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Tips on purchasing art for your home

Knowing how to choose art for your home can have a major impact on a room. When it comes to designing interiors and outdoor spaces too often artwork is treated as an afterthought. 

Here are some tips to help you when deciding to purchase art

1. Understand yourself

Art in your home is an expression of you, it is an individual statement and relationship. Do your research, start looking around to see what you like, what you are naturally drawn to. Start snapping or collecting images (from magazines, online in galleries (make sure you have permission to do this) and pull together a sense of what speaks to you.

2. Invest in pieces you love

A work of art needs to speak to you, to move you, to make you dream, to inspire you every day – you need to feel it. 

Sometimes we just fall in love with a piece which defies explanation, it just speaks to us. If this happens then do everything you can to purchase it, because when you have that strong a reaction to a painting, it will still resonate with you for years to come.

'Art is rarely going to be a bad investment but often it can take years, if not generations, for art to go up significantly in value. Think that what you’re investing in is 30 years of enjoyment of the piece and buying something that you could pass down to your family.'

Ian Hay also says that buying art to celebrate an occasion can give it more meaning. 'Buy a piece of art that marks a milestone, whether that’s a key birthday, a wedding or a smashed target at work. Seeing it every day will remind you of the celebration and make you smile.'

3. Use art as a starting point for interior design

When decorating or renovating your home, try to start with the art. I know this is often considered towards the end of the process, however, if you build your home decor around the art then everything else will fit seamlessly.

So think about your artworks right from the beginning. I find it works badly if it’s used as an afterthought as it doesn't just sing in the same way. My experience is that people get intimidated when buying art and can get a bit stuck and don’t know how to make choices. It’s best to head that off at the beginning, and start thinking about it and integrating it from day one and then through every review of the design you’re looking at everything in the context of the art. I believe that until the art is hung at the end, a space just doesn’t feel finished.

Start by deciding if you already have something you want to use, or do you need to source a piece, or is there an artist you’d like to commission something from. In some ways it’s easier if you already have a collection, but it can also be more fun finding new pieces to use in the space.

4. Don't be dictated by trends

Art is an expression of human emotions, and should not be purchased because of this month's interior colour trend. Art should be purchased from the heart not fashion. That's not to say you can't pick a theme or colours you like but try to remember that when you love a piece of art it will make your home and heart sing.


6. Consider a complementary frame

I often recommend having your artworks stretched and/or framed as this can provide essential protection to a work of art,

Whether you decide to choose a dominant color in the artwork to match the frame, or go for a contrasting color to let the work to stand out, artworks and frames should always be complementary.

A good rule to keep in mind is to hang paintings or photos so that the midpoint is between 1.5m and 1.6m from the floor.

7. Don't compromise

If you are buying a piece of art as a couple who have different tastes, please don’t compromise,' says Ian Hay. 'If one partner loves a piece and the other doesn’t, let them have their piece and they’ll let you have yours. As soon as you start to compromise on art, you’ll buy something that neither likes enough which will only lead to disappointment.