If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you already are aware of the huge impact our surroundings can have on mood.

Home is a big part of your life.

It is hopefully somewhere you can relax. It is where you entertain, often it is where you work & of course where you might bring a family up. Your home also reflects your personality & your individuality, & the art work you choose is a large part of that.

Lots of people would like to invest in an original piece of art but there are stumbling blocks that stop them such as:

  • It is easier & quicker to get cheaper mass produced art.
  • It can be overwhelming to visit a gallery.
  • It can be intimidating to contact artists directly.

Buying art used to be a stressful things that was often seen as elitist. But with the internet, the art world has become easier to access & it is easier than ever to contact artists directly. Look out for local art events where you get to meet them & through social media. You can browse the internet & in person until you find a piece that inspires you. Follow the artists that you like / sign ups to their mailing lists, so that you can stay up to date with their new work & events.

Being the owner of an original piece of art & knowing that the artist spent hours & hours working on the piece, that part of them is in the piece too. It is also important to be careful that you are sold an original & not a reproduction. Visit reputable galleries, or even better, go directly to the artist.

Art doesn’t have to break the bank. These days it is easy to start your own art collection that can be made up of pieces of all values, as long as the art “speaks to us”. Prints & even home made pieces, along with the original art that will last for generations to come. Buying smaller pieces or Giclée is a great way to start your collection.

Don’t stress. Unless you have a strict deadline, take your time & enjoy the process; it is a part of the experience.

Emotions / Feel. Think about what emotions you want the piece to evoke. Your surroundings can have a big impact on how you think & feel. Do you want to be relaxed / invigorated  / inspired? Being surrounded by pieces that inspire you, can impact upon your creativity.

Do you like a specific style? You can search for galleries or artists with similar styles.

The perfect piece. Finding a piece that is almost perfect but there’s something not quite right can be problematic. Should you compromise on the size, the colour? Why don’t you ask the artist & commission a piece? That is the way to get the dream piece you are looking for that will give you pleasure for years to come.

What size? Size matters, you don’t want a tiny piece of art lost on an enormous wall. Especially if it is an original, you will want it to be the focal point of the room & should be the right size to do this. A rule of thumb is for the piece to cover 2/3 – 3/4 of the wall. Remember that includes the frame so consider borders & frames too. If that feels too large, good options are making a gallery wall or a group of pieces. Similar pieces are great for narrow spaces or maybe two or three pieces in a vertical line.

Is there a colour palette you are working with?

Matching: Look for colours that are in the same palette but don’t match exactly. Choose a colour then use a slightly different shade or tone of it & the affect will be subtle & elegant.

Clashing: Don’t be scared to clash. Opposites attract. Use a basic colour wheel to help you to understand the relationship between colours. Choose a piece that has a main colour that is radically different from your decor. “Complimentary colours” create dynamic colour schemes.

 

Hanging the art

Where? Look at the features of the room it will hang in and the furniture & accessories you already have. Decide if you should keep them there, or move the furniture around to make your art piece your central focus.

Although there are exceptions to the rule as there are in any other rule, try to aim for your artworks central point to the eye level, or approximately 60 inches from the floor for rooms where you are mostly standing, or if the ceiling is very tall. Rooms where you normally sit down such as the dining room or office, pictures can be hung a bit lower. If your art itself is very tall, think about the top third being near eye level.

Consider how it relates to everything around it. Hang 6 to 12 inches from the back of the sofa or sideboard. This won’t work if the pieces are very small, in that case consider hanging the piece as part of a group or with other objects, such as mirrors or plates. Groups can create drama & visual impact on a long or large wall. Look for pieces that “belong together” i.e. they are the same size or they are linked visually by colour. Groups should have about 2-3 inches between each frame. You can create a plan by laying the pieces on the floor & playing with the arrangement until it feels right. It is good to have a focal point in the center. It is good to have consistent spacing too.

Is the space it’s going on landscape or portrait? The piece you are hanging should echo that.

What room?

Kitchen – Often the kitchen is the heart of the home. It may be the most used so you will see art work in here a lot. Countertops and spaces above cabinets are great places for art and usually smaller pieces are best so that they don’t overwhelm the space. Here, prints that make you smile are very appropriate.

Bedroom – Your bedroom is your retreat, a place for relaxation, so soothing tones work well. Artwork is good placed directly over the bed or on a wall opposite the bed. Here, large scale pieces are great when hung at eye level. Look for tones to highlight the decor, or even decorate the bedroom inspired by the piece.

Office – Art in the office keeps you inspired and a good way to keep it fresh is to make a rotating gallery. Maybe on a long shelf over or near your workspace. Then you just need an assortment of work that inspires you, big and small, all similar or all different frames work equally well and then – change them round every few weeks.

Bathroom – Clearly be careful about humidity and water here. Artwork in bathrooms looks great in pairs that have a similar theme or feel, hung side by side or stacked. Good places could be over the toilet or bath tub, over towel hooks or alcoves.

Living room – This is the room that guests will perhaps spend most of their time in. It is important to focus on your personality, the feel or vibe you want. Places that are usually good for hanging your art are:

  • Above the sofa – one piece or a group, should measure about 2/3 of the width of your sofa
  • Over the mantle piece – 4 to 12 inches between the bottom of the art and the top of the mantle piece or lean against the wall on top of the mantle.
  • Flanking a window, but if the curtains take up wall space it may be too crowded for a piece. Really you should have 4 to 6 inches from edge of curtain to the artwork.

Light – The piece should receive little to no direct sunlight. If you can’t help this, make sure that your art is framed using UV acryllic plexiglass to protect it.

Use templates – If you are hanging the art by yourself, cut out a paper template the size of each piece & attach it to the wall using painted / masking tape. This is so that you can stand back and look at how it relates to the room / furniture.

Use picture hanging hooks – rather than nails and use two hooks per piece so that it remains level. 3M command strips are also a good option. If you’re lucky enough to have traditional features such as picture rails, they offer alternative hanging options.

Framing – Frames should not compete with the art fro attention. Look at what other matierials are in the room. Is there wood, black light cables, other frames, marble tops? Try to coordinate with the neutral tones of the room so that the accent colours in the art can shine.

Humidity – A room with low humidity & no direct contact with water is best for art.

Cleaning – Art should be cleaned with a light duster (if at all). No cleaning products should be used.

Pieces to supplement your original and Gicleés.
Art doesn’t have to be expensive and a nice minute of original and other pieces can really make a lovely display. Ideas for cheaper pieces:
– Frame childrens’ art
– Frame pages from vintage books / maps and group together
– Frame wallpaper / fabrics that tie in with your palette 
– Mount interesting keys, fewellery / silverware in shadow boxes.
– Have your photos blown up and use adhesive spray to mount them on foam core.