Let's define the difference.

I’ve noticed a trend lately where many interior designed rooms have visuals that match the color scheme. Blue chairs, blue painting. Orange wall, orange paintings. It can seem clean but what happens when that color is no longer in style? What do I do with that expensive piece when I decide that I really love purple? I’d say the orange has a variety of issues but what is the likelihood that I’d want an orange wall for a significant length of time. If you added a stroke of this or that to the picture, would anyone even notice? Is the piece on the wall ART or decoration?

A dining room with the blues and a visual to match

Are the visuals interesting in their own right? What if the walls get painted green?


Art - noun

  1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional


Decoration - noun

  1. the process or art of decorating or adorning something.
  • ornamentation.
  • a thing that serves as an ornament.


What does that mean?

When you look at the blue painting, does it affect you emotionally? Do you connect with it on a deeper level? Can you picture yourself moving to your bedroom, den, bathroom, or office to admire and enjoy? Would you carry it out of your burning house because the thought of leaving it behind would make you cry? If the answer is no, then it’s likely a decoration. Decorations are great. They add texture and visuals to a room, but they are ornaments. Easily replaced and possibly not even missed.


True art speaks to the real you.

True art is like your individuality. You buy clothes, jewelry and shoes to match your personality. What you wear doesn’t define you. If you wore a plaid skirt would you start speaking Gaelic and eating haggis? Art can be moved and displayed ANYWHERE. It doesn’t require matching pillows or hand towels. It’s not meant to bring out the color of something else or be ornamentation to a room. In fact, the opposite is true. A genuine piece of art should have the room designed AROUND it. Everything you add to the room, you add to enhance the original art that you love and admire.

Mark Weber's original art is the focal point of the living room


This Mark Weber piece is a study in negative space. The subject of the painting is a beautifully organic natural scheme. In the living room, the blue wall color, wood flooring, print chair, and neutral rug all work in harmony to enhance the original painting. But the original work can easily be moved to a hallway, bedroom office, even a kitchen and still be enjoyed and appreciated. Its appeal is in its own merit and beauty.


Keep in mind that original art is exactly that, ORIGINAL. There’s not another piece like it. There are a million couches out there and likely two million lamps. You can find a couch to match your original artwork, but you’re never going to find another of that original art. That’s why it’s original.


So before you spend a lot of money on the “piece” the interior designer picked for your space, ask yourself – is it original art or is it just a decoration?