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Guide to Buying Art for Your Home

Buying art for your home is a huge investment and commitment. You should really love something before you hang it above your dining room table and then have to stare at it every day! It can be tricky to know what art should go where or if a piece is priced fairly. Because we aren’t all art experts, below are some tips before you start your search.


Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make while purchasing art for your home is to buy on impulse. Art is usually expensive and is something that you will be stuck with for a long time. You definitely don’t want to buy a piece that you end up getting sick of after a few weeks. A good way to avoid this is to do your research. Find out what you like, visit galleries and even museums to really get a feel for what you like. The more research you do and art you look at, the more you’ll get a feel for what you like and what you should buy.


Before you start your hunt, be prepared! Know the dimensions of your walls before looking for a piece to fill them. You should bring these measurements with you everytime you go to a store or gallery so that you can know exactly how that piece will fit in your home. It is also helpful to bring along a photo of the room in which the painting or art work will go. You can use this to visualize how the art will fit into your home decor and spacing.


If you really don’t think you have an eye for art, consider hiring a professional buyer to advise you on your purchases. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the art world, they can expertly match pieces specifically to the rooms in your home. Another benefit of hiring an expert is that they can negotiate on your behalf. Artists are sometimes accused of taking advantage of first time buyers so hiring someone who knows all about the process could end up being worth the cost.


Picking a stand-out piece of art is all about “complementary contrast”. You don’t want your art to blend into the room or be too matchy-matchy. Make note of the color and decor in a room and pick a piece that will contrast it enough to draw attention but not so much that it looks like it doesn’t belong. A modern print could be just what your antique dominated home needs. A classic colorful tempura paired with black and white photographs you took yourself provides a healthy contrast that draws attention.


If this isn’t your first time buying art and you want a change, try a different medium. People often are wary to stray from the typical painting on canvas and forget about the many other mediums that can make a room more unique and exciting. Sculpture, watercolor, photographs, there are tons of mediums that are forgotten about when purchasing art for a home. If you already have an oil painting hanging in one room, consider changing it up with a small sculpture mounted on a side table.


What the artwork depicts is also extremely important. Try to match the content to the tone of your room. While contrasting time periods and mediums can look great, contrasting content can throw off the look of the room. A sophisticated style pairs nicely with a painting of a sophisticated woman or landscape. A modern room may clash with the same painting.


To make your artwork look better and like it really belongs in the room, invest in good framing! The framing of a painting can really make or break its overall appearance. As a rule of thumb,  the frame should always be matched to the room and not necessarily the painting it holds. Also, be sure to hang the art carefully, it will drive you crazy if it’s uneven! The center of the painting should be 60 inches from the floor. For preservation, keep the piece out of direct sunlight as the rays can make it fade or damage the exterior.



Have more questions about decorating your home? Contact a real estate expert at Door!

(Image via Marco Verch, flickr)