Starting a Room with Art (& A few Favorite Pairings)

August 14, 2019

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This post is sponsored by Artfully Walls.

The task of designing, renovating, and DIYing a whole house can be daunting. Even when I’ve tried to narrow it down to one room, it’s been hard to pull the trigger on the perfect bedframe, the just-right dining table, or the couch on which we’re finally going to kick up our feet. (Jordan, we miss you AND your couch!) — But choosing the art is exciting for me. And, sometimes, it’s just the inspiration I need to visualize a paint color… new flooring? …furnishings! Accents! So my advice: start with what excites you

Directly off of Greta’s room is a small bathroom that’s just perfect for her. She’s our oldest daughter, so we like that she gets a little more privacy. And since Greta’s room will double as a guest room when company comes, we like that this bedroom gets its own bath. The bathroom itself is…decent. Really cute beadboard, a fun dresser turned vanity, the shower is huge and incredible. The yellow walls and laminate floors (and a few other accent pieces like mirrors and lighting) all could easily be swapped–but I just wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. 

(Sidenote: yellow bathrooms with no natural light are a true challenge to photograph!)

Before making any other design decisions, I started by finding inspiration through art. Artfully Walls is one of our favorite art-buying sites. I’m constantly turned on to new artists when browsing this site, and I love that it’s a cost-effective way to support those artists. I can heart my favorites and it automatically saves them so anytime I need art, I go there first to see what I’m loving. 

For this room, I loved “Braid” by GG (a Canadian author and illustrator whose focus is on storytelling and quiet moments) and “Butter with Caramel Rainbow” by Emily Keating Snyder (a Los Angeles-based mixed media artist driven by a love of color). The two together felt playful and young for our 9 year old, but still something I love and admire.

If you can, I highly recommend splurging on the framing option. This helps me to hang the pieces as soon as they arrive (they even come with hanging hardware!)— no waiting around while I hunt for the perfect bargain frame or stall as I make other decisions for the room. These are ready to go up!

I chose the 16×16” print for “Braid” in the Black Gold Reverse Wood “Ornate” frame. “Butter with Caramel Rainbow” looks great in 24×24” with a white mat and the Gold Double Bead Wood “Ornate” frame.

This pairing really got my creative wheels turning, and I had so much fun shopping the site and put together some other fun duos for you: prints that I love looking at alongside one another and that I could easily see living happily ever after on the same wall in multiple different rooms.

  1. La espera BY FEMKE COLARIS
  2. Flowers with Green Background BY KATE LEWIS
  5. Butter with Caramel Rainbow BY EMILY KEATING SNYDER
  6. Braid BY GG
  8. Her Face Launched A Thousand Ships BY JANET HILL


If you aren’t confident in creating your own pairings, you can check out the recently relaunched wall designer tool on Artfully Walls. It looks much chicer than the previous version, is more fun to use, and has some new features, like…

  • an interactive tool for browsing, grouping, and shopping for art
  • a revamped GUI and simple “drag and drop” functionality for a fun, easy experience 
  • easy-change framing styles and matting options
  • lots of wall paint colors to play around with
  • discovery functionality to find similar works 
  • tools for Interior designers (export itemized art grouping proposal to PDF — with or without pricing — which can be easily shared with customers)


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What do you think?

  1. Kara says:

    Hey! Thanks for sharing the process. I know I’ve definitely felt stuck before and not known how to move in the right direction. This is different then what you suggested but maybe rich blue for the bottom walls like this color. They call is French blue.

  2. Paige says:

    I love the larger picture frame, but I can’t figure out how to buy it on the Artfully Walls site. Do they still sell frames and if so, do they sell them separate from the prints? I’ve searched the internet too but can’t find this frame elsewhere. Help!

  3. Kristi says:

    Does the bigger piece always go on the bottom? What are your spacing recommendations for hanging above a toilet- 6in?
    I think the pieces you picked are perfect for your daughter!!
    (I cannot believe people weigh in on you picking decor for YOUR children -_-)
    Thank you for all you endure so we can glean from your creativity!!

  4. How nice to stumble upon my dune painting here! I love the combination with the orange by Pavel.

  5. amanda sejnowski says:

    Lovely! But I’m confused, in this giant house is there not a designated guest room? I guess I need to look back at the floor plans.

    • Julia says:

      There’s a guest room in the basement but when we had Chris’s brother’s family stay with us it was more convenient for them to all be in the same room.

  6. Colleen says:

    Hi Julia, a few years back you made and sold some of your own pieces, just wondering if you still do your own and if you have it hanging in your new home

  7. Christina says:

    I love the art you chose as well as the pairing recommendations. So helpful! How do you determine whether or not to use a mat? Are there any situations where you should always/never use a mat?

  8. Vicki says:

    Oh, you featured one of my favorite artists, Janet Hill, in your fun duos! I love her sometimes mysterious, sometimes story-telling work that is almost always whimsically nostalgic but painted in the manner of the finest art. Whether it’s a lion in the bed or mermaids in a fountain, her work always makes me smile…
    Your choices for the bath are terrific!

  9. Christina says:

    Love the art you chose and the pairings you provided. So helpful! How do you determine whether or not to mat a piece? Is there ever a situation where you should always/never opt for a mat?

  10. NM says:

    These are so cool – what a great idea. Look so lovely in your bathroom. Those frames tie so nicely into your floor and vanity.

  11. Melissa says:

    Love this post! However, I’ve noticed you don’t put many pictures of family up. Is that a design decision or personal preference?

    • Julia says:

      We actually do! We had a whole gallery wall in our last dining room, blown up portraits in our family room and lots of framed photo moments above my desk, in the pantry, in the girls rooms! I love to make it personal.

  12. Amanda says:

    Love this post! I struggle with choosing art and to be honest, enjoying it sometimes. I really want to choose art that makes me happy each time I look at it and feels right in the room it lives in.

    Can’t wait to check out this website.

  13. #8 by Janet Hill. Love her. I have Miss Moon Was A Dog Governess. Lesson Fourteen: Give A Warm Welcome in my daughters room and I am currently sourcing her art for the girls bathroom as well. Love it!!

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