Don’t be too rigid when selecting art. It’s okay (and a lot more fun) to be a bit daring. Photo courtesy of CW Design Group.
Make Your Art Fit
If you have a formal space but want to display a more whimsical piece of art, you can help the piece fit the room by altering how you display it. In this example, choose a formal matting and frame that complements the room style.
The Art(work) of Self Expression
How to choose art that speaks to you, your guests, and your room.
- by Deborah R. Huso
Your home says a lot about your personality and lifestyle. From the style of your furniture to the colors of your walls, your choices communicate your taste. And the art you display in your home says even more about you. Here are some ways to ensure your artwork creates the impression you desire.
From the Heart
“First and foremost, I think you should focus on what really moves you,” advises interior designer Cathleen Williams, owner of St. Louis-based CW Design Group. “That’s the philosophy to use in any design.” From there, it’s important to think about the statement you want to make in each room, and be sure to consider how art will complement your décor as well.
Follow Your Lead
While displaying art that speaks to you should be your first goal, you want to make sure the art you choose also complements your home’s décor. “If you collect in a particular style, that makes it easier,” says Alex Farkas, co-founder of UGallery.com, Even if you don’t have a set style, select art that is in harmony with the rest of your room. Most importantly: artwork should enhance the mood of the room, not detract from it.
Here are some ideas for types of art that complement specific styles:
- If you’re an antique collector, you might want to display traditional art.
- For classically styled and furnished rooms, consider landscapes and figurative works of art.
- If your home is contemporary in style, non-representative artwork may suit you best.
Don’t be too rigid when selecting art. It’s okay (and a lot more fun) to be a bit daring. “I like mixing styles,” says Farkas. “It’s neat to have different things. Play around to see what works together, and move works of art from one room to another to create a different atmosphere.”
If you want to be a little more creative in expressing yourself through artwork, there are easy ways to mix styles in a single room:
- If you’re fond of a particular artist, then display his or her works together to create a story that unifies the space.
- Another way to build a story, particularly if you like photography or are a good photographer yourself, is to display pictures that follow a particular theme, such as beach scenes or cityscapes.
- If you have a formal space but want to display a more whimsical piece of art, you can help the piece fit the room by altering how you display it. In this example, choose a formal matting and frame that complements the room style,
- You can also safely mix styles most of the time as long as the artwork and room décor is all of similar quality. This will create a cohesive look, so pay attention to how your artwork is framed and matted.
Follow the Mood
Successful art selection and placement helps create the mood of a room. If your space has vibrant colors, brightly colored artwork can be a great match. If the room’s tones are neutral, you can continue that feel with art featuring muted tones or conversely, use bold artwork to convey movement and energy. The color and texture of the art you display can unify a room and décor scheme.
While artwork selection can seem challenging, the key is to stay true to yourself. When in doubt, go with your gut instinct. If you’re still not sure about displaying a certain piece of art, here are few questions to ask yourself:
- Is the artwork more suitable for a casual or formal space?
- Is the subject matter appropriate for the room? Remember to avoid displaying personal, controversial, or erotic art in the public rooms of your home (particularly kitchens and dining rooms).
- Does the quality of the art match the quality of the rest of the room’s décor?