Museums often showcase poster art from private collections.

How to Display Posters in a Chic Way

by Kathleen Berlew

Posters first appeared in 1798 with the invention of lithography as printed advertising for products, performances and theaters. But French painter and lithographer Jules Cheret -- the father of the modern poster -- changed poster art forever with his frivolous and vivid posters for theaters, music halls and cabarets. Creator of the famous Moulin Rouge posters, he turned poster advertising into an art form. Whether you collect vintage art posters, classic movie posters or posters of family vacation destinations, your poster collection does not have to stay in the attic or your family's rec room. With a little style and simple but chic display techniques, you can incorporate your cherished posters or collection into your home's decor.

1. Framing and Mounting

Your poster collection may include replicas of fine art masterpieces, but if they are tacked to the wall with pushpins, they look messy and cheap. Frame and mat posters to give them a sleek, finished look. Pick up inexpensive acrylic poster frames, available in a variety of colors, to complement contemporary decor. Their simple design pairs well with film and music posters. But for fine art or museum posters, select art frames with glass to match your decor and protect your cherished collection. Another option for creating a chic poster display involves mounting your posters. Apply spray adhesive to mount them on foam-core boards trimmed to size. The thickness of the foam-core board adds depth to the poster while leaving the edges clean and frameless.

2. Create a Gallery

One large poster may carry enough visual impact to stand alone on a wall. But a grouping of posters transforms a living room or a child's bedroom into an art gallery. Before you begin hanging a poster collection, plan the arrangement of the posters. The display must have a unifying element, such as artist, theme, and color scheme or frame style. A series of same-sized posters looks clean and sophisticated when hung at the same height. If the collection includes posters of different sizes, create a layout that visually balances small and large pieces. Sketch the layout on paper, or position the posters on the floor until you are pleased with the arrangement before hanging them on the wall.

3. Make a Mural

An oversized poster of a landscape, city skyline or piece of architecture makes a dramatic mural in a family room or foyer. Begin with a clean and smooth painted wall. Position the poster on the wall and mark guidelines for the corners lightly with pencil. Carefully cover the back of the poster with decoupage medium. With the pencil marks as a guide, position the poster on the wall and use a dry cloth to gently smooth away any bubbles, working from the inside to the outer edges. When the decoupage medium is completely dry, paint over the poster and the background wall with several coats of matte polyurethane.

4. Artistic Furnishings

Posters make low-cost, high-impact wall art, but they can also be displayed on other surfaces and furnishings. Decoupage a poster onto a boring bedroom door or a wooden tabletop in a game room. A tall dresser with drawers provides another creative option for poster display. Choose a poster the same height and width of the dresser front. Remove the hardware from the drawers. Working from top to bottom, measure the drawer fronts and cut corresponding strips from the poster. With the decoupage medium, adhere poster pieces to each drawer front; use a nail punch or dowel to poke holes through the poster for the hardware. When the drawers are dry, coat them with several coats of matte or satin polyurethane. Reattach hardware when the polyurethane is completely dry.

About the Author

Kathleen Berlew has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years. Her work has appeared in "Crafts 'n Things," “KidsCrafts” and “Crayola Kids” magazines. Berlew’s proofreading and editing credits include the books “A Gardener’s Craft Companion,” “Christmas with Mary Engelbreit” and “The Embroidered Home.”

Photo Credits

  • Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images