Few things lend warmth and elegance to a room like framed artwork. But, let's be honest: Fine art can be expensive. And if you're just starting out in a new apartment or have moved into a larger home, you need a way to add artwork without breaking your budget. The good news is, adding interest to your walls can be as easy as looking under your feet.
Rugs as art
Intricately patterned Oriental carpets, delicate French Aubusson, or Native American inspired carpets make fine wall hangings. Rugs stand out and can soften up a brick or stone wall, or a wide open expanse of space. If you have vaulted ceilings, a rug or runner hung horizontally can visually bring down the tall room scale. Or, hang a rug vertically in a stairwell or along a large wall.
Hanging rugs can pose a challenge, but some simple tricks can make the chore easier. The first option is to create a hanging runner by measuring a 1-foot-by-2-foot piece of stock lumber. Cut to the width of the carpet. Cut an equal length of carpet tacking board and nail into the one by two. Drill and attach the one by two into studs in the wall where you want to hang the carpet.
Once the runner is up, hang the carpet on it, making sure the rug grabs onto the carpet tack. If you need something more secure, or if you're carpet is quite heavy, try a specialty hanger, such as the Zbar hanger made specifically for hanging carpets (zbarhanger.com).
Fabric on the wall
If you've inherited a beautiful handmade quilt, why not display it rather than keep it folded in a drawer or closet? Quilts can be hung in the same places as rugs, or they can hung behind a bed to create an instant focal point in the bedroom. They can even be folded, hung on a ladder and leaned against a wall.
There are a variety of ways to hang quilts. Because these are delicate, handmade pieces, you want to take special care in hanging them and, for that reason, it's a good idea to use a specialty quilt hanger that won't damage the fabric, like a ladder or a compression bar (http://www.gwizpro.com/).
Don't have any quilts or striking rugs? Today's fabric stores carry a variety of tapestry-like fabrics and upholstery fabrics that when hemmed and hung on a wall can create a fabulous focal point. Search for a fabric that works with your decor.
Fabric remnants are another choice as wall hangings. First, hem all four sides with fusing tape. Then create a large pocket to hang on a drapery rod, or use a tapestry rod and clips to hang the piece (Overstock.com). Presto, you have instant artwork for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site, http://www.redlotusletter.com.)