Choosing Art

Choosing art is the fun part of decorating your home but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re new to it all.

There’s so much to choose from and there are so many things to get right – which walls, how many pictures, what style, which colors?   

It takes time to build up a collection you’re happy with but choosing art is a process you should enjoy.

Use the following guidelines to get started:

  • Think about what you want the artwork to do
  • Choose art you love
  • Take your time, browse art online and visit galleries to develop your preferences
  • Get to know the painter behind the painting

Rule #1 – Think about what you want the artwork to do

How do you live in the various spaces in your home?  Which areas are busiest, where do you relax? Think about the mood you want to achieve in each place and the impact you want to create. When choosing art, it’s important to decide what you want achieve.  Do you want art that:

  • creates a dramatic focal point? 
  • is vibrant and energising?
  • is calm and reflective?
  • will complement other pictures you have already?

Do you want to choose art that pulls all the elements of the room together, blending in with your color scheme and creating a sense of balance? 
Or will it be a statement piece in its own right, creating impact in an entrance hallway or in an office reception area?

Whatever you choose, the piece should create a sense of harmony in the room and not stand out for the wrong reasons.   Pale, muted colors will work well in a bedroom space but those same colors may look out of place in a busy kitchen area.

Consider size as well.  You don’t want to overwhelm a small room with a piece that’s too big, nor do you want to hang a small picture in a large room where it will just look lost.  See our page on Picture Hanging Ideas for further information.


Rule #2 – Choose art you love

This is the one rule you have to follow when choosing art.  Whether you’re spending $50 on a poster or $5,000 on an original canvas, the important thing is that you feel good when you look at it and enjoy seeing it every day.

Art collector, Lynn Johnston, says ‘I Love to stand in the Living Room and FEEL the colour.’  That emotional connection is what you should be looking for.  Only buy when you feel it.  It’s a subjective process.  What works for me may not work for you.  The important thing is to recognise when you connect with a work on an emotional level and to go with your passion, regardless of notions of “taste” or what’s ‘in vogue’.

Collectors are a good example of this. They are passionate about the art they collect and follow their heart, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  Art collector, Sandra Hobson, says:

‘For me, art is not just about visual communication.  It’s an access point to something deeper.  Art is a key to unlock the spirit. - At Home With Art by Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm, Christopher Simon Sykes

Your choice of art says something about you – it makes an important statement in your home so really listen to your inner voice when you’re making your choices.  If you’re not sure about a picture or a painting, then move on.  It’s got to be ‘love at first sight’!  

Rule #3 – Take your time, explore and have fun

Take your time and enjoy the process.   If you haven’t bought art before, it may take a little while for you to find what you love but this is an investment so don’t rush it.  The right art, well chosen, will add a whole new dimension to your home and give you years of pleasure. 

Make choosing art fun – go to art galleries and art fairs and see what you like.  The more you see, the more you’ll be able to develop your preferences. 
Prints and posters are a great way to start but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of buying an original painting you’ve fallen in love with.  There’s a wonderful selection of art online at very affordable prices.  You can choose from original canvas art or, if the price isn’t within your budget, you can go for an abstract giclee print of an original painting.

Explore the world of digital art as a source of unusual abstract pieces.  You can now also have your own or your loved one’s DNA pattern made up as an abstract painting or you can have art made from the sound waves of someone’s voice speaking a meaningful word. 

You can also have your own photographs transferred onto a large canvas or you can have them digitally enhanced to look like an original painting.
There are so many ways to express your individuality through art. Be confident about your choices and don’t be afraid to be different if that’s what works for you.  The secret when it comes to choosing art is to enjoy it all and surround yourself with things you love whatever your style. 

Rule #4 - Get to Know The Painter behind the Painting

And finally, get to know the artist too!  If you’re buying original art, it adds so much more to the experience to know a bit about the artist and their story –  what was their inspiration for the piece, where do they like to work, who or what influences them?

If you’re buying reproduction prints or posters by famous abstract artists, chances are you’ll be familiar with the names but may not know very much about them.  Check out the short biogs of artists we’ve included here and find out who they were, what made them tick, what influenced them.  Getting an insight into their lives and some understanding of what motivated and inspired them can really enhance your appreciation of their art.

There’s something for everyone in art

Choosing art takes time.  There is a lot to choose from so here are a few ideas to help narrow down your search:

If you are drawn to bold, primary colors, you’ll find a lot to love in the nature-inspired  colorful abstract art of Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Hans Hofmann and Patrick Heron

If, like Wassily Kandinsky, you love music, you’ll find his beautiful dancing shapes and vibrant blues, greens and reds inspiring.  Listening to music will take on a whole new dimension when you look at how Kandinsky interpreted music through colors and shapes.

The sacred space within a Mark Rothko painting is perfect for a more meditative experience and will draw you in and calm you.   The powerful black and white abstract art of Franz Kline is perfect for creating dramatic impact on a large scale.

If science and math is your thing, then Josef Albers’ abstract squares  and Sol Le Witt’s geometric abstract art will appeal to you. 

Look at Jackson Pollock with a fresh eye too.  Scientists have now discovered that the seemingly random, chaotic style of his paintings belies his true understanding of complex mathematical patterns (known as fractals) found in nature.   See the article (right) listed in the Links section.

So check out these artists and make use of the links we’ve provided to some really good video clips, articles and book recommendations too.