The 10 Things You Need to Consider When Buying Art for Your Home
Now that we’re educated on how to start an art collection, the next step is knowing what to consider when looking for and purchasing art. It’s now time to consider your personal interior style, your home’s layout and contents, and how you want an artwork to make you feel—and that’s just the beginning. We’ve once again enlisted the expertise of Sophie Vander the founder of Curatorial+Co. to shed light on all of the considerations we should acknowledge before handing over our credit card after an impromptu browse through the gallery. Scroll down to be one step closer to that coveted collection of masterpieces.
My number one tip is you have to love living with your art. It doesn’t matter if it’s a priceless piece of antiquity, or a work from a local makers’ market—if you walk into the room and you smile, or are moved by its presence, then the piece is meant to be with you. If not, it’s time to move it on.
Rules are made to be broken, especially when it comes to art, but you’ll want to consider the style of your home and space before buying artwork. Is your style eclectic and colourful? Then the addition of an original collage or illustration may be what you’re looking for. Do your sway towards monotone? Limited edition black and white photographs would be perfect. Are you drawn to earth tones, woods and stone? Then consider a large-scale landscape. Do you squeal for mid-century glamour? Try a portrait or even a bold abstract work. In saying that, absolutely buy what you love and you will always find a space for it.
Many contemporary homes feature open-plan areas, which means we don’t always have a defined space on which to hang works. This gives us a great reason to use art to define spaces where walls would usually be. Instead of centring the artwork in the middle of the whole room, hang artworks in the centre of the space defined by the furniture. For example, centred on the wall next to the dining table, or above or opposite the largest sofa. Make sure these works, or groups of works, sit well with the scale of the table or sofa—they need to ground the space. An art consultant, like Curatorial+Co., can come into your home and help define these spaces for you. They can help create a plan to have each of these artworks ‘talk’ to each other—through colour, composition or subject—much like an interior designer would do, so that the entire space is considered when you enter the room.
I love it when people get a bit cheeky when they hang art. Yes, most of the time it’s best to hang at eye level, and a large wall usually demands a proper wall-to-art ratio, but sometimes the best way to capture attention is to go off-scale. Consider down-scaling the size of an interesting artwork so people are intrigued and get up close to take a look. Alternatively, super-size it and go floor to ceiling. The impact will be instant, and you’ll end up trending on Pinterest. Consider commissioning a work through a gallery to get the scale and size just right for your space.
Art in the living room—tick! Art in the bedroom—tick! Art in the kitchen—? Where do we spend our time and where do people intuitively gather? The kitchen. I’m a huge fan of adding artwork to this utilitarian space that is crying out for some art love. Just make sure it’s not an expensive work on paper, or preferably not behind glass, because art and heat don’t mix. An oil on canvas, a series of inexpensive prints or a vintage op-shop find will do the trick.
This is an important one. Say you’re looking for a work for your bedroom and find a piece that’s the perfect size, scale, and price. You love the bold, stark black brush-strokes across the canvas but it’s also slightly nightmarish—this may not be the right piece for your bedroom! When choosing works, consider your space and how you want to feel when you’re in there. A bedroom may be calm, romantic and reflective; a dining room emotive and inspirational; a living room lively and energising. Everyone is different and this is very subjective, so ask yourself: “How does this artwork make me feel?” before you buy it for a specific space.
Art comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you only think flat you’re missing out on a world of art options. Don’t forget about sculpture—ceramic, bronze, paper, and 3D printed works are alternative options to paint on canvas. There is also 3D art that can hang on a wall to create depth and interest. Perhaps a large-scale sculpture would work best on or over your mantel. Or a feature sculpture on your console or coffee table.
It can be overwhelming to choose the perfect piece, so if your confidence is lacking when choosing art then don’t be afraid to take your cue from the colours that already surround you. The colour of your sofa, your favourite bowl, rug, lamp, or even photograph on display. Repeat them in the artwork and hang it with pride, knowing that it works.
We’ve talked about large spaces, but often it’s the quiet unassuming areas of your home that you can really nurture with art and tell a story. If you have a narrow wall, stack multiple works (framed similarly or with the same subject) up the wall. A reading nook can come alive when art is added – choose works that will draw you to rest in that space.
Lighting is so important when it comes to showing off your art. We’re not talking gallery lighting on every piece, but you should be able to see your investment. A light and bright room can obviously accommodate all tones of work but a dark corner will need some help—a lamp, a spotlight, or choose an artwork that will reflect what light there is. An oil painting with texture will capture that light for you.