o you’ve collected your favorite works and finally planned out the perfect gallery wall, but wait. Before you pick up the hammer and nails, a different idea might be to forgo the hangers altogether. Instead of hanging your artwork, why not display your coveted prints, paintings, prized photography, or other framed (or unframed) works against the wall, the mantel, the cabinet, or even on the floor? In other words, leaning your artwork could be just what your space needs.
Leaning your artwork instead of hanging it can be thoughtful and pulled together, meaning just the kind of mood any home would want to replicate. Plus, it’s a great way to mix things up—which is great if you’re not set on just one specific look. Per one designer to Architectural Digest, “This allows for a constant and easy rotation of what is displayed, where and how.” To see what we mean, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite examples of how and where to lean your art—from the fireplace to the floor—to showcase how it’s done.
On the Bookshelf
There’s something undeniably cool about displaying your art where book spines would normally be. To complete the aesthetic, these stacked shelves double as the perfect centerpiece for framed (and note, leaned) photographs and other objects. And the thing is, you don’t have to lean just one piece—you can opt to layer multiple pieces, like a smaller piece in front of a larger one (or a framed and non-framed selection) for a combined fresh take. Layering also adds depth and dimension.
On the Cabinet
You could choose to display your favorite decorative objects on the cabinet, or you could lean your prized paintings here instead. We’re opting for the latter, especially if it’s an oversized piece. For example, we love how Los Angeles art dealer John Wolf casually leaned this piece behind the formal, gilded table lamps, adding a lived-in vibe to the space.
On the Mantel
The mantel over your home’s fireplace is the perfect place for displaying art, and we especially like this location for your most favorite focal piece because the shelf space is the ideal width and height to line them up (meaning eye-level, according to many decorating experts). You can opt to mix various other objects around them too. We love how this one is sitting unpretentiously between two sconces.
On the Floor
For another example of this cool, artsy home décor trend, try leaning your artwork on the floor. It all comes down to the way you style it. For example, to avoid your space looking like you’ve forgotten to hang your art, try leaning multiple pieces together (like a collection), or pairing them with some plants to tie the look together.
Large pieces work best here, but your smaller prints will look just as homey too.
Other ideas to try leaning your art might include adding a leaning piece to a shelf vignette to create the illusion of more height, pairing it with hanging art to pep up a collection, or leaning a piece against tricky surfaces to add some flair.