Tag Archives: color blocks

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Make your Artwork Pop with Color Blocks

19 Feb

Did you know that the famous Vermeer painting The Girl with the Pearl Earring is only 18″x15″?  And that the average house size is almost 2500 square feet? That can be a lot of wall space to fill, and you certainly don’t want your TGWTPE drowning in a sea of plaster on your 10″ tall wall. Nor do most of us want to invest in the Guernica just to fill space (among other reasons, it’s not the happiest painting in the world). So we turned to Austin interior designer Robin Callan of Room Fu Interiors who inspired this week’s tip.

Pro Tip


Pop! This simple blue background makes the piece stand out and also fills up space.

To make a small piece of artwork fill up more space visually, paint a color block behind it to give it an extra frame.  This serves to both fill up the wall, and emphasize the artwork through the strategic use of color.  In this example Room Fu was asked to spice up a long, boring entry hall without investing in a lot of new items.  By painting a coordinating block behind the artwork, it reads as a much bigger piece and adds some much-needed interest to the hallway (see the original post here).  To pick a shade, try pulling a tertiary color out of the piece you’re highlighting to give it depth.  Fortunately, paint is cheap, so you can afford to make a mistake or two before you get it right.  Room Fu’s example here is bold, but you could also consider just a shade or two lighter or darker than the wall color for a more subtle accent.  The more ambitious could even consider trying to frame the block with molding, although you’d have to be careful not to get too busy.

Below are a few other examples from the world wide web; doing wonders for a plain mirror, a small clock and a tiny portrait (click on the images for the original posts). So dig out that tiny priceless (or not so priceless) piece from the attic, grab a paintbrush and go to town.

Color block behind art

The tiny clock takes up the whole wall now.

Color block behind mirror

Same great color as Room Fu’s example, perking up a plain mirror.