By Alex Carter
What comes first, the art or the surrounding styling? It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation but it doesn’t have to be hard! Picking art can be a daunting task, let alone figuring out how to tie it into a space.
The simplest way to do this is to start with a blank room and choose a piece of art that you love. From there, pull the colours out of the paintings with furniture, rugs, florals, ceramics, cushions, throws and any other accessories to create a visual journey linking colours in different mediums.
My favourite thing to do is to pay special attention to the least represented colours to really make the space exciting. In the living area pictured here I’ve used ‘Be mine forever and ever’ by Kirsten Jackson which only has one patch of green but I have emphasised this by including a shag rug with a bright green pattern, green velvet cushion on the rattan sofa and hints of green on other cushions and in florals.
By doing this, it makes the green in the painting stand out in a way it wouldn’t if there was no other green in the space.
If you’re adding a piece of art to an existing space, consider the existing furniture, wall colours and decorative pieces that will be staying and let this inform the colour palette of your selections. Like everything with colour, art can be complementary to the space or contrasting.
For example, in the dining room, the art is a huge ‘Happy Face’ painting by Kirsten Jackson. This piece is extremely vibrant, large and bold so I have made this the focus and kept the rest of the styling pared back with a few pops of colour to link the painting to the room.
Whereas, in the bedroom the painting is softer so I have amped up the colour and went all out with the bedding, repeating all the colours in bright and cheerful hues!
At the end of the day, art and colour are extremely personal and subjective. Whatever way you choose to go, having art in your house that you love will always work. It’s a fantastic way to show your personality and to change the vibe of a space by either making it exciting or relaxing. Trust your gut and have fun with it!
–Alex Carter is an interior and photoshoot stylist at harlow + willow