AD – This blog post has been kindly paid for by King and McGaw but all opinions and words are, as always, my own. Use HANNAH15 for 15% off ’til Friday 14th June.
Art on the walls really does make a house a home. It’s the finishing touch so to speak, and leaving all your walls empty can make your home feel stark and unfriendly.
You don’t need to install gallery walls across every inch of your home, but a few collections of art here and there will really bring your rooms to life and give them a beautiful and unique personality (which you can change up relatively easily as and when the mood takes you).
Displaying art on the walls is also a fabulous way of bringing rented accommodation to life or for injecting colour into a neutral scheme. It can be a great conversation starter when you have friends round, it can make you chuckle, marvel, daydream, think, become pensive, nostalgic or even inspired. Art is a multi-faceted accessory in your home and shouldn’t just be an after-thought.
How to choose art for your home
I wouldn’t profess to being an expert on the subject but I have bought a lot of art recently as we finish off our home and I definitely feel like I have been learning from my mistakes along the way. Not a glowing recommendation for sure but I do know it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Is that how it makes you feel? Well I hope this helps…
Just choose what you love
Don’t be swayed by what is ‘on trend’ or what other people have. If it doesn’t evoke emotion in you then don’t buy it. It doesn’t always have to be hugely deep or meaningful of course, even just a ‘I think this is stunning and it takes my breath away’ is reason enough to hang something on your wall.
I must confess I recently bought two very large prints (one photography and one a painting) from a company based solely on the colours used and the fact that the brand was ‘very cool’. I’d seen other pieces of theirs on some of my favourite accounts on Instagram and so, in a moment of ‘just wanting to get the job done’ I rushed into two purchases which I thought would suit us (and the room) well enough.
Yet I have no emotional connection with them when I look at them now. I love the colours used but don’t feel anything for the subject and even worse, they make me feel embarrassed as I remember the rather shallow reasons behind purchasing. They’re currently gathering dust underneath our bed.
Your art doesn’t have to match your décor
This piece of advice can definitely be filed under the ‘do as I say and not as I do category’.
Don’t get too hung up on colours. If you narrow your search to colours within the scheme of your room you may end up missing something that is truly special. It can also look a bit dated and contrived if everything is too ‘matchy matchy’. Contrast will help the art on your walls really pop.
However, if you tend to be drawn to the same colours all the time then I’d say, scrap that rule and go for it! The earthy pinks, oranges, mustard and dark greens are the colour palette of the moment for me. They excite me and immediately provoke a reaction in me which takes us back to just choosing what YOU love. So whilst one shouldn’t go for art just because it’s the right colour (see mistake above) you shouldn’t also discount art that you absolutely love because it matches your sofa.
It needn’t be over thought or overwhelming. Nor does the decision need to be rushed. Take your time and you’ll end up with something timeless that you’ll love forever.
How to get the size right
You can make this process easier to visualise if you cut out a piece of newspaper to the size of the artwork (including the frame) and stick to the wall with a bit of peelable washi tape. This will help you get the proportions right or helps when planning a gallery wall and working out where all your screws need to go too.
I’d generally say the bigger the better if you’re hanging a piece of art by itself on a chimney breast or above a sofa. If you have some smaller pieces you can still make an impact by hanging them in a collection together. Sticking to odd numbers of prints will help you achieve a more balanced look. There is also a helpful size guide on the King and McGaw website which can be found here.
If you have no idea where to get started, have a look on Pinterest for different styles of art and see what you’re drawn to. Look at the frames used, the sizes they’ve gone for, how they’ve been curated and displayed and how it ties in (or not at all) with the room it is in. Once you have a collection of images that make your heart sing, revaluate what you’ve chosen and see if their are any common threads. Abstract? Classic? Certain shapes? Or lines? Or typography? A particular artist?
This will help you understand and recognise what you like so you feel more confident when purchasing. And remember, just choose what you LOVE!
Art looks ten times better in person
This is something I noticed when visiting King and McGaw in Newhaven recently. Having studied their website before the visit to the factory, I noticed artwork I had scrolled past on the website were immediately stopping me in my tracks when I saw it in the flesh. The colours are so much more intense and magnificent when not viewed on a phone screen and to see how the different printing methods created varying depths and layers of colour was such a privilege.
There are no rules
There is nothing to be intimidated by. Don’t worry if you look at art and ‘don’t get it’, that doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing it just means that piece doesn’t work for you. Move on and find something that does.
Don’t worry if the art you like isn’t seen in the galleries, or gracing the accounts of Instagram ‘it homes’. Love your kids finger painting? Frame it and enjoy it every day. Love a piece of art that your granny had? Display it and delight in the memory of her. Never heard of the artist? If you love it, that doesn’t matter. Don’t understand ‘the meaning’ of the painting but the colours and pattern inspires you? Go for it anyway.
Art brings life to your home and personality to your walls and choosing what YOU love is a wonderful expression of your own unique style. Enjoy!