Decorating your home with beautiful art is an excellent way to express your style and personality. While framed prints and paintings are the most common way to display art, there are many other creative options that can make your space look unique. Here are 8 alternative ways to exhibit art in your home:

1. Unframed Canvas Prints

Canvas prints have become very popular in recent years as an alternative way to display artwork without the added cost and bulkiness of a frame. Stretched canvas wraps the printed image around wooden bars, giving a modern, minimalist look. The sides of the canvas can be painted as an accent color or left white.

Canvas prints are available in various sizes and can be made from your own photos or digital art files. Make a statement by grouping several smaller canvas pieces in a cluster on one wall or highlighting a large bold print as the focal point of your room. The thick texture and raw edges of canvas prints give them an artistic, contemporary feel.

2. Paint Directly On The Wall

If you have a flair for art and painting, consider applying a mural, artistic shapes, or abstract designs directly on your walls. This transforms the wall into a literal canvas and makes the art a permanent part of the home’s decor.

Look for empty, boring walls just asking to become an art installation. Bedroom, living room, dining room, and hallways typically have large blank canvases that would suit painted artwork.

Pick a theme or palette for the painted design, such as organic nature shapes in soothing greens and blues or a geometric pattern in bold contrasting colors. Paint the entire wall or just a portion as the artwork focal point. This is a great way to add youthful, artistic expression and completely customize your space.

3. Wall Decals and Removable Wallpaper

For those who want art on their walls but not the mess and permanence of paint, wall decals and removable wallpaper offer an excellent alternative. These can be applied directly to the wall and feature colorful patterns, inspirational quotes, city maps, geometric shapes, trees, flowers and more.

Wall decals come in premade designs, custom images, and solid shapes and patterns. Removable wallpaper has sticky backing and when you’re ready to take it down, it peels off easily. This is a fun option for renters who want to personalize without damaging their walls or homeowners looking for an easy DIY artwork solution.

4. Display on Shelves

Open ledges, floating shelves, and bookcases present the perfect opportunity to exhibit your favorite art pieces, collectibles and treasures.

Try grouping framed photos, paintings, and prints together over a sofa, above a mantle, or down a staircase. For eclectic charm, fill shelves with a collection of differently sized and shaped frames. Or keep it clean and consistent by selecting matching frames and matting.

Shelves can also hold pottery, sculptures, baskets, books, and any special items that reflect your interests and style. Spread collections out symmetrically or place them creatively in an asymmetrical formation. Back them with a wallpaper or paint color that enhances their look. Changing what you display on shelves allows you to constantly refresh your room’s artistic flair.

5. Hang On The Ceiling

Don’t forget to look up! Ceilings offer opportune overhead space to show off your beloved art. Hang a statement light fixture that doubles as a sculptural masterpiece. Suspend branches, antlers, or vines using fishing line to add organic interest. Or install track lighting that illuminates framed prints or even 3D art pieces along the ceiling line.

In a child’s bedroom, colorful mobiles and decals create visual excitement from above. Try displaying decorative parasols upside down or hoop embroidery pieces for bohemian style. Just make sure whatever you hang is safely and securely mounted. Ceiling décor draws the eye up and adds artistic ambiance from an unexpected viewpoint.

6. Staircase Art Gallery

Staircases tend to create awkward unusable spaces and blank walls along the ascent. Transform this area into a captivating art gallery displaying your favorite pieces!

The vertical shape of stairwell walls is perfect for hanging mixed sizes of paintings, prints, mirrors, tapestries and photographs. Cluster square and rectangular frames in grid-like formations or place them creatively at varying heights and angles. Lean narrow canvases against the walls for dimension.

Put lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs to dramatize the artwork. Visitors will delight in discovering new pieces as they walk up the artistic staircase in your home.

7. Bathroom Art

Even utilitarian rooms like bathrooms deserve beautiful artwork! This space offers unique high humidity, steam, and wet conditions. Choose pieces made specifically for bathrooms that can withstand moisture and condensation.

