Free Up Your Wallspace. What to do with old artworks clogging up your hanging space.

Do you still have your children’s drawings from nursery school on your walls? – Are they 99% faded with the frame partly broken but you can’t bear to take them down as he/she just left for university?  I understand, truly I do.    This post is about having the courage to take a fresh look at the art on your walls and ask yourself the question – are they still relevant to me?  It’s absolutely fine to love them but is it necessary for them to still be on your wall - in that broken frame?

We are surrounded by stuff.  Stuff is wonderful, it is our personal collection of treasured items gathered over years of being alive – on the other hand, stuff can become overbearing and stressful to live in day after day.

Samantha Barnes animal artist, dog portrait painter, interior design


There is much reading that we can find on the internet and magazines about stuff and what to do with it.  This post isn’t about directing you in any particular way, more to encourage you to take a gentle look and see through fresh eyes what you have been living with for years.

At exhibitions and shows over the years I have conversations with people, which go something like this:

“I LOVE that picture, it’s beautiful – I just don’t have anywhere to put it, my house is full to the brim of art”   

Even when others are offering to buy this lovely picture for them, they stand fast, stuck with their perceived problem of having “absolutely nowhere to put it”.   

I hear this conversation often and have suggestions that might, gleaned over years of dealing with art in our homes.

Perhaps we could start with a small game?  It’s fun.

Pen and paper in hand, take a minute to look at the room that you are now in. Look about you and make a note of the following questions

1.     How many pieces of art do you have in the room that you are sitting in right        now?

2.     How many are there because they have emotional value?  E.g., a child’s drawing or memento of some kind  (remember we are talking artwork, not photographs). 

3.     How many pieces do you have on your wall that cost you a lot of money?

4.     Write down the number of pieces that are large, small and medium.

5.     Over the years, how many of the works in your room have you had reframed

As I asked these questions, it only fair that I answer them too - scroll down to see mine.

How did you get on? 

Interesting isn’t it?  Seeing the art you own in an objective light.

I have some suggestions that might help.  

Free up your wallspace by Animal Artist Samantha bArnes,

Below are some of the ideas that we used to give our clients when I had my gallery.  We used to offer rehangs of clients existing artworks.    Don’t tackle them all on at once, perhaps just give them some thought for a while and see which one is right for you.

Making Space On Your Walls.

Buy Yourself A Portfolio & Some Plastic Wrap, perfect for Sneaky Storage.  You will need:

  • A1 Portfolio with a zip
  • Some Clear Plastic Wrap from your local florist
  • Scissors & Selotape/Sticky tape

A quick internet search for an a1 portfolio took me here.  A portfolio is simple a folder that can be stored in your attic or under your bed.  I would go for an A1 portfolio (measurements of 594 x 841 mm) don’t be tempted to purchase the plastic envelopes that go into the frame, they are nice but expensive and this is where your florist wrap comes in.

The next time you are in town, go into your local florist and ask them if they will kindly buy you a roll of Clear Florist Wrap from the flower market which they all have to attend at least twice a week.

A cellophane wrap roll is about 60 or 80cm long and heavy so be sure to organize travel home when you collect it.  It shouldn’t cost you any more than £20.   You could buy yourself some flowers too by way of thanking your florist.  They may be surprised by your request but don’t worry, I’ve always found florists to be helpful when asked if they will do this for me.

When you have the portfolio, the wrap and some tape, you are set to go.

Gather the works that you are going to take down from the walls (but you are going to keep forever) and gently take out the art out from inside of the frame. Be careful of broken glass, it could be more fragile than you think and if you are struggling, put it to one side and take it to your local framer and ask them to remove it (or them) for you.

Once the artworks are free, move the frames to one side (to take to the recycling centre next time you go) and make a pile of the artworks you are going to store.

Take each of the pieces you have deframed and individually wrap them up in the cellophane, securing all the sides with selotape.  Use lots of cellowrap covering both the back and the front in order to protect the artwork.

You might like to add some notes too –  who did them and when, etc.  Then add them to your cellowrapped artworks and put them all lovingly into your portfolio one on top of another, ready to be stored. 

You’ll be amazed at how many works you can store in one zipped up portfolio.

Digital Imaging of Your Childs Art

There are some really brilliant ways of storing boxes and boxes of old artworks, particularly children’s drawings digitally.  You can make printed books of your children’s artworks, the theory being that you can ‘lose’ the originals.  I’m not overly sure I would have the heart to do this - but it’s certainly an option.

Some of the Companies I found that offer this service are:    ArtKive  Doodle Nest  

Each drawing will need to be digitally recorded, either by scanning or photographing.  Scanning will lead to a much better image but I imagine it to be time-consuming to say the least.

A Simple Rehang of Your Artworks

 This final option is probably the easiest but may not tackle the actual problem of having too much work on your walls. 

The idea is very simple, take a good look at all your works and then reorganize away.    You could put some of them into a drop, perhaps take some out altogether but be careful not to prop them up against the wall thinking that you ‘will sort them out later’ I know that one all too well and it is likely to lead to sore toes as you crash into them, damaged artworks and frustration at seeing them all piled up.

You might also want to be aware that rehanging artworks often leads to repainting walls – completing the refresh as it were.  This is not a must at all, hang your artworks to cover the dings!

Thank you for reading my post and I hope you find it of use.

My own answers to the art-in-the-room questions are below.  1) 10 pieces  2)  Emotional Value 2 3) Cost alot 5  4) Large 2, Small 1, Medium 5 5) 0

Best wishes, Samantha

I have some more ideas about your rehanging options, which I’ll post up soon.  If you have any questions, I am happy to answer, simply leave a comment below.

Social Shares really help too, thanks.