photographs

Choosing Art for your Home: Part II

View Part I here: Choosing Art For your Home Part I

Since I am covering the what, when, where, how, and why of choosing art for your home(see the link at the top for the "why"), let's get started on the "When".

I did have to think about how am I going to do a "when" about art? Should it be a historical art periods? That seems to fit more under "what", as in what style of art do you like. Then it occurred to me that the most significant "when" I can think of in the choosing of art, is when in the design process should you choose it?

There's two main possibilities that I can think of. The first idea is to choose the art first. This would be great  in the case of finding an artwork that you love. You love it so much that you are willing to make a place for it. Even if it means redecorating. This probably doesn't happen all the time. But imagine if you had something as famous, beautiful and rare as an original Vincent Van Gogh. Let's pretend for a second you had his Starry Night painting. You obviously wouldn't get rid of it because it didn't match your sofa. You would get rid of the sofa first. Now most of us can't afford something that precious, but we can usually afford something that we love. If you have the luxury of being in the middle of a home decor project or are about to start, then finding a piece of art you love, first, might make your new room decor all the better when you build it around art you love.

The situation most of us would find ourselves in is that we already have furniture and finishings that we have to work around. We don't have the luxury of changing our sofa to match our art. This does make it more difficult. We then have to keep things like color schemes and decor styles in mind when looking for art. While I don't think you have to "match" your sofa, you do need to make sure it "goes".  Of course if you do find art that you just love, but it clashes with your sofa, you can always consider putting it in another room until you replace your sofa(even if that's 5 years from now). If you're sure you love that piece, whether it be a sculpture or painting or photograph, it's better not to let it slip away!

Using the first option(choosing art before your decorate) gives you the option to make your art the focal point for the room. If you have a perfect piece of art that really speaks to you and speaks about you(as I mentioned in Part I) then using it as your room's focal point is a fantastic option. Of course, just because you choose your art second doesn't mean you can't make it a focal point, it might be more difficult since you can't choose just by love as you also have to take into consideration the decor you already have.

A couple of basic tips for choosing art if you already have your decor in place:

Consider the colors in your room. Do you have warm colors? If you are using warm colors in your room you are better off keeping with warm colors in the art. Sepia tones might be better then black and white if you are thinking about monochromatic art. Bronze sculptures might be better then chrome, etc.

Consider your rooms overall style. Do you have a contemporary style in the room? You'll probably want to keep your art contemporary. At the very least you'll want to keep frames contemporary. If your room is traditional or perhaps you have craftsman style furniture you probably will want to avoid abstract or modern art.

Go to Part III: Choosing Art for your Home Part III

Choosing Art for Your Home: Part I

I'm starting a multi-post series on choosing art to compliment you home. One the most important question to answer before you start is: Why?

Why would I want art in my home?

People buy art for different reasons. Sometimes it's as simple as an empty space on the wall that needs filled. Other times it might be because you fell in love with a painting. While the answers to the question might seem obvious, sometimes it a good practice to spend a little thought on the process. How will this improve my life? What needs will it fill? Is it a need or just a want? Etc.

I can think of a few good reasons for investing in art you love. First it is a great way to incorporate your personality in a room.  Are you quirky and have a great sense of humor? Your art could reflect that. Do you love traveling to exotic places? Your art can reflect that. Do you think of yourself as sophisticated and elegant? Your art should reflect that. I think it's great when you can walk into a room and immediately know something about the person who lives there just by looking at the art they've chosen.

Second, a great piece of art can give that finished feeling to a decor. Most of the time a couch and coffee table just isn't enough. You walk into a room and it just feels like something is missing. It just looks empty. A great piece of art can complete a room. It may be the pop of color that you're missing. It may be the relaxing landscape that lends a sense of serenity. You don't really just want to buy a piece that fits the space, you want to find a piece that makes the space.

Thirdly, art is a great way to show off your great taste. If you have great taste, choosing the perfect piece of art can really showcase your taste. People walking into the room should instantly be wowed by your art and the great way the room fits together. Sometimes black and white art can be great for this as it will often lend a sense of sophistication to a room.

Fourth, art can change or enhance the feeling of a room. A beautiful landscape with water can give you that sense of relaxation you might be seeking in your bedroom or spa-like bathroom. A bright colorful flower portrait could add that sense of energy to your office.  Whatever mood you'd like to convey and emphasize in any given room, you can find a piece of art that embody that mood.

Fifth, your choice in art is what helps separate your house from everyone else's house. If you have no art, even if everything else in your decor is perfect, your house looks generic - perhaps even like a house that has been staged to sell. You want your art to give your house personality, to make it look lived in, and loved. You want your house to be unique and to be a great reflection of you. This is perhaps the best argument agianst buying generic big-box store, mass-produced art. You want your home to uniquely reflect you - and a mass-produced print sold at store X is perhaps not the best reflection of you.

I'm sure there are many other reasons to choose to put art in your house, but these should get your started thinking. If you are in a place in your life where you're making decisions about purchasing art, start by thinking about how you want to feel when you're in the room. Or how do you want the room to reflect your personality and taste. Then you can think about things like style and color. All, of those things should give you a good start in the process of choosing art.

P.S. A good place to start is to check out www.houzz.com. Houzz has thousands of photographs of home decor. You can choose a category based on style(such as modern or traditional, etc) and view photographs based on what room you're interested in(such as bedroom or living room, etc). Keep an eye out for what art catches your eye. You'll have a head start if you know what you like before we get to the "What?" question.

Choosing Art for your Home Part II
Choosing Art for your Home Part III