The first rule of choosing art for your space is… there are no rules! Over the years I’ve discovered a number of guidelines, but ultimately, select art that makes you and your family feel good. If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t buy it.
Life is too short to live in a space that isn’t an accurate expression of who you are and what you love. However, to help you decide what pieces are best, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you choose art for your space.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Choose Art You’ll Love
The following questions and tips are only guidelines. However, they should help you narrow down your wall art options.
1. Consider how the art makes you feel. Does it bring you joy?
Whether you’re shopping in an art gallery or mobile phone or laptop, take a moment to check in with yourself to discover how each art piece that you’re considering makes you feel. Does it transport you to a faraway or familiar place? Does it give you energy or take your energy away? Do the colors help you feel calm, creative, or happy? How do you want to feel in your space? Choosing art is usually a more emotional than rational decision.
2. Is it an accurate representation of who you are at the deepest level?
Be honest. Did you ever choose clothing or a hairstyle based on someone else’s opinion over your own? Didn’t it make you feel a bit fake… like you’re pretending to be someone you’re not? Don’t make that mistake at home.
Home is where we go to relax, heal, and reenergize. Choosing art that doesn’t accurately represent who you are won’t feel good while you’re spending the money or once you hang it up on your wall. Let your personality shine through the art you choose.
3. Will the size of the artwork fit the space?
It’s usually best to select large art pieces for large spaces like your living room and smaller pieces for smaller spaces like a bathroom. Items that are only a foot in height or width for a living room, will feel awkward and disproportionate.
As a guideline, select pieces that are closer to 3 feet in width or height for the living room. Depending on the art, it is possible to add smaller pieces around the large piece. However, always go with smaller pieces for your bathroom and hallways.
Allow your art to float between your furniture and ceiling. Be careful to leave ample space underneath and on top of the artwork as well as on both sides.
4. Will your wall art be the focal point of the room?
Some art pieces are loud, busy, and bold while other pictures are more gentle and use muted tones. If you already have a brightly colored sofa or rug, choosing a competing art piece could make your room feel noisy and cluttered. Consider all the other pieces in the room and how bold they are before making your final selection.
5. Is there enough contrast between your wall paint color and artwork?
For example, if you add a picture featuring a blue ocean wave on a blue wall, the artwork will not provide much contrast between the wall color and the art. Choose contrasting colors, or colors opposite the color wheel, for maximum impact.
6. Do the colors and style of the art piece match the furniture, rug, curtains, and other artwork?
While choosing a set style for your home might be impossible, it is possible to attempt to combine styles and themes in a thoughtful way. For example, if your home is industrial and modern, you might want to consider art printed on glass or metal. In a more traditional home, canvas and framed art prints will likely work. If your home is more formal in nature, considering adding a large matte to any framed art prints.
Many homes now feature open floor plans. While this can make your home feel more spacious, it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out how to best tie all the rooms together. Choosing art by the same or similar artists can help your spaces feel more cohesive.
7. Do you have any blank space in your home?
Maintaining a single blank wall in every room or at least a blank shelf is proven to create a more relaxing environment. Observe your space and take a moment to look around before you purchase another piece of artwork. Is it really necessary?
I realize that’s an odd thing to say while I’m attempting to sell artwork, but ultimately, your happiness and peace are most important. Don’t be afraid of a little blank space.
Pro Tip: Don’t Overthink It
While considering guidelines and tips are important when it comes to selecting wall art, ultimately, it is only art. The artwork in your home is one of the least permanent objects you’ll select. Thank goodness, art is usually one of the easiest items in your home to swap out at any time.
If you love a piece, buy it. If you change your mind later, that is okay! Choose pieces you love, go with your gut, decorate, and then go have some fun.