BRINGING ART INTO YOUR HOME

PRIMER:

BRINGING ART INTO YOUR HOME

Two experts on how to coordinate artwork and interiors.

You've found a work of art you love and it's time to bring it into your space. But how? Whether it's the living room or the bedroom, chances are high that there's already some well-established decor (furnishings, design objects) to work around, and finding the best way to showcase your artwork so it's in harmony with its surroundings can be a balancing act. To make the process simpler, Platform spoke with interior stylist Natalie Choy and interior designer Isabel Ladd to learn their insights, strategies and tips for seamlessly fusing your art and interiors.


PLATFORM

What are the most important factors to consider before bringing a work of art into a home?

NATALIE

Art is one of the most powerful implements in a room that can truly transform the space and infuse it with character and personality. Being conscious of the room to create harmony with decorations and furniture is an important factor to consider before incorporating art. Looking at things holistically, how does art bring the room together and create a narrative? And trusting your instinct is an important factor when incorporating a work of art into a home. There is no right or wrong; it comes down to personal taste. That’s what will resonate with the space and make it truly special and your own.

ISABEL

The single most important factor is that you must love what you surround yourself with. Forget scale, color, provenance and frame. Only ask yourself: Do I LOVE it? Because if you do, then hang it in your home! The rest will work itself out as you can find the right place to work with the scale and colors of the artwork.

PLATFORM

Are there any good strategies for balancing and coordinating art in a room with furniture or design objects?

NATALIE

Remember that paintings are only one way to add art to a room: you can use sculptures, works made from textiles, glass, digital components. There are many different mediums that can hold their own and contribute wonderfully to a space. It’s important to first think of the room as a whole—look at each piece of furniture, the design objects and the interior of the room itself—and consider the ambiance you want to create. Then use your imagination and creativity to incorporate different artworks to that effect.

ISABEL

Have a whole lotta fun with framing! You can select different frames and mats to coordinate with the furnishings and design in your room. For instance, the color in a mat can be plucked from a color repeated in your furnishings. If you have a patterned wallpaper as a background, then select a frame and mat that will complement that. If you have touches of metal throughout your space, then pick that up again in your frame.

Andrew Kung Photo
PLATFORM

Can artworks that are very different stylistically from a home still work in that home? If so, how can they mesh, and how can those different styles be used to complement one another?

NATALIE

Totally. I think it’s wonderful to be a little strange and unusual. One way you could let the art complement a space that is stylistically different is to find a similar color scheme within its furniture or decorative items.

ISABEL

It's imperative that the art in your home feel curated and collected. The best way to accomplish this is to have artworks that are very different stylistically. Mix the mediums: watercolors, oils, photography, charcoal and prints. And mix the styles: abstract, realistic, impressionistic, still life, and modern. It's simply more interesting and enticing to see a variation of art enhancing one another, as opposed to everything in one style or medium looking flat and boring.

PLATFORM

Are there any common pitfalls you see when people try to incorporate art into an interior?

NATALIE

Framing. Investing in a good frame can truly elevate the work and let it shine in the space on top of protecting it.

ISABEL

The most common pitfall I see when people try to incorporate art in their homes is when they get hung up on everything "going together." Do these frames all need to match? Does the color in this art piece match the color in my pillows? Those concerns can lead to analysis paralysis. It's more important to surround yourself with art that entices and inspires you first and foremost. Mixing and not matching lends for a more collected look than honing in on one that's matchy-matchy.

PLATFORM

Any tips for pairing multiple artworks in the same room? What are some thoughtful ways to arrange artworks so they don't get lost in the room or take away from one another?

NATALIE

A great start would be to have a firm grasp of the overall atmosphere you want to achieve and then to create a ‘concept’ for the space. It doesn’t have to be complicated: it could be as simple as a “portrait room,” for example, or “landscape.” Working around a theme is one of the simplest ways to arrange multiple artworks in the same space. 

ISABEL

Pair pieces of art together and layer them in interesting ways. For instance, a rectangular piece on the bottom provides visual weight for a smaller piece above it. Hang objet d'arte alongside art: mirrors, sconces or pottery enhance art without necessarily competing with it. Look through inspiration photos for unique patterns to hang art—it doesn't always have to be a straight line. For me, design—especially hanging art—is so instinctive. I just know when to keep going and when to hold back; when to layer with found objects and when to leave the art on its own; when to light a specific piece and when not to. If you know what you love, but it's not instinctual to you where or how to place art, or how to source or frame art, then call upon a seasoned designer or art curator to guide you.