Framed prints enclosed behind glass panels are ideal for preventing damage. Canvas art also holds up well in humid bathroom environments. Select underwater themes, flowers, seascapes, and foggy landscapes that tie into the room’s functions. Check frames and mats to ensure they are non-porous synthetic materials rather than paper or wood.

Displaying art in your bathroom provides an eyecatching element while also diverting focus from unsightly features like pipes or ventilation grates. Make it feel like a relaxing oasis with calming colors and serene artwork.

8. Art Niche Gallery

Recess a customized art niche into a wall to elegantly exhibit your most prized masterpiece. An art niche features a inset hole with ledges or shelving mounted inside the recess. This draws attention to the displayed artwork and separates it from its surroundings.

Niches are often enhanced with accent lighting from above or alongside to spotlight the art within. This type of enclosed display adds a very polished, upscale feel, perfect for highlighting fine art and collectibles. Display a treasured family portrait, meaningful sculpture, or brilliant oil painting within an art niche to really make it stand out against the wall.

Frequently Asked Questions About Displaying Art

Displaying art in your home can be an exciting way to add personality and interest to your decor. However, there are some key things to keep in mind to properly exhibit different art mediums. Here are some frequently asked questions about creatively displaying art:

What is the best lighting for displaying art?

The appropriate lighting depends on the type of artwork. Oil paintings look best in warm incandescent light. For watercolors and prints, cooler fluorescent lighting shows the hues accurately. Avoid direct sunlight which can damage artwork over time. Picture lights and overhead track lighting work well.

How should I arrange a gallery wall?

When grouping several frames, vary heights, sizes, orientations, colors, and styles for the most appealing aesthetic. Place the largest piece as the anchor in the center and build outward symmetrically or asymmetrically. Ensure adequate space between pieces and keep edges aligned. Step back frequently to ensure the arrangement looks balanced.

What size should art be relative to furniture?

Above beds or sofas, choose artwork about two-thirds the width of the furniture. Above sideboards and dressers, select pieces about half to three-quarters the width. Above a dining table, art should be just slightly narrower than the table. Above a mantle, art can be the full width if it’s not too overwhelming.

How do I display odd-shaped art?

Abstract sculptures, circular mirrors, 3D wall art and other uniquely shaped pieces look best mounted on an also specially shaped background or display shelf. This helps the art stand out rather than blending in with standard straight walls and corners.

Should I hang art flat against the wall?

Pieces that are meant to be flat like prints, photos, and canvases should lie flush against the wall. However, some types like macrame wall hangings and textural fiber art are designed to be dimensional. Use delicate wires, cords or adhesives to make them appear suspended off the wall for shadow and depth.

What are wire hangers and D rings?

On the back of a frame, wire hangers stretched across screw eyes allow you to hang art securely on a nail or hook on the wall. D rings on the back let you mount the piece on a sleek D ring hanger attached to the wall. This creates invisible hanging. Ensure hangers are properly affixed to appropriately support heavier art.

How do I decorate the wall around the art?

Keep walls behind framed art neutral so the colors don’t compete or clash with the piece. Add coordinated accent details like wallpaper only around the edges, a painting stripe along the border, or sconces flanking the sides. This highlights the art within the display area.

Should I hang art above or beside beds?

Both options work! Centered over the headboard makes a bold statement. Beside the bed creates intimate ambiance. Place pieces low enough to enjoy the details when reclining or lounging in bed. Secure heavy art firmly to avoid accidents. Add night lighting to illuminate art beside beds.

How do I prep art prints and posters for framing?

Smooth prints completely flat and brush away any dust before inserting into the frame to prevent future rippling. Posters may need acid-free backing boards placed behind them to keep them from buckling. The frame’s matting provides additional protection for cheaper prints.


Exploring creative art display solutions like gallery walls, staircases, murals, textiles, niche galleries, ceiling mounts and unconventional placements allow you to make a unique design statement. Pairing the right lighting and decor backdrop can elevate the look of your favorite artworks. Just be sure to use the proper display materials and mounting hardware suited for each art type. With so many options, you can exhibit your treasured artworks in fresh new ways that reflect your personal taste and dazzle your guests. Let your home become a rotating art exhibition representing what you love.