Joanna Thornhill's Top Tips on how to place art in a 'Home For Now'

Posted in The Art-Isms by Charlotte Broomfield on 15th May 2014

Joanna Thornhill is a freelance interiors stylist and writer. She founded the award winning style blog, Stylist's Own and her first book, Home for Now was published in April 2014. We catch up with Joanna and ask her how she thinks art can play a part in creating a stylish and personal look in a rented space.

Q1: Jo, you've just released your new book 'Home for Now' - which is totally exciting. Tell us a bit about it.
Thanks! It's designed specifically to provide decorating, craft/DIY and styling ideas for renters, first-time buyers and basically anyone who's living in a property they don't view as their "forever" home. Although, this being said, lots of the ideas are applicable, whatever your circumstance! It can be frustrating reading beautiful interiors books and magazines and not being able to recreate the lovely ideas on show. Many people are reluctant to make big changes to a home they may only stay in for a few years or do not want to risk their deposit, as they are low on funds, so interior design can take a backbench. With property prices going crazy in the UK, many people seem to be renting for longer. Through both my personal experiences as a serial-renter-turned-first-time-buyer, and my freelance work as an interiors stylist and writer, I've picked up lots of home-for-now-friendly decorating tips and thought there would be others out there who would find this useful. Touch wood the book's been selling very well, so it seems like they are!
Q2: How do you think Art can be used to decorate a home for now?
Art makes such a difference in transforming a space. It can really make a place feel like home, and it needn't be a daunting prospect. If you're reluctant to spend a great deal, or feel unconfident when choosing your own style at the moment, stick to smaller prints, which you can dot about your home or use to build up a gallery wall of multiple smaller pieces. This way you can add to it slowly as your budget allows. Try mixing in a few not-strictly-speaking-art pieces, too, such as a cool sheet of giftwrap, an interesting vintage map or even a favourite greetings card, to help tie the look together on minimal funds. I only recently got round to hanging a group of pictures in my living room and was amazed at how it instantly made the space tie together and feel more like home - I wish I'd gotten round to it sooner!

Art wall at Hannah Ricci's house
As seen in Home for now

Art wall at Saija Starr's house
As seen in Home for now


Q3: One thing we find that can be a real pain for our customers who are renting their properties is that, nails in the wall for hanging their art can be problematic. Any suggestions?
I think it's a common misconception to think that a no-nails-in-walls policy means no-art-at-home, but there are numerous ways around this sticking point. Here's a few ideas to try as a workaround:
1. Look out for Command picture hooks and picture hanging strips - they can hold artworks of varying sizes. You attach them with sticky pads to your walls and they can be removed without a trace by simply pulling the tab at the back. 
2. For unframed prints, create a more casual look by tacking them straight to the wall with decorative Japanese Washi tape - this clever masking tape looks pretty but is also removable from both your prints and walls without causing any damage. Try this for a great selection.
3. Opt for canvas artworks. These are generally much lighter than prints framed behind glass, you can often get away with hanging them on a single nail rather than requiring heavy-duty fixings, or you can simply lean them up against the wall without having to worry about them breaking if knocked.
4. Find a large piece of wood that can be leant up against the wall or supported behind a large piece of furniture like a sofa. A painted sheet of MDF or even a characterful old door would work, then use that as a background to attach artworks to, rather than the walls themselves.

get started on your own gallery wall:

Geoffery Ansel Agrons

Image for a Landscape
David Ferry

Man & Woman and piece of life in 01

022 Mote Dust
Niki Hare

Unseen II


Jo's book is being sold world wide. To find out how to get hold of it click HERE. And if you want to keep track of the best in Art and Design, Take our ART STYLE QUIZ and BECOME A MEMBER. It is free and you'll get access to the best new art from top Museums, Galleries and Artists.