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How to choose the perfect art for over your bed

How to choose the perfect art for your home

Hi there! Today, I want to shed some light on how to choose the perfect art to compliment your home. I am going to ruffle a few feathers here when I tell you that art doesn’t need to “mean” something to you. Sure, it’s fascinating to hear the story about when you were held at gunpoint in Tunisia until you made a purchase in an art shop (true story from my parents). It’s also beautiful to see a portrait of your great-great-grandmother in the 1800s with a minor smirk on her face (or was it a frown?). Or maybe you imported a very expensive, one of a kind piece from an art gallery in Italy and it needed its own private jet to travel to Australia. These stories are moments to remember for sure, but are they actually working in your home?

It all comes down to two very simple questions; Do you like it and does it work in your space?

We put so much pressure on ourselves to pick the “perfect piece” when really, we just need to pick something we enjoy looking at and compliments our home. It’s that simple, so please take a chill pill and read on for a few useful tips on how to choose the perfect art to compliment your home!

Hanging artwork over your bed. How high to hang your art.

Match the colours in your art with your Interior Design. 

 

1. Assess your space, what is the focal point?

Before you do anything, study the physical room that your art will be going into. Look at the rooms shape, size, free walls and focal points.

  • Shape: you will need to choose a piece of art that compliments the shape of the room. A long skinny piece will work best in a long or tall room (like the image below). A square piece works beautifully in a square room.
  • Size: If you have a big room or tall ceilings, you will need to choose big art to prevent it from feeling dwarfed or insignificant. The biggest issue I find when I walk into people’s homes is that their art is too small for the wall it sits on. Don’t be afraid of scale.
  • Free walls: the shape of the wall your art will hang on is very important. This is the canvas to your masterpiece and needs to host a proportionate design. Figure out which wall you want to hang your art on and assess the shape of that wall (refer to “shape” above).
  • One focal point is enough per room. We don’t want to make our guests dizzy! If you already have a focal point, such as a bold rug or feature wallpaper, then choose art that’s less imposing. If you don’t have one yet, your room might feel a little flat so you can choose art that feels more visually striking.

Modern art interior design

Tall art in a tall room. The art is the focal point in this neutral room. Source: Pinterest.

2. Choose the perfect art style for your interior design.

It is so important to pick your art based on the style of your interior design. Imagine an industrial style home filled with lots of exposed brick, polished concrete and Industrial light fittings. Now imagine a beautiful, delicate water Lilies masterpiece by Monet sitting on one of those brick walls… makes no sense right? This point goes back to my introduction. Don’t hang art purely for its sentimental value. Hang it because it enhances your space and compliments your interior.

Here are some art suggestions for popular styles in Australian homes:

  • Hamptons: lots of white, cream, beige and navy blue in this style. The Hamptons home is very easily distinguished by its colour palette. Beachy scenes, shells and soft floral art tend to work beautifully in a Hamptons home. If you want to add some contrast and break the rules (like I love to), add a little pop of yellow to the art scene or go for a modern black and white print.
  • Monochrome: This is when you choose art that speaks loudly within a room. The design of the room is tame and quiet giving way to a bold, colourful piece of abstract art. Go wild here! You can’t go wrong.
  • Modern: Simple lines, neutral colours and a very clean look. This style lends itself well to line art, paint brushwork or ink designs. Depending on your taste, high fashion art looks great in a modern home too just like my choice below from “Heart n Soul“.
  • Boho: Earthy warm tones, natural materials and a relaxed vibe. This style looks great with muted beach scenes and palm trees in cinnamon and tan colour palette.

how to hang art

Choose the perfect art to compliment your interior design. 

3. Choose a colour palette. Should the art set the tone or follow the scene?

Which came first, the art or the interior design? If you are working with a blank canvas and happen to fall in love with a beautiful piece of art, run with it! Let this set the scene for how your interior design will pan out. Choose cushions, throws, rugs or decor to compliment the colours within your ar. This will pull the whole look together. If you already have your interior design complete, and the final touch will be the artwork, well then it’s time to study your colour palette. Pick out a few colours that you have going on in the room and try to find art that uses these colours or contrasts nicely. Or even better, make your own colour palette and commission a local artist to make a custom piece for you! You can find artists so easily on Instagram these days!

Modern master bedroom

Master Bedroom Interior Design by Bright Side Interiors. 

 

4. Pick the layout you want; one big, two small or a full gallery wall?

Next, you need to figure out if you want to hang one hero piece or go for multiple smaller sizes. If your art is going to be your focal point, it needs to have a wow factor. That doesn’t have to be down to its scale or its colour, you can choose to go for quantity to create a greater impact.

  • Once artwork works best over smaller furniture (such as a console table) or on a wall that isn’t too wide. Aim for two thirds the width of the furniture below it. Art doesn’t look great when it’s even to the item below it or greater. It feels top heavy.
  • Two pieces of art should be treated as one. They look great on slightly longer walls or over bigger furniture items such as a bed and a sofa (see my design above).
  • Three+ pieces of art look great on long, uninterrupted walls such as hallways, vertically within double-height ceiling spaces, or feature walls within a room.
  • A gallery wall looks incredible if you want it to steal the limelight. Gallery walls can be organised linearly or randomly (see below). Although I say “randomly”, there is still a bit of organising involved! It’s like how the millennials say “I woke up like this”….no you didn’t! You put on very light make-up and ran a brush through your hair!

Left, Studio McGee. Middle, Pinterest. Right, my design.

 

5. Hanging it up! What height should you hang your art and which frame should you choose?

By now, you will have learned how to assess a room for its size, shape, suitable walls and focal points. You will understand the importance of choosing art to compliment your Interior Design style and colour palette. And you will know exactly how many pieces you want to hang up. So let’s discuss hanging your art:

  • Hang single artwork at eye level which is roughly 1.5m from the ground to the centre of your art. The second biggest issue (after incorrect scale) I find when I walk into peoples homes is that the art is hung too high. Eye-level doesn’t mean YOUR eye level. Can you imagine if a short arse like me (5ft 1) hung art at my eye level? Only the mice would see it!
  • If you are hanging art above furniture, you can hang it 150cm – 200cm above that piece.
  • Choose a canvas for a more relaxed feel or add a wooden frame to the canvas for a more upmarket look.
  • A glass frame will provide a high-end finish, but just be mindful of reflections hiding the art if it is close to a window.
  • Use a mount if you want to provide some breathing room between the art and the frame (image bottom right). Negative space is just as important as a designed space.

Mount or no mount artwork

A mount prevents pigment from the art, rubbing onto the glass. 

 

Summary:

Do you feel like you know how to choose the perfect art for your home now? Just remember what I said at the beginning; “It all comes down to two very simple questions; Do you like it and does it work in your space?” Don’t stress yourself out trying to find that “perfect piece that means something”. Just focus on the 5 steps above and choose a piece of art that compliments your home. Choosing art should be enjoyable, not tedious. If you are stuck. feel free to send me a photo of your room and the art you are considering, I’ll let you know if you are on the right track!

Let me know if you learned anything from this blog post or if you have any other topics you’d like me to discuss!

Thank you for reading.

Tracey Bright

Tracey Bright

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