Since finishing my apartment (at least sort of; is anything ever actually done!?) the two things I get asked a lot are about a) where to find affordable art, and b) how to pick art for your home when you aren’t entirely sure where to start. We talked a little bit about the first question in this post about affordable home decor, but today I wanted to focus on the broader question of how to choose as it can definitely be a very daunting process.
First of all, choosing artwork is so incredibly personal. It’s going to be different for everyone. There’s no right or wrong. Taste is taste… kind of like music or fragrance. What I love may appeal to me might be disgusting to someone else. I happen to really love modern art, which isn’t for a lot of people. But for me, art is something that makes you feel.. something to inspire you. The best kind of art is the art that excites and inspires you!
I work from home so it was very important to me that the area I work in/live in be inspiring – it’s packed with art (maybe too much art, but I’m a maximalist in that regard and my art collection keeps growing.) If you take any one thing away from this post it’s that there isn’t any right or wrong with art; it’s about choosing something that speaks to you and makes you feel the way you want to feel (happy, calm, inspired, energized, ready for bed, etc!) Building an art collection that works for YOU and what you love. Buying art can be scary by the way; this post is packed with great information on that… we are so lucky to have Liz talk about building an art collection you love!
Today I’m going to share what’s worked for me! (And because someone will ask – my sweater is old, from Zara!)
How to Pick Art For Your Home!
First, think about color.
This isn’t just for choosing art, but also for interior design. What kind of colors leave you feeling a certain way? In my bedroom I prefer a more muted color palette (blues, grays, greens) but in my living area I went more vibrant, high energy colors (emerald green, bright yellow). For both spaces, I have a lot of color so I also worked in some black and white prints to keep things from looking completely crazy.
Then, think about what inspires you.
After you think about color, I would suggest starting a Pinterest board. Peruse social media and sites like Architectural Digest, Domino, Apartment Therapy, etc. Spend some time just pinning things that you love. You’ll get a really good idea of your aesthetic and what you love by doing that. You’ll also be able to easily visualize what pieces of art look nice together. It will surprise you! From there, you could start separate pinterest boards. Dining Room, Bedroom, Home Office, Etc. It makes seeing everything together so much easier.
When I decorated my Brooklyn apartment, I was very inspired by The Beverly Hills Hotel. This dictated a lot of the choices I made with art and interior design. In the living room, I did a lot of black & white old Hollywood style photos, photos of The BHH itself, and of course (not art but still important) those green palm leaf curtains for my closet.
Peruse the web.
Buying art does not have to be expensive, and choosing art does not have to be complicated. A few of my favorite resources for accessible art are Gray Malin (we’re going to talk about that Beverly Hills Hotel print!), Easel, and Chairish (you can buy all sorts of amazing art from them – that’s where I got my Calder lithograph but they also have their own print shop)
As you find things you like, add them to your pinboard. You’ll probably see trends start to emerge within the pinboard: colors you like, things going together that you hadn’t initially thought would, etc!
Remember my love of Hunt Slonem? Before I was able to purchase one of his originals, I bought his wallpaper and framed that! A lot of amazing artists have wallpaper lines… this is a great way to bring a little bit of work into your home on a budget. Sometimes the frame really makes the piece special… framed art doesn’t have to be a fancy original, it can be a scrap of wallpaper, a found object, anything.
Figure out how things will look together.
When planning my wall art, I have a great trick. I stole this trick from a friend. I’m a visual person so my favorite thing to do is take a photo of the area, screenshot the piece of art, and drag both into Photoshop to see how they’ll look together. (I know not everyone has Photoshop so try something like PicMonkey if you don’t have it!)
I did this with the Gray Malin piece featured here. I knew I wanted something from this collection but wasn’t entirely sure which piece. I ended up narrowing it down to three pieces that I really liked. From there I dragged each of them into Photoshop over that white wall. The piece needed to look good in the corner as well as next to the yellow framed bunnies. This work of art ended up being the clear winner but I would have chosen a different one (which wouldn’t have looked nearly as good) if I hadn’t done that! You have to think about the whole space, not just the one wall and your focal point.
Think about scale.
I like to mix smaller pieces with a larger piece, especially if I’m doing a gallery wall. Generally if a piece is really busy, I go bigger, and for less busy pieces I will go small and group a few smaller pieces together. Make one piece the focal point, giving it lots of real estate. Then, spread out.
Figure out sizing.
Once you’ve ensured it will look good (colors, etc) from the above exercise, I like to take paper cut-outs (I usually use my old grocery bags) that are the same size as my art pieces (just measure out the framed pieces) and tape them to the wall. This sets an outline for the gallery wall – you can also use it later when you are hanging things up. This may be an unnecessary step for some but I find that it helps you pull things together flawlessly.
Photography by Carter Fish.