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The Use of Artwork in Tuscan Decorating


Bare walls just cry for attention. And, fortunately, these are the perfect places to display art and other types of decor. In many interiors artwork is added as the finishing touch. And just like accessories complete the look of an outfit, artwork completes the look and feel of a room.

Whether you prefer traditional, contemporary, modern, abstract or classical art, there are numerous options for types of frames, mats, mediums. Most homeowners do not want make the financial investment to begin a collection of original artwork…and you certainly don’t need to do so to achieve a rich, original look.

Since my home decor preference and area of expertise is Tuscan, I’m going to focus on some options for creating an exciting environment that brings the beauty and serenity of the Tuscan countryside and lifestyle to your home. Artwork can – and should – be considered for every room in your home. None is too unimportant or remote to benefit from a beautifully selected piece of art. How one treats the walls in their home is integral to good interior design and will ultimately bring you the most pleasure from your room.

Wall Color: While I could spend days or pages on colors, types and textures for wall treatments, I’m going to assume that this has already been done and you are ready for your art. Just be sure that you have selected a wall color that is rich (yes, even whites and off-whites can be rich), warm or cool depending on the size and purpose of the room, reflects light and complements your flooring and furniture. For a Tuscan look, you can use anything from the color palette created by Mother Nature…every variation of tan, red, yellow, blue, green, orange. This is your foundation and everything else will only enhance it.

Subject: The first thing you should consider in selecting artwork for your room is the subject. This can be based on purpose of the room, personal interests and likes. Landscapes? Architectural? Still life? Wine labels or bottles? Inspirational quotes? Sports? Animals? Wood or iron grilles? Crosses? The choices are endless and any subject can be framed and displayed in a manner that is consistent with the Tuscan decorating theme. Just be sure that what you select is something that you are going to enjoy looking at for a while.

Medium: Again, there are a multitude of mediums available including various textures and finishes such as photo paper, watercolor paper, poster-type reproductions, cloth prints and, one of my favorites, glicee. Glicee is probably the most original looking, two dimensional, color true and fade resistant mediums in reproduction art – and lends itself well to Tuscan decorating as seen in the collections from Roma Moulding.

Each of these mediums has its place in decorating and has its own merits that lead to its selection. Art prints – primarily created by offset printing – are abundant, inexpensive and found in almost any super store, but custom framing can often negate the savings on this type of “art.” You are generally better off to purchase something you love that comes complete with framing and, often, other enhancements such as matting or fillets. Visser Enterprises produces hundreds of beautifully framed Tuscan style reproduction that creatively and beautifully encompass wood moulding frames, mats and fillets.

Framing: Everyone knows what a picture frame is…but framing, in many instances, wouldn’t be complete without matting. A mat or matting is a thin, flat piece of paper-based material included within a picture frame and is sometimes used in conjunction with a fillet. A fillet is a small piece of moulding which fits inside a larger frame or underneath or in between matting. Both the mat and fillet are used as additional decoration to enhance the look of a framed piece.

Picture frames have traditionally been made of metal or wood and are often gold, silver or bronze either in their purest color form, antiqued, painted or as gilding on natural wood. One of the most prestigious is made of moulded or carved and gilded wood. A picture frame may be of any color or texture, but gilded or antiqued accents are common, especially on vintage or distressed frame styles which are very Tuscan.

Glass is generally used on framed, reproduction artwork – except for acrylic or oil paints or glicee prints. The glass should be raised off the print and this is accomplished by the use of mats and/or fillets.

Picture frames are generally square or rectangular, though circular, oval and arched frames are not uncommon. They range in size from the smallest 2″x2″ to large pieces in excess of 5′.

With all of the above, keep in mind the size and location of the wall you are decorating and whether you want one piece of art or several in either the same or a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. There are a multitude of framed art reproductions available in the home decor marketplace. Two of my favorite manufacturers are Roma Moulding and Visser Enterprises. I encourage you to look at both of these sources for excellent options in Tuscan decorating.

Remember, sometimes all it takes is a well chosen piece of art to turn a bland or boring room into something extraordinary.


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