Choosing Art for Your Home

What are you going to put on that wall? You know the one: It’s that wall in your space that doesn’t have anything on it, or maybe has something hanging that you can’t wait to get rid of. You need a plan for that space: you need wall art. But choosing art for your home can be challenging and frustrating.

When we see art we love, we know. But art works differently in different spaces. The way we frame and hang art, the lights and colors around it, and even (perhaps especially) our mood when we view it can change the way we experience it. Sometimes, the art that looked perfect in the shop looks all wrong on our wall.

Choosing art for your home does not have to be a nightmare, though. Here are some simple and effective tips for choosing the perfect piece.

Do you really need art in your home?

First, let’s stop and think. Is it important to have art in your home? In a word, yes!

Your walls look bare without wall hangings. We humans like beautiful things, and we respond to the aesthetically pleasing look of a wall with the perfect piece of art. And don’t assume that art has to be “high art” — it can be popular or personal, too.

Make it personal

Here’s a key tip for getting the perfect art in your home. Don’t pick something because you think it looks good in some objective sense to some imaginary, abstract judge of home beauty. Instead, pick something that makes you happy. This is your home, not an Instagram account!

One great way to make things personal is to opt for a custom canvas print. Canvas is a classy material, of course. It’s what artists paint on and museums hang in elegant frames. But, thanks to custom printing, canvas isn’t reserved for famous paintings anymore. You can print a family photo or an Instagram shot from your last vacation on the same great material.

You don’t have to use a personal photo to make your art personal, of course. Your personality can shine through in what you love about a painting or a photograph that you buy at an art show, in a gallery, or online. Or you could go to the other extreme and make your own wall art — provided you have the talent for it, of course! The important thing is that you care about and love what you put on your own wall.

Shake off old-school vibes

Hanging art of the wall is a timeless thing to do. But that doesn’t mean that you should go for the classic-looking pieces all of the time. Sure, a landscape or a photograph of an old barn can be beautiful — and if they speak to you, choose them! But don’t feel like you have to stick to the tried-and-true mediums and subjects. If you decorate your space like you’re trying to emulate some old rich person’s style, it’s going to come across as bland and boring — or, if you’re not careful about the landscapes and Americana, downright kitschy. Declare war on generic art. Explore the wider world of art.

In other words, look into things like pop art canvases. Check out the cubists or the impressionists — or their modern-day disciples. Get something that will really make people stop, think, and enjoy.

Pair the painting with the room

Context matters. You can and should go bold with your wall art, but keep in mind that it will be viewed in your room, where it will hang on the wall.

That means you should remember to take into account things like the color of your walls, the colors and wood finishes that are featured in your rugs, sofas, and chairs, and the lighting in your space.

Remember your room’s purpose, too, and the moods you’re likely to be in when you’re in that room. A comfortable living room demands a certain type of decor; an efficient kitchen demands another.

If you think this through, you’ll get more effective art choices. A family photo printed on canvas might work better in your living room than in your bathroom, while a beautiful painting of a seascape might be a better choice for a beach bungalow than it would be for a ski cabin. Combined with the lessons above, understanding this will give you more beautiful spaces!