Tips on choosing art for your home

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Art can serve as a finishing touch, a conversation piece, or a focal point in a room.

“It offers visual beauty, but it’s also a layer of life that has a story,” says Whitney Forstner, founder of Into/Art. “And when we allow ourselves to be open to that story and connection, it’s fun and powerful.”

But choosing art for your home can be difficult. You want to collect pieces that will last, that will be relevant for many years to come and that you won’t tire of. That’s a big task. where do you start And how do you know what – or where – to buy?

The right pieces are visually interesting and offer an emotional connection, but they don’t have to break the bank to be both beautiful and meaningful.

“We are all collectors,” says Forstner. “You don’t have to buy anything at Sotheby’s. Frame your child’s handprint and that’s the start of a collection.”

There are many ways to create a gallery wall. We get you going.

We spoke to Forstner and another design expert for advice on building your art collection at home. Here are their suggestions.

Determine what you like. If you don’t know where to start, spend time identifying your style. Do you like photography or landscapes? Are you drawn to realistic or abstract images? How do you feel about bold colors? Imagine how different pieces would look in your home.

“Art is not as intimidating as it might seem. You don’t have to know art history to know what you like. You can fill your home with pieces that feel personal and fit your aesthetic,” says Bridget Mallon, editorial director of MyDomaine and the Spruce. “Art should make you happy when you look at it.”

Flip through magazines and catalogs to see how art is combined with design elements and other art. Pay attention to what appeals to you. Is it the contrast of a large abstract piece with an antique, or are you more interested in muted landscapes paired with contemporary furniture?

Connecting with artists and understanding the story behind their pieces also creates an emotional bond. With artists documenting their processes through time-lapse videos and posting photos of their work in progress on Instagram, you can learn how they work and what inspires them.

Consider your space. Your walls will dictate the size of the pieces you need, and your furniture and accessories need to go well with the artwork you choose. “If someone has a big red sofa, we don’t want a big red piece of art,” says Forstner. Instead, she’s looking for “something that doesn’t compete, but complements.”

During home visits, Forstner gets a feel for the owner’s style and color preferences. She also asks her customers how a space is used and how they would like to feel in it.

For example, in a family room, she might suggest more personal items, like family photos or prints from vacations. In bedrooms, she recommends pieces with soft, muted colors, including landscapes with tones of blue and green, to create a relaxing atmosphere. In kitchens you can be more energetic and hang something unexpected and fun, e.g. B. An abstract motif with strong tones. “The art follows the moods and modes of the space,” she says.

Decide where you want to shop. Galleries are an obvious place to start, but they can be overwhelming for newbies. There are other low-key places where you can find art at a more affordable price, including local art shows and craft fairs.

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Browse museum gift shops for prints or buy postcards of artwork you love, then bring them home to see how the colors and motifs will work in your space. For prints of paintings you see in museums, purchase copies through an online retailer such as Fine Art America, where you can choose the paper, mat, and frame. Vacations provide another opportunity to explore art. Anything that reminds you of a getaway is a thoughtful way to tell your story and share fond memories.

For shopping on a budget, Mallon recommends big-box stores like Target or Ikea. “They’re pre-framed for people who might be intimidated about creating their own collection,” she says. “All you have to do is hang it up and you can’t beat the price.”

To avoid a cookie-cutter look, she recommends pairing mass-produced art from big department stores with more sentimental pieces by local artists or items from thrift stores. “If you buy the entire Target art aisle and use it to create a gallery wall, you’re missing out on an opportunity to really express yourself and your style through your art,” she says. “Think of these large-scale works of art as building blocks upon which to build with more personal choices.”

Mallon also suggests buying prints from sites like Society6 and the Poster Club. E-tailers like Minted and Etsy allow buyers to support independent artists. Minted makes artist pieces and through Etsy you can purchase prints or digital downloads to print at home or in a store. there is something [harks] back to that emotional aspect when you feel like you’re supporting someone directly,” says Mallon.

If you are looking for something quirky or out of the ordinary, Mallon suggests property sales, online auctions and flea markets. Facebook Marketplace is one of their favorite places to buy used pieces. “People who are moving or renovating want to sell quickly,” she says. “There are some really unexpected gems.”

Illustrated books are another gold mine of affordable art. Cut out the glossy pages, then match and frame. “There are no limits to what can be considered art,” says Mallon.

Play with size and scope. A big blank wall can make you eager to fill the gap, but be patient. Waiting for the right piece. “A blank wall is better than buying something you don’t like,” says Forstner.

Measure your walls and consider the scale; A cohesive, balanced collection spans a variety of sizes. “It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle,” says Forstner.

For large walls, hang two large 3′ x 4′ pieces side by side, 3″ to 5″ apart. “This usually looks best with abstracts and artwork created by an artist,” she says, “or with a diptych, which is art that spans two large canvases with one image.”

When mixing multiple sizes, hang the largest piece on one side, then group smaller pieces on the opposite side. The grouping should not exceed the overall size of the larger piece. Keep the distance between the pieces constant.

Even small art can set an example. Forstner recommends grouping nine or twelve works by an artist into a grid.

“Variety is important,” she says. “You don’t want to have a great work of art on every wall.”

Marissa Hermanson is a freelance writer based in Richmond.

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