Art can be one of the most challenging things to choose when you’re styling your new home. We don’t all have an eye for a masterpiece, and it’s okay if you can’t tell a Monet from a Van Gough or don’t know the difference between impressionism and surrealism!

Art is so personal. What one person likes another might not. What matters most is that you love the art you choose for your home. Not your friends or family – you. Art should spark joy and send you to your happy place, you don’t have to justify your taste to anyone.

Choosing art you love is the number one tip from our senior interior designer, Jactina Evans, on incorporating art in your home. But if love alone isn’t making art jump out for you, there are some other considerations before you buy art for your home.
 

Your space
 Muted art hanging in a bedroom.

There are two options when choosing art for an existing space. You either:

  1. find art that features the same colours that already exist in your area, or
  2. buy a piece that expands on your current colour scheme and enhances the style of the room

If you go with option 1, you’re complementing the space by finding art that features colours already found in your styling. You’ll either match the main colour found in the room with the primary colour of the art or get a colour wheel out and find colours that balance each other.

Jacinta says, “if you can’t find anything that fits your colour scheme, work backwards. Once you’ve picked out your art, look for a colour in it that you love and add cushions, blankets and other home décor items that match.”

For option 2, you need to be a little braver. You’re not necessarily looking for colours that match the room, you’re looking for something bold that will stand out and become a focal point without clashing. Here you can play around with brighter colours, different textures, mixed media and abstract art. An easy way to achieve this look is by adding multiple pieces of art from the same artist around your home – the style of their work ties the living room, dining room, home office and other areas in your living space together.

And remember, a piece of art doesn’t have to be two-dimensional and take the form of a picture on a wall. Art can be a stunning sculpture, ceramics, glass and even a fluorescent light installation!
 

Your budget

 

Monotone artwork hanging against a charcoal wall. 
Art isn’t just for the uber-wealthy. You don’t need to fork out a lot of money to hang something that you love in your home – there’s an option at every budget. And, there’s always free art – gorgeous pieces that friends, kids and even you may have had a hand in creating.

If you do opt to buy, Jacinta says, “prices can vary a lot between original gallery pieces, limited edition art prints and mass-produced works”. Buying a two-dimensional work online and framing it yourself is a good option for anyone on a tight budget.”

Jacinta also explains that if you’re keen to support emerging talent or local artists, you might want to keep an eye out at local markets and online on platforms like Etsy for new arrivals that resonate with you.

If you find something at a gallery and balk at the price – it may be worth the investment. Higher price tags are usually attached to unique and labour-intensive works or artists with strong reputations.
Many artists who command higher prices are ‘collectable’ and their art is their living, not a hobby. If an investment is one of your objectives, make sure you do your homework. Like anything you hope to re-sell, there are a lot of factors attached to making a sound investment.

And, if it’s a work that you know you’ll have and love for years to come, the higher price-tag may be worth it.
 

Your theme

 

Colourful art in a Metricon display home.
Sepia themed art included wooden sculptures in a Metricon display home.
 

It makes sense that the theme of your home determines what style of art you should choose. If you’ve picked a Hamptons style for your home with whites, blues and timber, coastal and more traditional art will work beautifully in your home. If you’ve gone for a minimalist look, there’ll likely clean lines and abstract forms in the art you choose.

The theme of your home can be used to determine the type of art you choose.

To figure out the theme of your home, look at your surroundings. Think about the space where you‘ll be showcasing the art. Is it light-filled and bright, or dark and moody? Is there a lot of timber on display or none at all? Does it feature modern fixtures or traditional finishes? If you need more help, browse our Lookbook themes until you find something that looks similar to your space, or something you’d love to try to replicate.
 

The frame and backdrop

 

Two pieces of art displaying a flower side by side in a bedroom. 
Black & white are excellent choices for framing your art as they never go out of style. You can also opt for high-quality silver and gold, however, be careful the frame doesn’t compete with the art itself.
If your home has timber flooring or finishes, a timber frame could help tie the art to the theming. Just remember, if you choose a natural timber frame, make sure it matches the rest of the timber that’s on display. Multiple shades of wood is a bit of a styling faux pas unless you’re deliberately opting for an eclectic aesthetic.

If you have pieces of art that are on canvases, you might not need to frame them at all. Canvas art and canvas prints are ready to frame the moment you purchase them, and adding a frame will often break the story that the art is trying to tell. You can buy unframed canvas art online, and even get your favourite photo printed directly on. This is an excellent way to DIY your own wall decorations.

And, if you’re opting for positioning three-dimensional works in your home like sculptures or objects, think about their backdrop. Will they be positioned in front of a solid wall of colour? If they’re sitting in the foreground with lots of competing objects behind them, they’ll likely not make the impact you’re hoping for. Consider plinths and display cabinets for your multidimensional art if you really want it to stand out in a room.
 

Size

 

Two pieces of art displaying blues and whites in the lounge room. 
Jacinta believes that “art is meant to be seen and make an impact”. You always have to consider the size of your walls and rooms when you’re selecting art. Small works on a large wall can fail to achieve its purpose, so make sure you know the measurements of your wall and the piece you’re interested in. Likewise, a small sculpture in a big room may be lost in the space.

You can always group art together like a gallery wall and even experiment with a ‘salon hang’ where multiple images are clustered together on a wall. If you opt for this, try to make sure your works tell a collective story. There are plenty of great art grouping images online for inspiration and make sure you pre-plan what is hung where.

Ceramics and vessels can also look fabulous when grouped. Lots of smaller objects displayed together can pack a punch. 
 

Hanging wall art at the right height

 

A french themed bedroom with a piece of art to the side. “One of the most common mistakes people make in their homes is hanging art on walls at the wrong height – mostly up far too high,” says Jacinta.

In the art world, some gallerists talk about “Queen’s eye height” which is an old-fashioned term for saying hang works at eye-level. 

For art that will be viewed from a standing position such as in hallways or an entrance, the best rule of thumb is to position your artwork, so the middle/centre of the picture is approx. 1500mm from the floor. The aim is to look at the middle work but of course, if you have a sofa or table underneath it you might need to alter the position.

In rooms where you do a lot of sitting, lower the hanging position to suit. 

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be too rigid with heights and dimensions but keep them in your mind when displaying work so there’s no neck craning going on or peculiar layouts that jar on the eyes.  And, if you’re 5'4” but your partner is 6'2”, you may need to find a midpoint compromise!

Choosing art for your home should be above all, fun! With so much to learn and choose from online, trust your gut and go for it! 
 

Where to look 

 

Here's where Jactina likes to browse for artwork:
 
Originals

  • Flinders Lane Gallery
  • Greenhouse Interiors
  • Art Lovers Australia
  • Studio Gallery
  • Studio Stefan Gevers
  • Kerry Armstrong
  • Etsy

Prints

  • Biella Art
  • Olive et Oriel
  • Life Interiors
  • Norsu Interiors
  • The Print Emporium
  • Urban Road