Hanging Out: Art Over the Sofa

Displaying works of art over the sofa is sometimes seen as a decorating cliche, redolent of suburban blandness and unadventurous taste. But it sure doesn’t have to be that way, as these six examples show:

Black and white photographs on a shelf above a sofa in a living room by Laura Bohn

Laura Bohn:  An intimate spot is created in this living room by displaying black and white photographs on a low shelf behind a sofa strewn with silk pillows. A Tolomeo lamp from Artemide provides good, atmospheric light.

A large print photograph on canvas of a flower behind a sofa in a living room by Susan Huckvale Arann

Susan Huckvale Arann: An enormous photograph of a brilliant red carnation, printed on canvas and hung behind a tailored white sofa, makes a fabulously dramatic, mood-setting statement in this light and airy space.

A Jacques Lipschitz cubist paster, circa 1925, a small drawing by Roy Lichtenstein, circa 1965, and an Abstract Expressionist work on paper by Franz Kline grouped above a sofa in a living room by Glenn Gissler

Glenn Gissler: Too small to hang alone, a Cubist pastel circa 1925 by Jacques Lipschitz is grouped with a tiny but important drawing circa 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein and a work on paper by Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline, making for a visually, historically, and intellectually interesting installation.

A contemporary painting by Janet Fish above a neo-classical Duncan Phyfe sofa in a Ron Bricke living room

Ron Bricke: A vivid, contemporary still-life painting by Janet Fish juxtaposed against the elegantly restrained neoclassical  lines of a traditional Duncan Phyfe sofa creates a fresh visual impact in this living room.

A large 19th-century English dog oil painting in its original hand-carved gold-leaf frame from the William Secord Gallery is an unexpected element in a modern Central Park West living room by Bruce Bierman

Bruce Bierman: A monumental 19th-century English dog painting in its original hand-carved gold-leaf frame from the William Secord Gallery is the marvelously unexpected center piece of this sleek, modern space on Central Park West.

In a family room by Glenn Gissler, art by the kids in the house hangs over the sofa

Glenn Gissler: In a family room  framed art by the kids of the house is treated with respect and hung above the sofa. Throw pillows covered in antique kente cloth and brightly colored Moderne lamps help reinforce the playful spirit.