Buying art is one of life’s true pleasures. It’s fantastic for the soul on so many levels: when you find a work that you connect with, it’s something you can grow old with and pass on to future generations, and you are supporting a flourishing artist whose life’s work is the DNA of the very piece you’ve chosen.
Art dealers and artists want people to buy art for all of these reasons and, ultimately, we want people to buy art for love. To be struck by Cupid’s arrow when they see the perfect artwork and – BOOM – for it to get under their skin so that they simply can’t walk away without taking the piece with them.
But then looms the age-old question – will it match the sofa? How the romance is shattered… But the reality is that you do need to live with your art. The likelihood is that your artwork will outlive the décor in your home, so choosing something that you love is important – but we all want to live in comfortable, functional homes, not stark gallery spaces, so we need our art to help create a warm and personal living environment.
So, how do you find the happy medium and select great art that suits your space? The chances are that if you are allowing your heart and personal style to lead when choosing both your art collection and your interior décor, they should naturally work harmoniously together, but here are a few tips to help make sure you choose art for your home wisely.
Hang larger artworks such as this piece by Mark Mawson, in plenty of space and keep the rest of the room minimal
There is no real ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to art styles. Reputable art fairs and galleries will constantly curate their collection to showcase strong pieces, so the works on display should be of a good standard, which just leaves you to see which pieces you are drawn to.
Create the right ambience
You need to think about the feel of the room in which you want your new piece to hang. Your choice of artwork can completely change the mood of a room. A serene, sensitive landscape can create an oasis of calm for sleeping or reading, while a bold, graphic print can transform the same room into a contemporary, energetic space. Understanding how you want to feel in your space is key.
A bold, graphic print, like ‘Celebrate Our Tastes of LA’ by Bonnie and Clyde, can transform your room into a contemporary, energetic space
Consider the lighting
While thinking about the mood, also consider the lighting – both natural and artificial – which may influence your choice. A backlit light box mounted with a photograph or a piece of neon urban art will have less impact in a very bright room than it would in a dark, cosy snug, for example. Artworks with a subtle or complex palette work well on a brightly-lit wall (ideally a wall flooded with natural light) where the detail really shines through, however don’t forget to rotate the positions of your art collection from time to time to prevent light damage to any of your pieces.
Your current collection
You also need to think about any other art you have in your home and consider the overall flow throughout the space. Don’t be afraid to mix up the styles. Contemporary and traditional art, paintings and photographs can all sit comfortably side-by-side. Likewise, very contemporary abstract artworks can look spectacular in an old house, just as a more traditional painting can look sensational in a very minimalist, modern interior. Now is the time to play around with the balance of old versus new and curate a very personal collection.
Do you have the space to display one very large piece and go for maximum drama? If you are set on the idea of a large piece and you’ve found the perfect artwork, it’s a good idea to hang it in plenty of space and keep the rest of the room minimal. You don’t necessarily need a huge room for a large work of art but you do need to give it breathing room.
An alternative to having one large piece is to create the same drama using a cluster of smaller prints, drawings and studies. This ‘salon style’ hang can be extremely effective and give a cool, contemporary feel to a wall. The key to this type of hang is to have a unifying theme across the pieces – maybe they’re all monochrome or have a common subject matter. Keep the frames and styles varied and throw in a few unusual pieces like mirrors, plates, maps or postcards – anything that will show off your personality and individuality.
Don’t forget that art doesn’t only have to take up wall space. Ceramics and sculptures are incredibly collectable and add interesting focus to a space.
If you really can’t find that perfect piece, it’s always worth thinking about commissioning an artist to create a bespoke piece for you. Take time to find an artist whose style you love, chat to them about what you are looking for and trust their experience to create a personal, unique work, tailored for your space.
Do your paperwork
It’s very hard to say whether a work of art will increase in value over time, as resale price is dependent on many factors including demand, quality and market conditions, but it’s always worth keeping hold of receipts and any other paperwork from your purchase in case your chosen piece does become an investment.
Finally, try to step out of your comfort zone and trust your instincts. Don’t automatically choose the type of art that you’re always drawn towards or that you ‘think’ you should buy. Challenge yourself. A work of art that creates a talking point and keeps you thinking will be much more treasured than an obvious choice that you lose interest in soon after buying it.
There are numerous considerations to bear in mind when hunting for art. First and foremost, always buy art you love, enjoy the process and hopefully these additional tips will help you make the right choice in a vast and exciting market.