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How to choose the right artwork

By Darren Palmer

Art can be treated in one of two ways. The first is the simplest to explain. Décor and decoration choices should be created in harmony with each other, with colours, materials and patterns referencing each other in a palette that focuses on compliment and contrast.

Finding the right pieces that work alongside each other without being matchy-matchy is the key so you need to look for variation in colour, texture and shape to keep the right balance of tying things together whilst also giving enough interest to make items pop against their surroundings.

You also need to consider the palette as the starting point. Whether it be blues, greens, neutrals or whatever your heart desires, it’s by planning your palette of materials and colours first that will make your purchasing decisions easier and your finished result better.

Art as part of this process is one way to approach the purchasing of art.

You might find an amazing piece that has the colours you have in mind for your room. Say that artwork has 5 or 6 colours in it, you would want to limit the colours drawn from it to inform the decorative choices in the rest of the space to 2 or 3 key colours. If there are patterns or themes that you would like to reference then consider dialling those elements back too.

You might be interested in creating a particular style that contains a particular type of wall art. Tropical leaves for a tropical and relaxed feeling, watercolours or biological studies of flora and fauna work nicely in a country home, shells and ocean inspired works in a beachside environment and tribal elements fitting in perfectly with a Modern Wanderer style approach to your interiors. Whatever it is, do some research, find your inspiration and then source appropriate pieces to include into your spaces as part of your décor. Creating vignettes around these decorative art pieces can create the best and most impactful results.

The other approach to art is much harder to explain.

It’s visceral, emotional and subjective.

Art can be treated completely aside from the décor of the room it’s in. Art can be used as a stand-alone focal piece that makes your room better purely because of its own form, irrespective of the colours or themes contained within it. The best art, in my view, is the stuff that makes your heart pound in your chest or that invokes a thought or feeling that you want to experience in your room when you view it. The best art is the thing that you love and have to have, in spite of wherever you choose to put it.

You can cluster pictures together in a gallery or French Hang to create a wall of diversity and interest. You can hang different types of pictures from different artists all in one room, revelling in the interest and difference that it creates. You can give one artwork pride of place on one otherwise blank wall to create drama and a place for you to get lost when you take it in. That sort of approach to art is entirely up to you and what you desire, what inspires you, what it is that you feel attached to and what lights you up. That approach to art needs to be found, to be explored, to be unearthed and to be invested in as something that will add to any room that you want to include it in. That approach to art is all about you and what you want, so be sure to keep note of the pieces that you see in your travels. They say if you can’t stop thinking about it you should buy it, and never a truer word has been spoken in terms of art.