A vase, a painting, a statue…
when we think of home decorating, these usually come to mind. But I wonder how often we consider a wall, mantel or floor clock instead? These may not leap out at first because we’re so used to clocks as functional things and we can overlook their aesthetic appeal. But thinking of a clock as a piece of art and as an expression of our personality, our approach to decorating will surely be different. A well chosen timepiece becomes part of the ensemble of the furnishings of a room. Traditionally, clocks have been used for centuries to beautify a home and imbue it with atmosphere and character. With so many shapes, textures, sizes and designs, their versatility works very well in any style of decor whether it’s traditional, contemporary, country, whimsical, vintage or ultra-modern.
Where do you begin when decorating with clocks…
and are there any general rules to follow? I asked Darsi Floersh, an award winning senior interior designer with O’Hara Interior Designs. She said “There is no fixed formula in the approach. But what I have found to work best in choosing a timepiece is to keep in mind these four aspects in relation to the elements of the room: color, shape, style and proportion. My experience in using clocks for various motifs is that they’re highly versatile and complimentary, and with so many to choose from, in the end the only real way to find what works is to try it. Use your eye and trust your artistic instincts. You might be very surprised. And if you get down to the final finishing touches in a room and you’re stumped about what to put there, a clock can often be the answer. Sometimes it’s those unplanned final finishing touches that become the most important element of the overall design.”
So take a look around your home. As you’re doing that…
think about color, shape, style and proportion. Then just choose a timepiece that you feel represents you, one that will enhance your decor…and sit back and enjoy the interest and beauty it adds to your room. Sometimes decorating with a clock can be as simple as hanging it in place of a painting, but there are many other ways to decorate with clocks as you’ll see below.
We’ve all seen photo and art galleries. But then there is a different kind of gallery, the clock gallery, where a grouping of clocks are arranged on a wall in a variety of ways. Clock galleries have become a trend in interior decorating and there are so many creative display possibilities. Here are a few ideas:
Design Feature Gallery
Have you a wall or hallway that needs a new tempo? Create a gallery of clocks by arranging various sizes and shapes in an interesting pattern. If you already have an art or photo gallery in your home, add a clock or two for variety and interest. In the photo on the right, a varied assortment of styles of large wall clocks creates a dramatic display that enhances the rustic exposed brick.
Time Zone Gallery
Here is a fun idea that keeps memories warm. If you have favorite vacation spots abroad, hang several wall clocks to display the different time zones. It’ll keep you connected to those places whenever you see the clock.
Bliss Image Gallery
Long-distance: If you have people you care about living far away you can set the clocks to their time zones and think about them whenever you check the hour. One loving mother who has three sons living abroad has hung three clocks all in a row showing the time in India, London and Chicago.
Children’s Birth Times: Want to celebrate important moments? Set the clock hands to display the exact time of the births of each of your children or grandchildren. Depending on the type of clock you have, battery operated or mechanical, stopping the time is easily done by removing the battery or by not winding the clock. You can also hang photographs above the clocks to create a clock-photo combination display.
Focal Point of a Room
Did you know that a clock doesn’t always have to “blend in” to the theme of a room? There are a variety of creative ways to give your clock “center stage”. Here are a few suggestions:
Location: some locations within a room are more obvious than others. Pick a prominent spot that frequently catches your eye and place your clock there. One way to do that is by putting it directly across from the entryway so that it’s the very first thing you see when you enter the room.
Size: Chic over-sized wall clocks like our 30″, 36″ and 49″ sizes are real attention-getters. Sometimes a large clock is all that’s needed to create a stunning effect on a room.
Color and Tone: Want to draw attention and stir up fun in rooms? Bright colored clocks are a great way to do that. Especially if you have mostly neutral colors. And in a room full of solids, a busy patterned clock can add texture and pop. Color can also be used to tie a room together. For example, a maroon clock can bring out the maroon color in the pattern of an easy chair or sofa. And placing a dark colored clock on a white or light colored wall is an eye-catching option; or if your wall has a dark tone, place a light colored clock. Painters do it all the time. One dark spot of color put in an area of light can bring the needed emphasis and contrast to the painting. Play around with the color, shape or pattern of your clocks and see what a pleasing arrangement you can make.
Mixing It Up: The rules of keeping the decor of a room within a consistent time have become flexible. So you can use a traditional period clock as a focal point in a contemporary period room.
Shy? Reluctant to take the plunge and put a bold or unusual clock in the middle of your living room? Then try it in a family room, den or home office.
One good pointer to follow when placing a clock on a shelf is make sure that your clock is a different size than other objects on the shelf. That size variation will create more visual interest and flow.
