Choosing Artwork for your Home

Artwork is an important factor in a room design - you could have done a great job with the finish of your home but no one wants to see empty walls. However, it can be a tricky task to choose the right artwork for each space in your home. Deciding what colours, what medium, what sizes of artwork, framed or unframed and furthermore how many pieces to put and where is something that needs to be planned out carefully. At the same time, you don't want to end up with artwork that just looks like it is out of a home decorating catalogue - you should hang art that you like!

Where to start: The first thing to do before you rush out to buy your artwork is to decide what it is that you need. Make a list of all the rooms in your home and think which spaces could benefit from a painting or a framed print. Above fireplace is a good place for a feature, eye catching painting, or above the bed if you have quite plain walls in the bedroom. If there are large, plain walls that are well-lit but seem empty, or along hallways and staircases are all good places to hang art. Make a note of the colours in each room and how much space you have available for art in each space. If you are thinking of getting multiple pieces for some rooms, it's especially important to consider the pieces you buy so that they work well together.



Do your research: It's important to find out exactly what kind of artwork you like - do you like traditional oil on canvas, abstract acrylic paintings, intricate prints or mixed media? Check out museums and galleries, look online on design websites to see what art others have chosen and keep your eyes open wherever you are - hotels, shops, restaurants and other public spaces invest a lot into choosing the right art so it's a good place to get some inspiration. Not many people can buy their art from famous galleries and big name artists so don't be afraid to pop into some local exhibitions or non-profit galleries, you never know what you might find.



Choose art by size to fit a particular space: Art that is too large will overwhelm and draw too much attention to it, and art that is too small will look out of proportion and less impressive. Bold and bright coloured paintings need more space around them to breathe - some paintings do need some 'white space' around them so that their full effect can be felt. Think of how art galleries hang their art, each with enough space to stand out on their own but not so much space that they get lost.



Choose colours that match the colours of your room: When selecting a painting to match colour, pick out one or two of the boldest colours in your room and look for art that has those colours in it. You do not need to find an exact match but connecting one or two of the same colours will make the painting sit well within its environment. The style of artwork as well as the colours should also be reflective of the room that it is in. For example, in a bedroom it would be appropriate for the art to be calming and relaxing (or even seductive), whereas in a dining room or living room you can afford to be bolder. If you want your living room to be a quiet space (for relaxing or reading) you may want to choose pieces that are less loud.



Hang correctly: Some canvas artwork can be hung with no frame and look great this way. If you choose to go for a frame, choose your frame carefully to match both your interiors as well as the style and colours of the painting - a frame should be a continuation of the picture rather than a contrast. As a rule, paintings should be hung so that the centre of the painting sits at eye level. Sculpture mays sit on the floor, a table or a pedestal. Pictures in a frame should have a little bit more space on the bottom than on the top of the frame. There are not necessarily any rules for hanging paintings as such, only guidelines, so experiment and see what works the best. If you can't find the place where a particular painting looks to be at the best height or best location, experiment hanging it in various rooms and on different walls, it may just find its place.



Think about lighting: Colours and pictures reflect different personalities in different lights. Some art needs to be well lit from above with picture lights or track lights (particularly paintings with texture or dark paintings in rooms with not a great deal of natural light) whereas some pictures should be well-lit with surround lighting but not direct lighting (such as prints or watercolour paintings behind glass, where direct lighting would produce glare). Not enough light will darken and subdue the effect of the image, whereas too much light or glare will diminish the colours and drown them out. Be careful as well of direct sunlight as some pigments, such as watercolour pencil and pastel, are particularly prone to fading, whereas acrylics are not.



Choose art that reflects your personality: Your art doesn't necessarily have to be a painting - if your personality is more suited to mixed media, photography or wall sculpture, choose artwork for your home that reflects that. Be creative and don't be afraid to create some DIY pieces that mean something and are personalised, such as an enlarged copy of your grandmother's black and white wedding photograph or a framed collectable or random find from a memorable trip. Art is subjective so make sure the art in your home is personal to you.


The key to successfully investing in art is in finding out what kind of art you like and then deciding how it will fit in with the rest of your home. Good luck!