But choosing art for your home can be tricky. You want to collect pieces that last, that will be relevant for many years and that you won’t get tired of. It’s a big challenge. Where to start ? And how do you know what – or where – to buy?
The right pieces are visually interesting and provide emotional connection, but they don’t have to break your budget 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 it’s the start of a collection. »
There are many ways to design a gallery wall. We’ll help you get started.
We spoke with Forstner and another design expert for tips on building your art collection at home. Here are their suggestions.
Determine what you like. If you don’t know where to start, spend some time identifying your style. Are you drawn to photography or landscapes? Are you drawn to realism or abstract images? What do you think of bright colors? Imagine what the different rooms in your house would look like.
“Art is not as intimidating as it seems. You don’t need to know art history to know what you like. You can fill your home with rooms that feel personal and match 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 works of art. Write down what speaks to you. Is it the contrast of a large abstract piece against an antique, or are you more interested in muted landscapes paired with contemporary furnishings?
Connecting with artists and understanding the story behind their pieces also creates an emotional connection. With artists documenting their processes through time-lapse videos and posting photos of their work in progress to Instagram, you can learn more about their work and what inspires them.
Consider your space. Your walls indicate the size of the pieces needed, and your furniture and accessories should go well with the artwork you select. “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 each other.”
When she visits a home, Forstner gets an idea of the owner’s style and color preferences. She also asks her clients how a room is used and how they want to feel when they are there.
For example, in a family room, she might suggest more personal items, like family photos or vacation prints. In bedrooms, she recommends pieces in soft, muted colors, including landscapes with blues and greens, to create a relaxing vibe. In kitchens, you can be more energetic and hang something unexpected and fun, like an abstract in bold hues. “Art follows the moods and fashions of space,” she says.
Decide where to shop. Galleries are an obvious place to start, but they can be overwhelming for newcomers. There are other low-key venues where you can find more affordable art, including local art shows and craft fairs.
Our lives are saturated with family photos. Why is it so hard to hang them?
Visit the museum’s gift shops for prints or buy postcards of artwork you love, then take them home to see what the colors and patterns look like in your space. For prints of paintings you see in museums, purchase copies through an e-tailer such as fine art america, where you can choose the paper, the mat and the frame. The holidays provide another opportunity to explore art. Anything that reminds you of a getaway is a thoughtful way to tell your story and share happy memories.
For budget shopping, Mallon recommends big-box stores such as Target or Ikea. “They’re pre-framed for people who might be intimidated into creating their own collection,” she says. “You just have to snag it, and you can’t beat the price.”
To avoid a cookie-cutter look, she recommends pairing mass-produced artwork from big-box stores with more sentimental pieces from local artists or items from thrift stores. “If you buy the entire Target art aisle and use it to create a gallery wall, you lose the opportunity to really express yourself and your style through your art,” she says. “Think of these large-area works of art as building blocks that you can build on with more personal choices.”
Mallon also suggests buying prints from websites such as Company6 and the poster club. E-merchants such as Struck and Etsy allow buyers to support independent artists. Minted produces artists’ pieces, and through Etsy you can purchase prints or digital downloads that you can print at home or in a store. “There is something that [harks] let’s go back to that emotional aspect when you feel like you’re supporting someone directly,” says Mallon.
If you’re looking for something original or out of production, Mallon suggests trying estate sales, online auctions and garage sales. Facebook Marketplace is one of his favorite places to buy used parts. “People who move or redecorate are looking to sell quickly,” she says. “There are some really unexpected gems.”
Coffee table books are another affordable art goldmine. Cut out the glossy pages, then glue and frame them. “There is no limit to what can be considered art,” says Mallon.
Play with size and scale. A large empty wall may make you want to fill the void, but be patient. Wait for the right piece. “A blank wall is better than buying something you don’t like,” Forstner says.
Measure your walls and take the scale into account; a cohesive and balanced collection includes a variety of sizes. “It’s like a big puzzle,” says Forstner.
For large walls, hang two large 3-by-4-foot pieces side by side with three to five inches between them. “It usually looks best with abstracts and artwork created by an artist,” she says, “or a diptych, which is art that spans two large canvases with one image.”
When mixing multiple sizes, hook the larger piece on one side, then bundle the smaller pieces on the opposite side. The grouping should not exceed the total size of the largest piece. Keep consistent spacing between pieces.
Small art can also make a statement. Forstner recommends grouping nine or twelve pieces by the same artist together to create a grid.
“Variety is key,” she says. “You don’t want to have a big piece of art on every wall.”
Marissa Hermanson is a freelance writer in Richmond.