Clocks and books make a great combination on a shelf, bookcase and of course a fireplace mantle. They can be used as bookends to hold a vertical row of books. Two or three clocks can also be positioned asymmetrically on top of horizontally stacked books. You can get pretty creative by selecting the size and color of the clock based on the size and color of the books. Antique clocks also look so good when mixed in with vintage books. And sometimes a table top clock or desk clock placed in just the right spot can be that perfect and needed finishing touch.
Large Wall Clocks
Do you have a high ceiling and a tall blank wall? A large wall clock not only fills the empty void but as I mentioned before it creates a center of attention. Oversize wall clocks can also be used for mantle displays when you have a sizable empty space above your fireplace. So instead of hanging the clock on the wall, just let it rest right on the top of the mantle. Make sure to securely stabilize the clock so that it doesn’t roll away. You can also hang it very low just above the mantle so that it appears to be resting on the top of the mantle.
Planning to place a wall clock on a large wall with no other wall hangings? Make sure you have a clock that is large enough so that it doesn’t look lost in the space, and be sure to hang the clock at the appropriate height (usually a little above eye level). Placing your clock too high or too low will spoil the effect in the same way that a painting loses it’s impact if it’s placed too high on a wall.
Stately Grandeur & More – Grandfather Clocks
When we think of a grandfather clock most of us picture it standing in a traditional location like a living room or an entryway or foyer. But there’s something about the design and presence of this magnificent timepiece that gives it so many decorating possibilities. It can add a touch of elegance in unlikely places such as a corner between two windows or a short span of wall space close to an open entryway. A grandfather clock can stretch or shrink our visual perception of room by making ceilings appear higher or a large room more intimate and cozy. It’s been put to use as a room divider and as an unexpected oasis to greet us on the landing of a stairway.
Warming Up – Offices & Reception Areas
A tastefully decorated office or reception area can make that first impression a positive one. And for some professionals such as consultants who meet clients on a on-on-one basis, a fine timepiece on a shelf or desk adds an inviting cordiality and relaxed charm to the atmosphere.
Take Time Out For Patios and Gardens
Outdoor wall clocks can lend elegance and a luxurious feel to just about any outdoor setting. Some multifunction models measure temperature and humidity as well. Pedestal clocks in a larger garden area can also be an unexpected addition. Brandie Morris of Electric Time Company recently told me about a pedestal clock, (better known as a “street clock”) that they have just designed for a homeowner. He plans to present the clock as a gift to his wife commemorating their wedding anniversary and the purchase of their home, both falling on the same date. The crown of the clock is inscribed with “Home Sweet Home” and the dial with the mutual date. How original!
Kinetic art is as an art form that involves motion. Because that’s such a broad definition, it encompasses many different styles of art and endless possibilities. Are clocks included? Certainly! Any analog clock with a moving pendulum is a true kinetic sculpture; the most kinetic one of all being the cuckoo clock with its ever busy cuckoo bird making its rounds in and out the door. And if the cuckoo clock features animated figurines that dance, eat, drink, chop wood and so on, then it’s that much more of a kinetic spectacle. Isn’t it good to know there’s no rule in decorating that says objects need to be perfectly still?
Not Seen But Felt
Clocks offer not just visible possibilities as decorative pieces, but something more. Get ready, because this is not the typical stuff you read in articles about decorating with clocks. So here goes. Clocks with their rhythmic ticking and swinging pendulums bring a certain universal character to a room in a way that is uniquely their own. Here’s why: rhythm is perhaps the most basic pattern in all of nature. And because the inner workings and outward movements and sounds of a clock are all based on rhythm, having a clock in a room can remind you of and connect you with that universal rhythm of nature. How’s that for bringing some ambiance to a room?
There certainly are many more ways clocks can be used than what’s discussed in this article.
Have you any ideas to add? Please tell us about them!
Photo #1 – Hermle Porcelain Mantel Clock with Flowers
Photo #2 – Hermle Mahogany Mantel Clock
Photo #3 – Four Clocks Over Fireplace -Pinterest.com
Photo #4- Clock Gallery On Brick Wall – mastenonline.blogspot.com
Photo #5 –Time Zone Gallery – houseofchicandpenoche.blogspot.ca
Photo # 6 – Dining Room – placesinthehome.com
Photo # 7 – Hermle Wall Clock with Oranges
Photo #8 – Hermle Wrought Iron Wall Clock
Photo #9 – Rombach and Haas Wall Clock with Rock Weight
Photo #10 – Mantel Clock Next To Books – raisingmightyarrows.net
Photo #11 – Large Wall Clock Over Fireplace – traditionalhome.com
3 Photos – Grandfather Clocks – traditional home.com
2 Photos – Garden Clocks – gardenornamentsdirect.com
Last Photo – Anton Schneider Cuckoo Clock