Starting from Square Two: Basing Design on the Photo Canvas

There are as many ways to approach interior design as there are homes to be renovated. Everyone, from professional designers to enthusiastic amateur DIY home-owners has an entry point to their design. For some, it’s the colour palette. For others, it’s a piece of furniture they create the space around. And for some, it’s a photo in a magazine that they want to replicate as closely as possible.


Almost no one starts with what most designers would consider the ‘small stuff’ – the bric-a-brac on the shelves, or the choices of photo canvas on the walls. But what if those elements weren’t quite so small? Designing your entire room around the wall art might seem crazy at first blush, but when you think about it a little, it asserts itself as a legitimate – and wildly creative – approach.

Photo Canvas: Start Big

The key to this approach is to start off with clear, committed choices for the wall art. This isn’t an area you can be vague in – you have to have a very defined idea at minimum, and preferably a chosen set of images to work with.

You have to think big: Don’t choose photos that will be small in scale. Choose images that can be made into big, bold photo canvas prints that will dominate at least one wall in the room. Make sure your choices have a defined colour palette to them, because you’ll be using that palette in the rest of the design.

The Jumping Off Point

Once you’ve selected your photos, imagine where you will place them in the room. Keeping them together in a defined layout will work best from an interior design point of view, and allow the rest of your vision to radiate out from that focal point – and since it will be a focal point, make sure your design centres on that spot and draws the eye there.


Then, take your cue from those high-impact images:

  • Colour scheme: You can go two ways. One, you can choose the dominant colour in the photos and use that, creating a cohesive and powerful effect. Two, you can go for a complementary colour, which will feel more sophisticated and subtle.
  • Furniture: Choose furniture that will work around your installation. Don’t choose anything that fights with the images or takes away from their impact. Go geometric – you’re basing everything on the squared lines of the photos.
  • Accessories: Choose items that are either real-life representations of the objects depicted in the photos or which could be in the photos. Imagine the photos as three-dimensional spaces and ask yourself: What’s behind that wall? What’s in that cabinet? What would I find if I dug in that spot? Then choose those imagined objects to decorate your room.

Starting with the wall art might seem risky – but it’s really just an inverse of the traditional approach. As with all inversions, it can take you down routes you don’t see when travelling the expected path – but were always there.

When you’ve decided to take this bold step, choose your images and then click here and we’ll get you started with the best possible prints.