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Wall art in your home – getting it right

Category : Art In The Home
Picking up shades of blue works beautifully for this artwork by Karen Summers

It’s all very well falling love with a piece of wall art in a gallery, but how do you know whether it will be right for your home?

The gallery wall may be painted in a classy grey or red, designed to offset the works to their best advantage.

But what about your kitchen or living room? How will it look there? Is it the work the right size?

And what about the colour…. should it match? Will it clash?

There are lots of things to think about when choosing art for your home. It would be a real shame not to buy a piece that speaks to you, so I will try and give you a few pointers to get you started and help you make the best decisions for your home.

Most importantly, if you fall in love with a piece of art, then my advice is buy it! You can always redecorate.

Something that you love and can see every day is going to give you much joy.

Colour

Work by Sarah De Mattos brightens this colourful kitchen.

Should you choose a work of art that you love, or one that matches your new decor?

I often hear customers in the gallery discuss whether a work is the right colour for a particular location.

Rather than trying to match the paintwork and furnishings, a piece of art will have more impact if it either contrasts with the decor or has complementary shades and tones within it.

Complementary colours are opposites on the colour wheel.

the colour wheel | complementary colours

As Paula Cameron writes in ‘The art of colour contrast‘, you can choose to match or clash your art with your decor.

Here is an example of using purple and yellow as complementary (clashing) colours, from opposite sides of the colour wheel.

using complementary colours in a colour scheme

Below is a room with a matching art work, using similar shades and tones of cream and grey/brown neutrals.

This is an example of the second most common type of colour scheme; an analagous scheme making use of shades of colour that lie close together on the colour wheel.

analagous colours work well together in a colour scheme

So will you match or clash?

Both are beautiful; your personality will influence the final decision and reflect your true self.

Mixing it up

Does your home have a theme?

Country cottage?

Modern and minimalist?

You may wish to choose art to fit with your theme, or if you are feeling bold you might mix it up to add visual interest. Contemporary art can look just as fitting in a period property as it can in a modern flat. And vice versa.

modern art by Ruth McDonald sits comfortably with period furniture

By choosing works of different styles and periods you are telling your story. So many works that we hang in our homes are part of our life stories; that inexpensive painting from a Greek island holiday in the kitchen, and a large statement piece in the living room alongside recent lockdown creations. They are all important in expressing our individualism and values.

Warm wood tones in the frame enhance the decor |Happy Returns | Claire Longley

Size

Picturing how a work of art will fit on your wall can be a challenge. How do you know if a work is the right size for the space that you have in mind?

Common mistakes are that the art is hung too high, and is too small for the chosen location.

Creating a gallery wall with multiple works of art is one way around the size issue. Decorilla has a really great blog article on different ways to create a gallery wall layout.

Here is an example of a bottom aligned layout.

bottom aligned gallery wall layout

Another option is a grid of two, three or multiple works of the same size.

hanging two works of the same size beside each other for impact
Caroline Fraser |Plantstudie series

Go large is the recommended option if you are looking for impact.

Tesla’s vision 2 |Mark Welland| a statement art piece

Here are some tips to getting it right from In Focus blog.

art size guide

Lastly, I would encourage you to speak to the artist if you love their work, but the size or framing is not right for your needs.

Most artists are happy to work to commissions or work to a different size to suit your needs.

It never hurts to ask!

That way you get what you really need, and the artist gets a new and valued customer.

Oaxaca | Christine Highland

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