By Amy Timbrell
Artwork is by far one of the easiest and most affordable ways to inject new life into your home and add final touches to your living space.
However, whilst most people would love to create an at-home gallery, sadly it is often difficult to find unique and beautiful, quality pieces with the right price tag and people can feel genuinely overwhelmed, not knowing where to start. Cue bright white, blank and boring walls.
It is a question I am often asked by my customers, so here are some of my top tips for choosing, buying and displaying art in your home.
Don’t worry too much about creating your own personal mini-gallery at home. It really is something you should have fun with, afterall it is one of the easiest ways to express yourself and your tastes and style at home, not to mention one of the best ways to inject colour, intrigue and interest into your space. Try to think of purchasing art as a 3-step process: choosing, finding and displaying. When it comes to art there is no right or wrong. You should just go with your gut and to put it simply, just buy what you like and what makes you feel good.
Before you set off on your journey, have a think about your home (or office for that matter). Take a walk through your property and take note of where your eyes fall when you enter the home, walk along the hallway, up the stairs or into a room. These are the key areas where you should be displaying and featuring art.
Once you have decided where you would like to feature art, next up is the fun part: hunting it down. If you haven’t looked at much art before and don’t necessarily have a strong feel for what you like, then the best piece of advice I can give is simple. Start by looking at and taking in as much art as you possibly can. The internet is a great place to seek out art from around the world. Look for signed and numbered limited edition graphic prints and illustrations as well as sculpture and plate art and originals from emerging artists. Seek inspiration from local galleries. They will give you a great feel not only for different styles of art, but also how art can work together, how it can be framed and also how different styles of professional hanging can really fit and complement your space. You could also take a look at art books and how people have chosen and displayed various types of art in the homes featured in interior magazines and blogs.
Choose pieces that are right for the space. Think about colour, scale and subject. Are you trying to create a certain mood? If so, the subject can help emphasise your decorating ideas. A nook can be great for smaller intimate pieces whereas a prominent space can be used to fully extol your unique style and personality.
When it comes to size and scale, don’t be afraid to group things together. Of course large pieces look great in large spaces – afterall, they need plenty of room surrounding them so you can really view them in their entirety – however if you find small pieces of art that you love, don’t fear them. Smaller pieces of work look absolutely fantastic grouped together and hung in a salon style.
Consider commissioning an original. If you find an artist whose style you absolutely love, but you would just like something slightly different, then approach the artist, or the gallery/online gallery and ask the question — would the artist be open to a commission? Many are and you may be surprised with just how accessible the price can be. This way you can get the exact piece you want and it will also last you a lifetime.
When choosing art, get creative and think outside the box. Artwork doesn’t have to have been created as art to be displayed as art and evoke those same feel good emotions. Pull together what you like and think of innovative ways and places to display it – quirky, eclectic displays of antique, vintage and modern plate art, fabric sculptures placed into bell domes, fantastically designed cards popped into frames, framed album covers, vintage signage, photography and wallpaper displays that pick up on print trends and colour. Just don’t be afraid to mix it up, the more eclectic the better. It will spark intrigue and it is intrigue that makes a room sing.
Don’t feel that you need to go out and cover every wall and space at once. Seek out one or two pieces of affordable art that you absolutely love and be prepared to invest just that little bit more. Add to your collection as you go, the feelings these perfect pieces evoke will make the extra dollars worth it in the end.
Art should be accessible to all. Many people worry about what to buy to the point of inertia. Rather than speculating on buying art and what may be a good long term investment, sometimes it is good to not get too caught up in the detail and simply buy what speaks to you; what strikes a chord and invokes an emotion. Fill your home with what makes you feel good.
An eclectic mix of art can be combined to great effect and should be encouraged, afterall it is a reflection of you, your personality and your home. Don’t get hung up on interior design and whether the piece will match with your existing decor — your linen, rug or feature chair. If you truly love a piece, you will find a place for it. Likewise, don’t feel that you need to stick to one style or form, pull together the pieces you like whether that is contemporary art, typographic prints, paintings, photography or sculpture.
Finally, if you’ve got a piece home only to find it doesn’t look quite right in the space you had planned for it, don’t panic! It’s okay to move pieces around and can actually be quite refreshing. Try hanging or displaying the art in another space or another room, lighting tends to vary from room to room, especially in Australia, and you will find this will make each piece look different.
Amy Timbrell is the founder and director of the global design collective and online boutique, Everything Begins, bringing together one of the most exciting collections of work from some of the world’s most interesting and exciting talent. Everything pictured here is available from the online store.
Jen is currently on honeymoon in Tokyo, Venice and the UK, and has opened up the blog to a series of fabulous guest posters to share their interiors-related expertise in her absence. She hopes you’ll enjoy them and look out for the odd honeymoon post from overseas! The new Mrs Francis (who will still be known as Bishop for work purposes) will be back at her desk on 11 November.
Amy Timbrell - Everything Begins says
Thanks for having me Jen! Hope you are enjoying your honeymoon :0). The wedding looked gorgeous from the photos as did you! Huge congratulations again! x
Joanne Ludlow says
Wow! This article takes me back to London a couple of years ago when I first went to one of the Open Days at Cockpit Arts. I love Abigail Brown’s flamingos. I hope one day to buy one! Thanks Everything Begins for reminding me of all the great designers out there.
Amy Timbrell says
Cockpit Arts is amazing isn’t it Joanne! We are such massive fans of Abigail’s work, it is so beautiful. We will shortly be introducing some amazing new paper mache sculptures from Abbie in-store also. As equally amazing! Glad you liked the post! If you are interested we did a beautiful email feature on Abigail’s work just yesterday. If you sign up to our email newsletter I can send it on to you! You can sign up here > http://www.everythingbegins.com/newsletter-signup/ Amy x