How to choose art for your space

Sea & Cliffs, Renoir | Roses, Van Gogh | Mountain Scene, Bierstadt 

Photos courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Buying art for one's space is a personal choice. There are folks who will tell you there are "rules" about what art to buy, where and how to to display it. As far as I'm concerned, there are only three rules that truly matter: buy what you love, put it wherever you want, make sure to protect it.


Owning a piece of art is a joyous act of sharing in the co-creation process with the artist.

A work of art remains incomplete without someone to enjoy it.


What art do you love?

There are so many different types of art, the methods used to create it, the tools, the sources of inspiration for the artist, the content and what it speaks to you. Some folks are intrigued with a particular style of art (e.g. Impressionism) or an artist (e.g. Dale Chihuly). Others are captivated by a topic (e.g. the Southwestern U.S.). And then there are those attracted to specific colors and the style, type, medium, or topic is irrelevant to them.


The bottom line is they are surrounding themselves with art they love. When you buy art you love, you'll have no regrets. Even if you're buying a piece of art for investment reasons, shouldn't it be something you enjoy?


How will this work of art look in my space? How big should it be?

Sometimes it's hard to visualize how a piece of art will look in your home. The best way of course, is to have the art in hand and display it  Often this is possible to do before you buy it. There are many gallery owners and artists who will happily bring the art to your home so you can see it in situ.


Sometimes that isn't possible, or practical. The good news is that technology has come to the rescue for such situations. On my website, there's a tool that can help you see how one of my artworks will look on your wall.


For my art reproductions such as prints and wrapped canvases, you can change the size of the work so you can see how the different available sizes (with or without mats or frames) look on your wall. For original paintings, the size is the size, it can't be changed. :-)


On every painting's page on my site you'll find two tools on the right-hand side. One is labeled "Live Preview AR" and the other is "Wall Preview."




The "Wall Preview" as shown below, lets you pick from various room set-ups. Or you can upload a photo of your wall and use that. On the fixed set of rooms, you can choose a different colored wall. You can also immediately switch to the "Live Preview" app from within the Wall Preview app. (The Wall Preview App is only an approximation. The Live Preview app is more accurate.)



The "Live Preview" tool requires a mobile device so it can access your camera. Below you'll see a screenshot of Live Preview. On the upper left where it says "24 x 12", you can adjust the image to the available size you want. Then stand back 10 feet from any wall where you want to place it. That 10-ft. distance is important. If you don't stand at least that far away, the scale won't be correct. You can also use your finger to drag the image on the screen until it is placed where you like it.  



Voilà! You now have an excellent idea of how any of my paintings and art reproductions will look on your wall! Isn't technology awesome?


Displaying your art


If you want to fill your walls with paintings, prints, and textiles — go ahead. Fill the wall from floor to ceiling if you wish. If you prefer a minimalist look, put one piece of art on each wall. If you want a room filled with only sculptures, do it. Light your art dramatically? Do it (or not). If you want to paint your walls in a bright color that you feel makes your art stand out, have at it. Do whatever pleases your heart and your eyes. 


Many folks use an interior decorator to help them decide what art to buy, and how to place and display it. There are many wonderful interior decorators who can help. Make sure you let them know what you like, and what you don't, as you go through the process. Let them educate you on how the art can be protected so you don't inadvertently damage it. Having said that, it's your space, your art, and your voice that counts.


Protecting your art


Assuming you want your art to have a long life for you to enjoy it, you'll want to protect it as best you can. Many paintings, prints, and reproductions will not survive being exposed to direct sunlight — all pigments suffer from fading and some will fade faster than others. You can best protect them by making sure the sun doesn't get a chance to shine on them. And for greater protection, put them behind a UVA/UVB surface (glass or acrylic usually). Still other types of art made of glass, marble, bronze, clay, textiles, fibers, and other media will also require special care.


Be sure to as your experts — the artist, the art gallery owner, your framer, or your interior decorator, about the best way to protect your art. In all my collectors' shipments I include recommendations for framing and protecting the original painting they've bought. That way information about different options is now to hand when they need it. As an example, for my pastel paintings I highly recommend using TruVue® Museum Glass® or Optium® Acrylic because they provide the best UVA/UVB protection for your pastel (that I know of). That's what I use to frame pastels for my private collection.


By the way, don't forget to include your art in your homeowner's insurance policy particularly for potential physical damages such as water, as well as theft.


Got "too much" art?


There are collectors who have such extensive collections that they rotate what they put in their homes or work places. Some rotate from room to room or wall to wall. Still others securely store some artworks that won't fit and bring them out for special events or at particular times of the year.


I know of one collector who has art for every season. And she rotates her art accordingly. She's got a set of paintings, wall hangings, and sculptures that she enjoys viewing in different seasons. So her Spring art collection is different from her Winter, Fall, and Summer ones. There's another collector who enjoys moving one particular painting from one room to another depending upon which room he finds himself spending most of his time. So one month it's in his home office; another month it could be in the dining room or living room.


Some collectors are well-known for loaning parts of their collections out to museums or other public venues for others to enjoy. 


Ideas to Spark Your Imagination


I've listed a few articles below that hopefully will give you some ideas to inspire you about displaying art. Pick and choose which ones suit you — discard those that don't. Invent something new. And if you'd like some help, let me know!


23 Ways to Display Art in Your New Home

5 of Our Favorite Ways to Display Sculpture at Home

Stylish Ways to Display Art at Home

How to Choose Art for Each Room of Your Home