Choosing great art for your house can be a tricky, risky balancing act. Subjective, of course, but there is a very fine line to tread between subtle steps of sophistication and a clumsy tumble onto the carpet. Indeed, dexterity is required, or you’re gonna end up fumbling through your evenings feeling like you’re back in a hastily adorned student digs. Band posters? Nope. Scenes from Blue Planet? Hmmmm. Instagram worthy pseudo-philosophy? Most definitely not. And when it comes to buying pieces by an actual artist, unless you’re an art curator, gallery owner or professional, it’s hard to know where to begin. To help get you started, here are 8 tips for choosing the IDEAL artwork for your living room.

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Art has a transformative effect in any room and evokes powerful emotions. And as such, different pieces can instantly change the atmosphere of a room. For example, abstract art featuring geometric forms and bold colours can add vivacity and character to a room while impressionistic pieces can add a whimsical, tranquil vibe. Also bear in mind the psychology of colour when it comes to choosing your piece as different colours evoke certain feelings and elicit certain reactions. Yellow, for instance, is uplifting and associated with happiness and sunny dispositions while blue is known to soothe the mind because of its cool, calming and relaxing effect.

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Site-specific art is all about choosing a piece to exist within a certain space. Think physical context which can be anything from a certain wall in the room and choosing a piece to fit this space to the physical location and surroundings of your house. For example, if you live in a city, consider hanging paintings of famous landmarks or streets within it. Do you live in the countryside? Then pictures of the surrounding fields and flowers will do nicely.

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Are you after one large focal point or do you like the symmetrical look with rows of artwork, or even something more eclectic altogether? Whether it’s a straight grid with similar-looking pieces or a haphazard pattern on the wall with different looking pieces, there really is no wrong choice when it comes to the pattern in which you display your artwork. It is important, however, to know where and how you want to hang your art, as this will help you narrow down the pieces you choose. 

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Perhaps you already have a photograph, print, or painting which you love – well take inspiration from this. If you have a piece of black and white framed art, you can opt for other pieces of the same style, acting as an anchor for the rest of the artwork you choose. Or, should you have a pair of curtains that you love, then consider an ‘accent piece’, featuring the same colours to complement them. It’s all in the details, as they say.

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Well-chosen and well-placed art can completely transform a space. However, hang a small picture too high on a large wall and it will just look like it’s floating there, completely out of place. Indeed, it’s important to consider the size of the art and if it will fit the space. If you have a piece that you love which is too small, then consider having it framed to make it look larger. 

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Art doesn’t have to match your room. After all, contrast can keep a living space exciting and new. Should your living area comprise of mainly neutral colours, consider purchasing a bold abstract piece that contrasts and sets off the space to add brightness and flair to the room. Equally, If your room lacks natural light, choose a piece that will lighten it up.

It’s also important to remember that modern rooms with contemporary furnishings can take modern art and vice versa. So by purposefully placing contemporary art within a period home, striking results, freshness and a new lease of life for the interior can be achieved. As far as we’re concerned, it’s often better to mix things up for added intrigue.

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If you love a piece, delve a little deeper into its history and do a little research on it. Learn who the artist is and about their values and beliefs. In the process, you’ll learn if the piece is really suited to you and your home. Simple.

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While it’s important to consider all of the above, if you find a piece of art that you love and have a connection with, then just do it. Buy it. Hang it. Admire it. Art is a very personal thing and a place for self-expression so it shouldn’t be driven by anyone’s taste but your own. Moreover, no matter how big or small your living room is, you can always find space for something that you really like. When it comes down to it, art that speaks to you on a personal leaves a lasting impression, so chances are if you can’t stop looking at and thinking about the piece when you’re away from it, then it’s the one for you. 

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