a small scale. So fewer items to cover that wall, larger scale so they can actually be appreciated, and with more space between…Thanks for something great to think about!

  • Reply Kiri at 9:20 am

    I agree with Vinnie. 🙂

    If you wanted to continue with the white frames, then you’d need to paint the wall to be a more distinct colour for the frames to contrast with. The beige colour behind it is too similiar a shade.

    For old fashioned paintings – getting some old granny frames from a 2nd hand store and making them up yourself with prints out of a calendar can work really well also and be way cheaper than $190. I’m not a retro person – I like the pre-raphaelite and impressionist period, myself. It’s easy enough to get calendars and postcards for not so much that have a good size print in it. While it’s not going to be the same quality as your art in living room – it will match the style and perhaps provide more of what you are craving.

    • Reply Jane at 11:00 am

      Thanks! I love your ideas about using postcards and calendars. I think I even have a few squirreled away somewhere!

  • Reply jenn at 11:43 am

    Hmmmm, I actually think if you put the modern posters in more funky frames AND mix in some older, classic artwork, then the gallery wall will blend. I personally don’t think the paint color is an issue at all – I think the disconnect is with the frames.

    • Reply Jane at 11:01 am

      Jenn, I like this idea of mixing the modern and classic together. . . just all in old granny frames. I’ll give that some thought!

  • Reply Janise Cookston at 1:29 pm

    I am both an an interior designer and an artist and I think you can definitely mix modern prints and with paintings. But the key is definitely consistency in framing which includes the mats. So if you want to go with antique/salvaged frames to bring in character (although, I’m not sure you need any more character than that which you are bringing in with the variety in prints and paintings) I would highly recommend being consistent in your matting of each piece, meaning same mat color and same mat width for all (ex. all white mats with 2 in widths.) The more ornate the frame the farther apart the pieces should be hung (think museum) the more sleek the frame the closer they should be hung (think modern art gallery.) Another option to bring in consistency when featuring a wide variety in the art itself, is to use antique/salvaged frames but spray paint them all one color (this can be something simple like a chocolate brown or something bold like moss green). So you get the personality of older frames but also the harmony required to make diverse art piece look like a collection and not a flea market.

    • Reply Jane at 11:02 am

      Such a good point about consistency in framing. I haven’t put much thought into matting in the past, but I definitely see how that would help. Thank you for all the awesome info!

  • Reply elaine at 8:46 pm

    If it were my dilemma,I would try all gold frames and choose abstract expressionist prints. It really depends on the art that you like. I like Kandinsky prints which would look good in a simple thick gold frame. I would look for modern art that fits frames that you find at thrift stores or choose your art then have frames made. I like your blog. Keep on posting.

    • Reply Jane at 11:03 am

      The old me would hate the idea of gold frames, but . . . yeah, I am liking that idea these days! Gold seems elegant and warm on frames. Thanks for the input!

  • Reply Updated Rental Home Tour: Living Room, Dining, KitchenThe Borrowed Abode | The Borrowed Abode at 5:03 pm

    […] considered a gallery wall above the island, but let that idea drop when it started to look too […]

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