Choosing art for your home can be an art in itself. You may fall in love with a work of art, only to bring it home and discover that for some reason it loses its impact when you hang it on your wall or it just looks out of place. Choosing art for your home isn't high art, though. If you follow a few basic principles of interior design, you can choose art you love that will flatter the artwork, your interior and your sense of style.
There are two reasons for choosing art:
- Because you love the work of art.
- As an aspect of interior decor.
If you're going to be hanging the art in your home, you have to carefully consider both of these reasons. When an interior decorator
chooses art for a home, office or accommodation, the artwork itself is usually secondary to its role as an enhancement to a room's appearance. There may be one or a combination of reasons why an interior decorator will decide a wall needs a work of art or other hanging:
- A large, blank wall will need something to fill the space.
- A small room will need something to make it appear larger.
- A painting may be needed to complete a colour scheme.
Even if the decorator is creating a theme around a work of art, the other aspects of choosing art are still important. The size and shape of a wall will make a big difference to how a painting looks on the wall. As a general rule:
- A small painting on a large wall looks even smaller. It may be a great work of art, but against a large background, it appears insignificant and the wall still appears to be blank.
- The painting and the wall should be of nearly equal proportions. A long, narrow artwork (such as a Japanese scroll) looks perfect on a tall, narrow wall. A painting that is wider than it is tall is best against a wall that is also wider than it is tall.
- If you want to hang smaller paintings or photographs on a large wall, it will work if you consider their proportions as a group in relation to the wall.
If you've ever wondered why so many hotel rooms have landscapes hanging behind their beds, it's because the perspective in a landscape makes a room look larger. If you're looking for art for a small room or narrow room, it needn't be a landscape, but it should have depth. A flat, 2 dimensional painting will do nothing to make the room look larger and may even tend to dominate the room rather than become an integral part of it.
A modern work of art in primary colours rarely works in antique setting. This is because of the clash of muted colours of antique or period furnishings and textiles versus the bright colours of the painting and not because the art and the room furnishings are from different periods.
What if You've Chosen "Art for Art's Sake"?
If you simply can't live without a particular work of art, you may need to make some changes to accommodate it:
- If you can't find a wall for it, consider displaying it on an easel. An easel creates a focal point for the art and minimises its impact on the room or the room's impact on it.
- If you want your wall to be a backdrop for your art, do as galleries do and paint a feature wall white or off-white.
- Focus lighting on the art rather than rely on room lighting.
- If the stylistic focus of the room is going to be your art, keep furnishings to a minimum and choose minimalist furnishings. Ornate furniture distracts from the art.
When an interior decorator chooses art for a public space, they either choose art that will have wide appeal or art that reflects the image a business wishes to convey. When choosing art for your home, choose it because of its appeal to you. Chances are, it will naturally fit in with your interior decor, since both are reflections of your personal sense of style. If not, you needn't repaint and redecorate your entire living room or bedroom to make it fit in. Just follow these tips, consider the setting as a whole and find the solution that works in your home.