5 Things That You Can Hang on a Wall (That Aren't Paintings)
Photo: Libby Follis
Other options: Whirligigs, mechanical banks, soft dolls or old brightly colored seltzer bottles
How to try it: EBay and flea markets are obvious places to start; National Geographic's online store has Chinese terra-cotta statues, as well as handicrafts from countries such as Guatemala and Zimbabwe.
One last thing: Check the width of the object and make sure it can sit on a shelf no wider than 4.5 inches (any more than that and it will look awkward). Heavier objects need to sit on a shelf anchored to a stud in the wall. You'll want to avoid placing objects in high-traffic hallways, above a child's bed or anywhere they could be knocked over.
Photo: Jamie Mertz
Other options: Flags, kimonos
How to try it: One-of-a-kind items, like these scrolls, can often be found at salvage yards. But you can also find original street signs on eBay (maybe even from your hometown), or new versions of vintage New York subway signs at Restoration Hardware.
One last thing: We used brackets for the scrolls, but a wooden dowel would work just as well. Soft items can also be pressed between sheets of acrylic, and lightweight items can be secured with clear pushpins.
Photo: Jamie Mertz
Other options: Venetian or theatrical masks, helmets and swords
How to try it: Novica.com (which has an association with National Geographic) sells masks from artisans around the world, including Peru, Ghana and Mali. Other ideas for three-dimensional pieces include vintage sports equipment, such as varnished wooden skis, painted wooden tennis rackets, wooden golf clubs or fishing rods and vintage creel fishing baskets. As mentioned, check eBay, Craigslist and garage sales for affordable options.
One last thing: A $2 wooden golf club from Goodwill with zero sentimental value can go anywhere, but more valuable items shouldn't be hung in a bathroom: Steam, along with the harsh cleaning products often used in that space, can damage pieces.
Photo: Peggy Kross
Other options: Vintage evening bags, old hand mirrors
How to try it: You probably have all that you need right in your cupboard. You'll also find one-off dishes to mix and match at flea markets and on eBay; also keep an eye out for designer collaborations with stores such as Target (John Derian, Liberty of London and Missoni have done plates for the company).
One last thing: We like adhesive Plate Hangers by J&Y Crossman, which are labeled for plates of different weights or sizes (available at Amazon.com or at local china shops). While you'll often see plates arranged in parallel rows, hanging them in a circular or diamond pattern, or in uneven rows can be a little more visually snappy. You want to leave no more than 1 1/2 to 2 inches between the plates, so lay them out on the floor first. Groupings of threes and fives work best.
Photo: Drew Ebbing
Other option: Sailing charts
How to try it: This idea can easily be translated for a child's bedroom (with sports figures) or a family room (with iconic buildings from around the world). This is a good option for a specific or hard-to-fit space.
One last thing: Printed murals aren't inexpensive, but for a similar effect, you could layer sailing charts—which are more affordable and typically large enough to cover a lot of wall space.
Libby Follis and Drew Ebbing founded Gifted Interiors Ltd in 1988 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.
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