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Tips for Finding and Complementing Wall Art

With our August Art Month in full swing, I’ve been paying more attention to artwork and its place in our projects—specifically how we choose pieces, where we choose to display them, the kind of statement we want to make in our clients’ favorite spaces. As an interior design studio, that’s literally our job, but if you want to source and place artwork on your own (or design an entire room around a work you love), I have a few tips to share.

 

Tip 1—Statement-making pieces to center a room

Specifically in larger areas with lots of wall space, an attention-getting piece can really serve as an anchor point. Bold colors, contrast, and focal shapes are all things to look for when you’re on the hunt for the perfect artwork to elevate a room. If you already have an established color palette or furniture with subtle colors, art is a great way to bring out shades or accents that might otherwise go unnoticed. Or you can work backwards, starting with a piece you love and playing up its strengths with complimentary furniture.


Tip 2—Using similarity and proximity for effect

If you’re working with a collection of prints or pieces, displaying them on nearby walls is one way to let their similarities unite the room. Especially if you’re dealing with smaller areas of wall space, separating pieces makes it possible to display a series or handful of related looks without losing a cohesive first impression. Just make sure colors match or complement one another—or that they’re stylistically similar (all abstract, for example).


Tip 3—Give a bold piece the right backup

Surround an impressive piece with less impactful, more supportive work to really make it “pop,” highlighting its impact in a room. If you’re trying to make wall space a little more exciting, this is a great option.


Tip 4—Use similar frames to bring dissimilar art together

When you’re trying to display stylistically dissimilar art on the same wall, it can be tricky to get every piece to “play nice” with the others. Don’t give up! Sometimes, all you need is a common theme when it comes to framing. Hone in on a look you love—matte black, polished silver—and carry that frame through each piece. Making a change to how you format a collection automatically gives the impression of unity within the display.


Tip 5—Think outside the frame

Displaying artwork is always on a case-by-case basis. Determining the best look for a clients’ home is never something we can decide out of context; it always depends on what’s right for the client’s taste, the room in question, and the characteristics of the art itself. Different mediums, lighting, sizes, and styles all deserve very different treatments, so it’s important to step back and decide whether or not a frame is your artwork’s best choice. Sometimes, the most impactful look is the most simple—or abstract, styled on a wall.

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