The things that make it into our homes were each a decision. This chair over that one, those pillows to go with that rug. They weren’t acquired all at once, some were weightier decisions than others, but somehow they’ve ended up there. Just as furnishings and pillows are thoughtful decisions, selecting art is not simply about filling frames, but about expressing personality, aesthetics and values. Styling a space with personal art pieces allows our home to reflect our unique beauty and tastes in a new way.
Here are some categories to consider when selecting art for your space:
Art immediately substantiates a room’s color palette. Pay attention to the colors in your pieces: the tones should work well within the palette around them. A mix of pieces with bold soft hues is important. If each piece is intensely saturated, together they may be abrasive, and if the pieces are all muted or pastel, the gallery won’t attract a closer look. When we look in our living rooms or wardrobes, it is easy to figure out what colors we’re repeatedly drawn to. This is a good place to start when developing a color story, but we shouldn’t be afraid to take some risks with color, too.
The art we choose says something about us. A typography print with a Bible verse can share your values, and a portrait that pulls together a color scheme shares aesthetic. Whether the subject in that portrait seems joyful or melancholy constructs a personality. Abstract versus realism. Traditional versus graphic. The content that we choose should be true to who we are and contribute to the feeling we want in the room.
So many things fall under the category of art. The most common mediums that show up in galleries are photography, drawing, graphic illustration, painting and typography. We can even get sculpture to live on the walls with some creativity. Pick a few (or all) and start collecting. Like content and color, the medium we pick should reflect us in some way.
…selecting art is not simply about filling frames, but about expressing personality, aesthetics and values.
It’s no secret that original artwork is pricey. While it may be doable for some, many of us can’t afford to only buy original pieces. Prints of originals may not include the raised paint, but they do convey the same color, content and medium that we were drawn to in the original. They usually come in a few size options that can help to create visual variety within a gallery wall.
Cohesive doesn’t mean all the pieces should be the same. Buying for a gallery means that the art that we love should be able to play nicely with others – even if the color, content, media and type are all different (and usually, it helps that a few points are different). Two pieces can be almost completely different in every aspect, but a third piece that shares some trait of both can unify the whole. It’s possible to curate a gallery organically without considering each piece in reference to the others, but it’s usually harder to get the desired result that way.
The stop-in-your-tracks, can’t-live-without-it, absolutely-love-it pieces throw out all the rules. Art is meant to be loved. We can only have so many pieces that we kind-of like, or simply don’t mind. When we come across art that doesn’t fit with the color palette, theme or scale, but makes us feel new, strange or inspired, the rest doesn’t matter. Because, really, art was never meant to fit within a formula.
What’s your favorite art piece that you have (or want) in your home? Why is it important to you?