Art for Casual Rooms

if you think art is only for the more formal rooms in your house - think again!  Art sets the tone, and if the tone you’re looking for is casual, choose artwork that can set a casual mood.


Using art with horizontal lines can widen a room and make it seem cozier and more casual.   Not to say you need pictures with horizontal lines, but the lines can be in the framework or grouping itself.  Try lining a group of casual floral prints up horizontally, or a long, wide yard-long print for cottage or country décor.  Yard-long paintings and prints were popular in the early 1900’s and tend to use still life florals and soft colors, perfect for cottage and country.


Use funky frames to highlight artwork and become part of the art itself.  For instance, an Asian print with a bamboo frame.  Wood frames, painted or finished, give art a more casual, warm feel.  To add interest to a casual grouping, vary the frame shapes, squares and ovals for instance.


Use groupings of artwork to add impact.  Remember, pairs tend to add formality, and odd numbered groupings give a more natural and casual look.  If you have a pair of paintings or prints to hang in a more casual room, consider staggering the height for a more casual look. 

For casual groupings, consider the actual grouping itself as a work of art rather than a group of art, to determine the size and layout.  For example, if a  three by four foot horizontal painting would look best on a wall, group several smaller pieces together to form that size and shape.

Other Art

For casual rooms, think outside the typical framed art box.  Try a wreath of dried sunflowers to add texture and warmth to a room.  Make sure you don’t hang one lonely little wreath on a large wall, or it will look contrived and out of place.  Consider it above a table or chest with topiaries placed on either side to relate the wreath to something else in the room.

Architectural pieces make great casual artwork – old window frames, corbels and carved trimwork can add an interesting element to casual rooms, and some pieces can pull double duty as shelves.  Pottery Barn really brought some great shelf looks to the design world by creating art groupings on longer shelves using leaning photos and one or two accessories.  It’s a nice casual look for a family room, and keeps accessories out of harm’s way as well.

Try not to use artwork to change the tone of the room, but rather reflect it.  A formal painting in a casual room won’t make the room look more formal, it will just look out of place.