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Rena’s Romance Primer: What’s on the Walls?

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Furniture is a primary focus when choosing items for the rooms you live in. But what about the walls? Paint can only go so far in highlighting your romantic image and style. There will be shelves and such against walls, but there should be space for some extra details.

Tapestries and Wall Hangings
Tapestries were used in the Middle Ages to keep drafts away. Now we use them for decoration, though the extra insulation is nice. One of the most famous tapestries is the captured unicorn, which is copied extensively. Most tapestries sold in today’s shops are woven with the image into the fabric, though you may still be able to find needlepoint and embroidered pieces that would work well for a wall hanging. Fancy blankets and also rugs can be used as tapestries. If the tapestry has a good feeling to it, it will enhance any romantic setting.

There are tapestries available that will help any image. The Princess will like the unicorn. The Country Maid might want to have a garden scene. Lions and tigers are out there for the Safari woman. A campfire scene will go with the Gypsy, or perhaps just a few well draped scarves would work on her wall. An Artist might make a hooked rug of her own. A Pirate might have a ship in a storm or a seagull in flight on her tapestry.

If you consider a tapestry just a fancy curtain, you could create a wall hanging with an extra sheet to match your bedroom set to make a headboard, or to hide an imperfection in the wall. If it is hung fairly flat or with purpose-made pleats, use it as a backdrop and hang other things on the wall through the wall hanging. This type of wall treatment can be very luxurious depending on the fabric. The Princess may want to have some velvet hanging on the wall with gilt framed pictures hung on top of the fabric. The Goddess may want lengths of chiffon or linen hanging on the wall with lighting sconces hung to bring light to her temple. The Artist may want to hang an actual curtain over a piece of art that can be pulled back to show off the artwork when she wants to. Play with the idea and your image can have fun with the outcome.

Macramé used to be considered romantic. A few things made by this method of knot work still are useful, like plant hangers. Actual wall hangings made of macramé can be intricate, but not romantic. If you do find something in this form of knotted bar work that you find romantic and good for your style, do use it. People who write articles do not know everything.

If you cannot find something you like in your own closets, go to fabric stores, thrift shops, and other places that might have interesting fabrics. Two dowels, a little stitching (or safety pins if you cannot sew), and a length of fabric can make any wall less bare. A plain fabric could be the backdrop for holiday cards in the winter and drying flowers in the summer. If you are feeling creative, a themed scene could be put together with scraps of fabric.

Other things that can be put up as decoration for your romantic image are directly related to your image. The Country Maid may want to have a few of the prized china plates put up on the wall to show up. The Safari Woman could have masks from the lands she has been to above her couch. The goddess may want to have a shelf of urns and amphorae highlighted on her wall. The Pirate may want a collection of glass fishing floats hanging in a net on her wall. The Princess may want to go medieval and have a shiny shield hinging on her wall. A Gypsy could have her collection of crystal balls or tarot cards on display. The Artist? Almost anything, as long as it looks good!

Paintings and Pictures 
Almost any type of oil painting is romantic if it is placed right. Even ones painted by starving artists. Velvet paintings are personal preference. I like ones with unicorns and tigers, myself.

There are water colors out of almost everything. There are botanical paintings that almost every image might like to have on her wall. The Audubon Society sometimes has reproductions of the original watercolors available that I suggest you look at, if not purchase. Whatever you do, try to avoid chopping books apart to get the pictures.

The examples I gave in the tapestry section for styles for each image still go for the paintings. Go to a few “starving artist” shows to see what is available and to find the style you like. I have found that the Safari image can have oriental style silk paintings alongside black velvet tigers and they will work.

The frames should also reflect what image you want to project. A glitzy frame around a subdued watercolor should be reconsidered, even for the Artist. Terra-cotta frames are out there for the Goddess and the Country Maid. Rough woods around your pictures could work for the Country Maid or the Safari imaged woman. I suggest gilded frames for some pictures that the Pirate has, just to show she has been raiding. Or get plain frames and be a bit creative with odd bits you like glued onto the frame to enhance the picture.

With anything that needs to be hung on the wall, the actual hanger can help to enhance the image you want. If you are hanging a picture straight on the wall with a hook, that is good, but it is also utilitarian. Try mocking up a ribbon with tassels to “hang” the picture from. Any image can use this, with a strip of canvas for the Safari Woman to a tie-dyed cloth for the Artist. If you have real picture rail in your home to hang things from, use it. If not, a mock-up or spending the money to install it for real could be interesting.

If you have pictures that you have bought or made over the years that are not framed, consider having them professionally framed. If you have any oil paintings that have not been put onto a proper wooden block, definitely have them blocked and framed. This will keep them looking good for many more years, and make them worth at least twice as much as before they were blocked.

Hanging the pictures you have can be done so many ways that I really don’t want to go into it too much. The patterns you use such as all big pictures, straight line hanging, mosaic walls, and other styles are really up to the person who has to live with it. To help, make a set of to scale cut outs of the pictures and the wall you are trying to hang things on. Keep in mind things like the couch, headboard, or shelves that are already there and use the mock-up to decide where things will be before you start. It will help you decide where, which ones, and how many pictures you will have up without putting extra holes in the wall.

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