Integrating old paintings into modern decor?

(14 Posts)
rosettesforjill Tue 16-Feb-16 13:22:18

Looking for some advice from people with more interior design talent than me!

My grandma is selling her house to move into a nursing home and as a result she needs to get rid of a lot of beautiful stuff, including some lovely oil paintings - some of which are large family portraits, some landscapes. I will be taking custody of most of these for the foreseeable future, as my siblings don't have the space for any of them in their current lodgings.

DH and I have recently bought an Edwardian house in need of full decoration so I have a blank canvas, but I'm trying to think about how I could integrate these paintings into the plans. Of course I could go completely "period"/museum piece but it's not really our style and I'd like it to be a bit fresher. Any ideas about how we could make it work?

SpotOn Tue 16-Feb-16 14:05:35

I think you may need to have some reframed (no idea what the frames are like) but I think period art can look fabulous on a white background.

Are you thinking of going very moden/clean with the art as a focal point?

LBOCS2 Tue 16-Feb-16 14:09:31

Some friends of ours have an Edwardian house with picture rails, and they've mounted some traditional paintings on wires from them - much like a gallery would. It works really well, rather than having them 'hung' on the wall in the way you would in a home usually. It also means that you can move them around much more easily. Would that work?

absolutelynotfabulous Tue 16-Feb-16 14:11:08

I'd go modern, with a strong palette. Your Edwardian house should be able to take it. Make a feature of the paintings by hanging them together as a focal point, as the pp suggests. Otherwise keep the room very low key.

rosettesforjill Tue 16-Feb-16 14:14:18

SpotOn I think so, although there are some period features where the previous owners haven't tried to "restore" them with polyfilla we'd like to keep which means we probably won't end up totally white. The frames are typical old, ornate and gold so yes, reframing sounds like a good idea

LBOCS2 We don't have picture rails, unfortunately, although I'm sure they'd look nice if we reinstated them!

LBOCS2 Tue 16-Feb-16 14:25:19

If you're going for a full redecoration, in my experience it's cheaper to reinstate picture rails than it is to reframe a number of paintings wink

Also, with high ceilings it can help break up the expanse of wall; make the room feel less vast or boxy.

But of course, it does depend what sort of 'look' you're going for with your home smile

capsium Tue 16-Feb-16 14:27:30

I just bang an appropriate picture hook in and hang them up...

mysteryfairy Tue 16-Feb-16 22:49:17

On interior design sites you do tend to see pictures together rather than hung more evenly as you would expect traditionally. Not sure how well this would work unless you have some of your own stuff to mx it in to get an eclectic effect.

I also quite like the look of hanging three pictures in identical frames in a vertical column, though ideally I think there needs to be some sort of commonality between the pictures for that to work. I've done this with some degree show pieces from a sibling that were a bit too dominating otherwise and I quite like the effect.

Another juxtaposition that I think can work quite nicely is to hang something really ornate and incongruous in a bathroom. I think this depends on not going for a hotel feel or limestone type bathroom, but maybe something where you embrace dark walls, perhaps gold taps to go with a gold frame etc

PittedOlive Wed 17-Feb-16 16:52:59

No picture rails here (white-painted, rather plain 1970s house) but we did find a lovely, battered old blue-painted wooden plank with coat hooks set into it at intervals, which we have used to hang a rather prim set of gold-framed Victorian botanical water colours - on ribbon - so that they don't look too 'stuffy'.

What kind of furniture do you have, and what else would be going on the walls?

rosettesforjill Thu 18-Feb-16 12:38:37

Thanks for all the ideas!

mysteryfairy They're too big really to hang them all together - at a guess I'd say 100x50cm or slightly larger. Maybe I could hang the portraits side by side though? (I sound like I'm from some great noble family here but I'm really not - I've no idea what my ancestors did to justify them having these paintings done!) I have also offered to take a (tasteful but huge) statue for our future dream loft bathroom so that fits with your bathroom idea!

PittedOlive We have quite a bit of vintage/antique furniture. The rest of our wall decorations are nice but uninspiring photos and prints so I'm not sure whether they'll just get set aside for the paintings eventually.

NattyGolfJerkin Thu 18-Feb-16 12:59:52

I love paintings/'proper art', it's something DH and I have collected for a number of years. If you are reframing, I would advise you to be cautious and always frame for the picture not the room.

minipie Thu 18-Feb-16 17:51:57

I'd keep them in their ornate frames myself and go with a palette of strong wall colours with gold touches. Some antique furniture will go fine. For a more modern effect paint your skirtings and woodwork in the same colour as the wall. Oka is quite good for modern or quirky furniture that fits well with antiques horribly overpriced though

minipie Thu 18-Feb-16 18:01:09

You could look at boutique country hotels (eg on Mr & Mrs Smith website) for inspiration, I think they quite often use antique paintings and furniture but in a modern way

user1472897437 Thu 08-Sep-16 10:54:52

You may use these paintings along with some modern ones. Both will compliment each other and I think it would look good. Artworks like of Jimi Hendrix paintings would look good with your paintings. This combination of paintings look superb as my aunt has also done so.

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