How to Place Art in your Home

Shhhh be quiet you might scare in it's natural habitat can get startled easily--


Not really. You on the other hand might be experiencing tachycardia.


Looking at art in a gallery can be tough--the walls are large and make the art look smaller; the gallery environment can be cold. If you are in an antique store, or in a second hand store, it can be cluttered or have poor lighting. If you are working with a gallery or art dealer, ask if you can give them some personal information, and try the art on approval. You can take the art home and actually see it in your home. We have said this before, but always buy what you absolutely love. If it isn't sparking joy, leave it behind.


Once you get the art work home, don't be upset if it looks better somewhere other than you wanted it! I switch the art around in my house all the time-it keeps your house fresh and your eyes see objects in a new light when you move them around. Be open minded. If you don't trust your eye enlist the help of a friend or hire one! We help clients hang their art all the time.


So where do you place it?

Ask yourself "When I am in this space, how do I want to feel?" Want to feel relaxed or at ease? Use a art and furnishings with a consistent and cool color story.  Want to feel stimulated and engaged? Use hot colors in your art like red or orange. Here are some real life examples.


I use a great deal of color in my house. I love it. But in the master bedroom I restrict myself to a stricter color story.  That is our refuge. I want to feel calm and cocooned from the world in my bedroom. The living room, dining room, and kitchen? Anything goes. I have a loose color story for those rooms, but I do riff on that. I want to feel stimulated and invigorated in my living spaces. We entertain to some extent, and I think that a dining room or a conference room demands fairly detailed art.  Meetings or dinners can last a while, and the art should be interesting enough to captivate an audience. That being said, if you have a strict color story in your furnishings, pick up on those colors in your art. It will create tranquility.  You do not have to match your sofa.  Sofas come and go. (Except at my house-I just got rid of a sofa I had for 15 years.) Original art can last a lifetime. Want to feel stimulated? Choose complementary colors to jazz it up.

Mid century abstract painting in the dining room-unknown painter, but I can look at it for hours! Love the gold, green, and coral that play off the colors in the rest of the living room.

Your art should echo your style and aesthetic. 

These things may shift over your lifetime, but try to look at every piece  my goal is always to place art that is timeless. The pieces that can be seen together should relate to one another in some way. Color is one of those ways. I like color, so I like the pieces to have a color story that runs through them. You can also frame works similarly--this makes for cohesion and if you move work around it looks cleaner.  If you are a collector, you can create a gallery wall with a theme, or art with same subject can all the hung together. Spacing is key here so hanging is a little more challenging. Just measure twice and hammer once, or hire a professional.

Gallery wall featuring 1920s mirror with a collection of traditional florals all framed in gold frames-a traditional group of work treated in a fresh way. The gold is echoed in the gold console table with craft.

These pieces are in a bathroom--similar subjects and sepia color tones. We see how well the Esther Williams poster and Angie Sinclair original look great on the blue walls.

Don't forget the craft.

Craft is your bits and bobbles. You should display craft in 3s, 5s, and 7s.  The human eye likes these proportions. Believe me it works. In the gallery we like to pull color from the art and use craft in the same story.  Again you can also use complementary colors. If you want height, or you love the inside of a bowl, source an acrylic stand. A personal point from me, and I see people do this all the time, if you put craft below a painting you can hang the painting high so the craft doesn't break the plane of the art, or you hang the painting off center. I hate to see a great piece of art occluded by a lamp.

Mid century fireplace featuring "JoAnn's Chair" by Robert F. Irwin. Craft is Brian Evans, Eileen Braun, mobile by Katherine Wolf Webb and small painting "A Little Pop of Color" by Ann Parks McCray-note craft is in 7s.

The final word....

The rule is there are no rules. If it looks good to you, then it is good. If you make a habit of only buying what you love, all your art will all go together. Original art is for a lifetime and will look great in every house you purchase, over the every sofa, and in each office you have. I have seen it time and again, with people that have collected over time, their art collection elevates every space they have and can be moved around and still look amazing.


So buy some art, for art's sake!