Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seeing Double

Last week, I mentioned my affliction for pairs of things.  Admittedly, I am a fan of symmetry, but I think there's also something to be said for power from repetition.  This predilection for pairs has made its way into my art collection, and I have found that I'm about twice as likely to buy a piece if it has a brother (or sister.)  Take the pair of vintage 70s portraits in my living room.  I really fell hard for him (kind of reminds me of my husband, and, in fact, when I brought the thing home my girls asked "is that Daddy?"), but I couldn't leave her behind.  I wasn't as thrilled with the quality of the painting or the look of the subject, but there she is, hanging in my living room.

So, falling for pairs kind of makes sense, right?  How about hanging them stacked vertically, instead of side by side?  Take a tour around my house and you will see this trend.

In the dining room

In the office

(these are new--the "$10" tags are still on them--Oops.  They are awesome vintage African prints that I snagged at the sale where I did not buy the lamp of my dreams.)

In the guest room

In the pantry

In the girls' bathroom (TWO stacked pairs!)

And bedroom

While I think this is partly because of the walls I have available--the larger walls are either broken up by really big windows or too big for small works, and the smaller walls are taller than they are wide--I must just also like the way the stack looks.

A quick tip about hanging art: you want the height of arrangements to relate from one room to another, if the pieces share sitelines.  See in the photo of the office above how the pair of African prints is centered vertically on the pair of 70s portraits in the living room?  Or the pantry pair is centered vertically on the large print in the kitchen?  That's what I'm talking about.  It allows your eye to move around the space in a measured way, without going on a roller coaster.  Here, I did it for the dining room and living room pairs, too.

Ha.  I didn't expect to be particularly helpful this morning, but hopefully that's a useful tip.

Here's another one:  I was just reading an article in a back issue of House Beautiful with 100 instant makeover ideas.  One of them suggested that if you have three or more pairs in a room, to remove half of one pair to keep things from being too stiff.  Do you think this applies to the whole space of a somewhat-open-plan home?  Well, even if it does, I think I'm keeping all my pairs of paintings.

So tell me: do you tend towards one kind of arrangement in your home?  Do you prefer pairs up and down or side by side?


  1. Love all your art pairs! I am a huge canvas girl at heart. I can't turn down a 48 x 60, which is odd since my apartment is so tiny!
    -e (

  2. nice idea, especially with the portraits :)

  3. Interestingly, I have a thing for threes (including children apparently).


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