Have you been staring at a blank wall above your sofa for months? Well, you’re not alone. Buying great art can be a challenge. Buying great art that is tailored to your space and personality can be an even bigger challenge.
Below I have created a list to focus your efforts, maximize your time, and fill your space with inspiring art that speaks directly to you. Consider the following:
You might need to find the tape measure for this one. Obviously the size of the artwork matters, but we must also consider the negative space surrounding the artwork. If the piece is going above the sofa, try to leave about 1-2 feet of empty space surrounding both sides and the bottom of the art. This will keep the area from feeling overly cramped. Ideally, you should mirror the shape of the art to the overall shape of the area.
Personally, I find this to be the most interesting part! There are a few different approaches to finding a piece to fit your room. If your space contains mostly neutral colors, a piece with a vibrant, monochromatic color palette will demand attention and show off your sleek sophisticated side.
If your space has a wider range of color, consider artwork that complements the existing color pallet. This approach helps bolster the existing decor and mood, while still expressing your distinct style. Lastly, you can skip color options altogether and seek out a piece that only uses black or grey, such as a charcoal drawing or a black and white photograph. Don’t overthink this, but do choose a direction and have fun!
Subject Matter & Style
You may already know the style you love, but if you’re like many others, choosing your subject matter could require a little digging. Begin by asking yourself a single question. What do I find most beautiful: people, places, things, or ideas? Take your answer and run with it. This is more than likely the type of art you’ll be drawn to the most.
To distinguish what artistic style you like, observe existing themes in your space (ex. clean lines, traditional finishes, houseplant varieties). Also consider what style of furniture and decor you already have (antique, modern, elegant, quirky). These elements are stylistic choices you have already made and will heavily influence the art you
select for our space.
When setting a budget I like to start by getting a rough idea of what pricing to expect before entering the market. I do so by using a simple formula of multiplying the area by a fixed dollar amount. For example, if I have determined (based on Step 1) that the piece should be 24”w x 36”h, my area would be 864”. The math here is simple, if you were to pay one to two dollars per square inch, your price range would be between $864 and $1728. Use this range as a starting point so you can better navigate the marketplace during research. Also, keep in mind the artwork may require additional costs such as framing or installation.
Finally, the time has come to start looking at art! Your approach may vary depending on how much time you want to invest. If you have more time, I would suggest searching local art fairs or artist markets. The benefit of this approach would be meeting the artist in person, and learning about their unique artistic process. A more time-saving approach would be searching trusted sites online such as 1stdibs and Saatchi Art. You’ve already done the hard work of defining what you’re looking for, so be sure to use the search filters to your advantage.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to buying artwork. There is no right or wrong, only what relates to your individual style and unique environment. I hope this instills the confidence you need to find inspiring artwork that is tailored to your space.
Remember, art is subjective.
Enjoy the process.