When we head to market, we order a lot (I mean a lot!) of art.  I have to be able to display it all in the showrooms so we collage.  This is also a great way to create interest on your personal walls.  The following rules are mine.  A lot of people have many different opinions but as I have said before – ‘My blog, my rules” (that just never gets old)! 

I love art collages, and not just art but objects in with the art.  You will also need to take into consideration what is around the art and make it part of the collage.

In this picture the sconces are framing the art and the table & pot are anchoring it.  It all marries perfectly, if I say so myself.

Same with this trio…a great abstract piece with sculpture above on the wall and below on the table.

or this collage adding a lamp and mirror in the mix – Hot! 

You will hear me in the studios on floor days:

“Left justify please”

“Line up the bottoms please”

“Grid that wall”

“Weight at the bottom please”

I think that when art is collaged correctly your eye will follow flow and take it all in.  In other words, place it strategically to make the eye explore it all! 

Let’s start with the easy stuff

Pictures of the same size

My rule for this is to grid them with the same amount of space at the top and sides. 

The exception to this rule is when you want to run a row of art up and down        

or side to side and you want to fill a space.  Spread the art out & increase the spacing.

Ok let’s dig in

Collaging 101

When you are creating a collage, you want to select pieces that relate to each other, either through color, subject or shape. 

One of these is an abstract and one is a traditional piece (with a twist) but they are gorgeous together because they relate in color. 

Let’s look at this one.

I shot this at market this spring, I love the collection of black and whites and the similarity in the collection of shapes.  BUT…………….I would have collaged it differently. 

Here’s how they broke 2 of my rules:

  1. I always keep the heavy weight at the bottom
  2. I almost never overlap corners.  In other words, I line up the corners and don’t overlap the frames on the sides. 

How do I start

How do I know where to put the first one?

It’s kind of nice to be able to lay them out on the floor and take a gander at what you would change before pounding holes in your wall.  But I’m a hundred and have been doing this forever so I just dig in according to a few more of my rules: 

  • I know that I want the central focus of the collage to be about 55-60” off the floor in most cases.
  • I know I want the heaviest at the bottom and the lightest toward the edge or top.
  • I know that when you have several abstracts you need something to create order such as an object or something more linear.
  • And I know that I want to keep the spacing the same between pieces or collections.

That’s all.

A true collage can throw out all my rules

When to break all the rules

Free form collages or creative applications are always welcome.  Check out these two examples. 

These photographs were collaged in no special order but the result feels really good.  They are overlapped and placed low to the ground, but it works.  A good eye and great subject can convince me to throw the rules out.    

In a rug showroom at market, photos of people working in the factory were hung by the natural fibers the rugs are made of.  This was so creative and so interesting.  It drew you into the showroom and one picture just led you to the other. 


How to collage mirrors, or sculpture.  It is somewhat the same rules- if you are trying to use up an entire space feel free to spread things out,


but there is something so impactful about pounding a collection together.

What I would have done, for what it is worth

Following is a collage that I love together. However, if I was the installer, I would have changed the layout.  See their before and my after. 

The take away

We got it and we’ll do it

I hope this helped and you got a thing or two from it.  But know this- we do this for a living.  We buy art with you in mind.  If you don’t see it in our stores, tell us what you want and we’ll find it!  And finally – let us collage your collections.  I mean, I read once how to do panel molding but c’mon – at some point just call the trim carpenter!



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