Design Inspiration

6 Times Supersize Portraiture Felt Oh So Right

Why stare at an empty expanse of a white wall when you can hang gallery-quality artwork that will always keep you company? Supersize portraits of favorite people, even family members, have the potential to add drama to a room in one bold decorating move. What’s more, you’ll never feel alone!

Visit local gallery exhibitions and keep an eye out for artworks featuring faces, preferably choosing modern works that use contemporary techniques, such as photo silkscreening, posterization, low-relief oil painting or monochromatic watercolor painting. Alternatively, commission a favorite artist to produce work specific to your home.

1. Choosing a portrait with a vibrant background color can flood a cool, open living space with a feeling of warmth

Red modern portrait in kitchen
The Room Illuminated, original photo on Houzz

This floor-to-ceiling portrait, with its blood-red surround, has an interesting history. To celebrate her 10th year in her house in Melbourne, Australia, Ramona Audrey had artist Barry Drinan paint a mural of one of her favorite artists, Antony from the New York band Antony and the Johnsons.

2. A portrait pair in mint green feels fresh and graphic in this Sydney home

Portraiture 2: ANNA CARIN Design , original photo on Houzz
ANNA CARIN Design , original photo on Houzz

Interior designer Anna-Carin McNamara has taken care to both soothe and inspire in the choices she has made to decorate her own home in Bondi Junction, Sydney. Presiding over all meals in the dining room are two large photographic prints in mint green, on loan from a friend who purchased the portraits from a Hong Kong gallery.

10 Easy Ways to Display Printed Photographs

3. Antiquity meets industrial modern in this stunning bathroom

Portraiture 3: MINOSA, original photo on Houzz
MINOSA, original photo on Houzz

In the bathroom of this large home in Dover Heights, Sydney, a massive mosaic titled “Endimione” forms an image of a serene face from the likeness of an ancient deity. Carlo Dal Bianco designed the mural for Bisazza using the company’s distinctive glass tiles. Mood lighting and a slim vanity enhance the powerful impact of the mural in this artfully sublime space, created by bathroom design company Minosa.

4. Up ‘Close’ and personal with Chuck (get it?)

Portraiture 4: Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz
Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz

A Chuck Close self-portrait dominates the living space in this bright Lake Shore Drive property in Chicago, decorated by Tom Stringer Design Partners. As the general interior design palette for furniture and furnishings is a mix of grays and browns, including taupe, and the walls are white, a shot of color by way of provocative artwork adds focus and drama.

Put Art in the Spotlight With Track Lighting

5. Close-cropped black and white photographs resemble tonal abstracts in this California pad

Portraiture 5: Chloe Warner, original photo on Houzz

These superrealist photographs have been cropped so tightly that only the facial features of the subjects are on show. They were created by American photographer Sally Mann and are hung in a house in California decorated by Chloe Warner for Redmond Aldrich Design.

 You, too, can create something impressive out of favorite family pics just by using novel filters and effects readily available via photo apps on computers and smartphones.

Ask a Local Decorator How to Incorporate Portraiture in Your Home

6. Bardot in high contrast adds instant glamour to this London kitchen

 Portraiture 6: Maxwell & Company Architects, original photo on Houzz
Maxwell & Company Architects, original photo on Houzz

This modern kitchen for a townhouse in London’s Chelsea area was designed by Maxwell & Company Architects. The famous portrait of French actress Brigitte Bardot smoking a slim cigar while in Spain was taken by photographer Terry O’Neill in 1971. The high-contrast shot is perfect for a contemporary home in the city.

Want to add an oversize portrait to your space, but don’t know where to begin? Contact our Free Art Advisory Service and let one of Saatchi Art’s expert curators find the perfect artwork for your style and budget.

About the Author

Houzz Australia Editorial Staff; writer, author, dreamer.