HOW TO CHOOSE ART FOR YOUR HOME
Are you struggling to find the ‘right’ painting to complete your living room? Or are you looking to design a whole new décor for your home, but want to start with a dramatic piece of artwork?
With art having such a big influence on how your home looks and feels, finding something that ticks all the boxes can prove a real challenge.
Naomi Pound, Design Director at Kersfield, has teamed up with Bridget Sterling, Director at local gallery, Bath Contemporary, to choose artwork for the show house at the stunning new Lansdown Fields development by Kersfield. The resulting pieces help to show off the show house’s best features, while making the space feel ‘lived in’.
Here, they share their top tips on how to choose the best pieces for your home …
Know where to look
If you’re new to buying art, knowing where to start can be one of the most daunting aspects.
“With the internet such a popular starting point for all kinds of purchasing decisions these days, people often think it’s better to approach artists directly online, rather than going through a gallery,” explains Bridget.
“But what they don’t realise is that, if an artist is being represented by a gallery, their work will sell at the same price as when buying directly. We simply make sure their work gets seen by more people and manage the sale, which is something most artists prefer not to do.”
Naomi also recommends visiting the Affordable Art Fair, plus taking in exhibitions at art schools, where you may meet talented emerging young artists eager for a commission.
As for sources of inspiration, Bridget is confident that you’ll find this everywhere you look: “Once you begin your search, you’ll start spotting artwork everywhere – from the walls of other people’s homes to the sets of films and TV shows you’re watching.”
Have a budget in mind
Unless you have thousands to splash on whatever may take your fancy, it’s worth having a maximum figure in mind. This will help keep you grounded in those ‘wow’ moments, when you spot something you love, but which far exceeds your price range.
Similarly, neither Naomi nor Bridget advocate attempting to buy something as a financial investment when it comes to choosing pieces for your home. Besides, as Bridget points out, contemporary art is an especially risky investment, as it’s impossible to know what sort of value a particular artist’s work will hold in years to come.
For entry-level buyers in particular, she strongly recommends original prints. Unlike a giclée print, which is a reproduction print produced on an ink-jet printer, an original print has been hand printed by an artist. With prices starting at around £50-£100, they don’t have to be an expensive option and they hold their value far more than a reproduction.
In family homes in particular, Naomi is also a fan of filling the walls with abstract photos of loved ones, or even a shot of a simple object or location that has sentimental value.
Create a ‘flow’
At a basic level, this means choosing colours that complement each other – either matching a piece of artwork to your existing colour scheme, or picking two or three colours from the piece and adding accents from that around the room.
Similarly, try to repeat shapes and angles throughout your scheme. “For example, if your furniture features hard, industrial edges, choose artwork that incorporates sharp lines and angles,” says Naomi.
“It’s about making sure that nothing jars and everything ‘talks’ to each other. This creates a more comfortable space.”
Consider your space
Whichever room you’re buying for, Naomi’s advice is to think about the atmosphere you’d like to create there.
“Some artists have a noisy energy to their style and their work often fits well within busy environments such as kitchens and living areas. As you would expect, quieter pieces work better in rooms where you might want to create a calmer setting, such as bedrooms and bathrooms.”
It’s also important to make sure you consider scale.
“I don’t think artwork should ever dominate the architecture of a home – it should allow architectural features to ‘breathe’ – so it’s important to go for a scale that’s in proportion to the surroundings,” adds Naomi.
Think before you hang
So, you’ve found ‘the one’ and you’re keen to get it up on the wall as soon as possible. But, as Bridget points out, there are certain ‘rules’ when it comes to hanging artwork.
“It sounds obvious, but try not to hang paintings too high, even if you have high ceilings – they should be at eye level, not above your head! That’s a mistake people make a lot.”
And how do you make sure your new piece is shown off to its best advantage? This is where good lighting comes in.
While picture lights are often an obvious choice for making sure your artwork stands out, Naomi urges caution.
“Picture lights can interfere with the artwork, so instead, I’d recommend recessed down-lighters – especially if they’re directional, so you can angle them to wash the wall with light without shining directly on your piece.
Plus, you can choose from ‘warm white’ (more yellowy light), or ‘cool white’ (more bluish light – similar to daylight) according to the tones in the artwork or room colour scheme that you’d like to highlight.”
A more expensive option is a framing projector, which, essentially, is a fully concealed light source that can be used to precisely frame paintings or objects of any shape.
“What a framing projector does is light only the painting or the sculpture, so it really makes it pop without bringing up the level of light in the whole room,” says Naomi. “It’s a fantastic way of creating drama around the piece.”
Find an emotional connection
Whether it reminds you of a special holiday, a specific memory, or just gives you a good feeling, both Naomi and Bridget agree that by far the most important factor to consider when buying art for your home is finding an emotional connection.
As Bridget says: “You must buy art because you love it. You’ll know when you have it because the piece will jump off the wall and wrap itself around you!”
Naomi adds: “It’s vital to remember that artwork will become the focal point of a room. It absolutely carries the interiors so it’s important to really consider it quite carefully. It’s probably one of the single most important purchases you’ll make for your interior.
“But as long as you go for something you truly connect with, you won’t go too far wrong.”
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