The Type Of Artwork You Should Consider Hanging Up, According To HGTV's Erin Napier

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Have you ever walked into a house and felt that it was cold or intimidating? Some houses are beautifully decorated with elegant furniture and collectible art, but that level of perfection also makes the space feel like a magazine cover rather than a home where actual people live. If you feel like your house might have that problem, Erin Napier, designer, author, and half of the husband-and-wife duo from "Home Town," has a simple solution: Hang up children's art. While everyone wants a curated house worthy of a Pinterest board, it's just as important to strike a balance between elegance and reality, and kids' art is a great way to do that.

"I never want a house to feel so elegant that it's not livable, and children's art has a way of bringing it back down to a human level," Napier said in Season 8, Episode 6 of "Home Town." In the episode, the HGTV couple renovated a historic home in Laurel, Mississippi that was an impressive blend of Craftsman and Victorian construction. They tried to restore as many of these architectural elements as possible, and Erin decorated the house with elegant finishes to match its high-brow design — but she also kept it cozy with childhood touches.

How hanging children's art humanizes your design

Displaying children's artwork in your home makes it feel more lived in by introducing playfulness to the design. Rather than worrying about creating a carefully curated art moment, you're instead hanging up something full of imagination and fun. This shows you don't treat the house like a museum or an Instagram photo but as a real place where you and your loved ones make memories. "Playfulness like that in a house like this creates a lot of personality," Erin said in the episode. 

Not only does this art make your place seem more down-to-earth, but it also introduces contrast, an important element in interior design. Sticking too closely to one theme creates a flat, one-dimensional space, whereas contrast makes a design feel more dynamic and well-rounded. You can create this contrast with everything from color to texture, but you can also introduce it via opposing styles. In this case, you're contrasting elegant, cultivated design with homey, childish scribbles, creating a playful tension.

How to introduce children's art to your design

When implementing this contrast in your own home, you don't want to simply stick the artwork on the refrigerator. Instead, display your child's artwork by taking their masterpieces and elevating them — literally and figuratively — by hanging them around the house in frames. Erin used front-opening frames such as the Li'l Davinci Art Cabinet frame, which you can get for $38 on Amazon. These frames swing open like a cabinet, allowing you to quickly swap pictures in and out without having to deconstruct the frame.

But what if you don't have children of your own? In that case, you can hang up scribbles from your nieces, nephews, younger cousins, or even your friends' kids. Just make sure they're meaningful to you, and they'll create that same sense of fun and joy. If you don't have any young children in your life, you can also display an old doodle you made in childhood yourself. It will not only be nostalgic, it will help create that same spark of playfulness.