How Real Men Decorate Their Walls

Nail the perfect blend of photos, prints, and other mementos.

A man's home should project uniqueness, individuality, and comfort—and the single greatest way he can achieve that is to maximize his wallspace with super cool, undeniably handsome, and really meaningful wall art. But you needn't take it from us. Take it from famed interior designer, author, and TV personality Nate Berkus. Here he provides his four-step plan for turning any home into something you can't wait to show off. (After all, when you bring her back for a nightcap, you'll want everything to be in tip-top shape.)

The Wall Art

wall art

First, look through your collection of art, photographs, and mementos, and select five, seven, nine, or 11 images that conjure the biggest smiles. I've found that an odd number of images—and a variety of sizes, frame colors, and mats—create a good balance that's more forgiving and engaging than any kind of institutional-style uniformity.

The Formula

Wall art

Then follow this formula, which has always worked for me: Combine a favorite piece of wall art (anything from your kid's first finger painting to an Audubon print), a few old photos (think vintage black-and-white family portraits or bright beach shots), and a couple of mementos with strong sentimental value (such as your tickets to the Inaugural Ball or honeymoon boarding passes).

The Preparation

wall art

Before you start hanging your frames, cut their shapes out of brown packing paper and play with their arrangement on the wall, using painter's tape to hold the cutouts in place and spacing adjacent edges two to four inches apart. This will help you get a sense of the overall design—the big picture, so to speak—before you commit to it. You'll know when you have an arrangement that works.

The Final Touch

man hanging wall art

When you do, start hanging the frames, using a level to make sure the top edges aren't slanted, then discard the corresponding paper silhouettes. This is also a great way to start a collection, because it makes you think in terms of clusters and how disparate pieces of wall art can complement each other.

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