It is sometimes difficult to know where to start when choosing a work of art for your home but I suggest going room by room in order not to feel overwhelmed. People are often put off because they think prices will be prohibitive but you don’t have to spend a fortune to furnish your walls with wonderful originals.
Having worked for over a decade as Head of Sales at Christie’s and then at Bonhams before setting up my own art gallery I have seen how eye wateringly expensive art can be but it isn’t impossible to find contemporary art that is affordable and beautiful. People fear making a mistake, wasting money or getting ripped off but if you know where to look and what to look for then there is a treasure trove of art out there waiting to be discovered.
With a bit of belief in your own tastes and with research you should be able to find the perfect work of art for your home. There are a few things I keep in mind when advising clients on choosing artworks for their home.
Here are some of my top tips:
1. Think about scale
It is always interesting to walk into a room where some of the elements within it are bigger or smaller than you expect them to be as it creates drama within a room. Below is a very small original art work that could be placed within a large room for dramatic effect. Colour from the art work in a plain room can lift the room and colours within the painting can be used for accents around the room.
2. Eye up your space
You do not have to fill every space in a room and in fact empty space is as important as the painting or sculpture. I think of it like a play where the pauses are as telling as the words and actions.
3. Be brave
Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. If you have the right artwork it will work anywhere and you can experiment. The key is good framing, lighting and placement. Art doesn’t always have to be flat. See the image to the left for something a bit different with tin foil sweet wrappers used on shelves. This kind of installation makes an impact from far way and close up and it is great when the art in your home create a talking point.
Framing or re-framing a work of art can completely transform the work of art and this takes some bravery on behalf of my clients when I take their loved artworks or photographs away and transform them.
When you can use non reflective glass as this will enable you to view the works at all times of the day with none or hardly any reflection.
Think about keeping the frame simple but using a colour that is already in the painting for the frame colour. For example go dark for the frame with a colour rather than keeping the frame white.
5. Hanging a work of art
It is important not to hang a work too high on a wall. This is a very common mistake. As a rule of thumb the centre of the work should be at eye height if there is no furniture in front of the work. If there is furniture in front of the work don’t feel you have to hang it to the centre of the wall from floor to ceiling as with high walls this will mean you will not be able to view the works very easily. Since you spend a lot of time in a living room , dining room and bedroom sitting or lying down, you need to be able to view and enjoy works of art from these angles as well.
6. Create a feature wall
It is fun to have a feature wall somewhere in your home and whether it’s the same artist or a number of different artists it doesn’t really matter what matters is that you love it. Here are some feature wall examples and the great thing about a feature wall is that you can start with just one work and buy them over a period of time if budget is an issue.
7. Plan ahead
Mock up images of how the works will look before hanging them
This is a good way to see how all the art will look together in a space. It always helps to visualise things before the hammer and picture hooks come out.
8. Try mixing different mediums
Art completely changes a space and how you interact with it. Mix it up a bit and don’t stick to one medium. When filling your home with art it’s good to think abut having at least one original work of art, a few limited edition prints, photography, sculpture and something totally different . For example this ceramic wall sculpture by Emma Bell below has ceramic pots set on shelves creating drama and interest. Original art can be affordable and can start from as little as £50.
Deborah Allan is Director and founder of Wychwood Art Gallery. Wychwood offers a free consultation service to help you source affordable artwork that suits your living space. Visit www.wychwoodart.com for more information.