Discover how to choose wall art for your home with our comprehensive guide. Whether you’re a seasoned wall art collector or a first-time buyer, this no-regret buying guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips. Learn how to select artwork that complements your interior design, expresses your personal style, and enhances the ambiance of your living space.
From understanding different wall art styles and mediums to considering scale and placement, this guide will empower you to make informed decisions and curate a meaningful art collection that brings joy and beauty to your home.
1. How to Choose Wall Art for Your Home: Style First
The first thing you need to work out is what style you have going on in your home. Perhaps you don’t even know what your style is. Never fear, because I wrote this post on finding your interior design style, and it has a list of the most popular looks. Once you know what your style is, it will dictate the kind of wall art you’ll want to look for.
Imagine, for example, you have a Hamptons home like this one I put together recently for my Camberwell client. Hamptons style automatically dictates a colour palette. We know Hamptons is wonderfully white, with pops of blue, some greys, occasionally black and sometimes even accents of gold. It’s soft, it’s serene, it’s sophisticated. It would be weird to bring in a bright red painting with a street wall art influence, right?
The same goes for an industrial interior design scheme. You’ve got exposed brick, you’ve got metal chairs, you’ve got concrete and maybe even a fair amount of black on walls. It would be just as weird, then, to pop up a wall artwork featuring pink roses in a white frame. It’s just going to fight with the scheme you’ve got going on.
2. Now, Decide if you Want Wall Art to be the Focal Point
Every rooms needs a focal point. When you walk into your living room, for example, what’s the first thing you notice? That’s your room’s focal point. Now, sometimes not all focal points are good. It could be that your eye goes right to an aircon vent on the wall. If that’s the case, you need to change the focal point.
Now, wall art can be an amazing focal point. So can a rug. A focal point is usually one of the two in a living zone, but it could also be stunning lighting. Perhaps you have a pendant as a feature in your space. Or it could be a quilt cover set in your bedroom.
The moral of the story is this: your room should only have one focal point. So if you already have one, choose wall art that’s less imposing. If you don’t have a focal point yet (and the room feels a bit flat or boring) then you know you can choose art for your home that feels more visually striking.
When I say less imposing, by the way, I don’t mean that the wall art has to be small. I just mean it won’t be bright, or heavily patterned. Size really matters when it comes to wall art, and that brings me onto my next point.
3. Then Figure out the Right Size
Honestly, the biggest wall art issue I see when I walk into a home has to do with scale. There will be a huge wall with a tiny piece of wall art on it. Or a huge wall with three small frames spaced miles apart. I know that larger wall art is naturally more expensive, but it’s worth the splurge to save your space from looking off-kilter.
The wall art needs to speak and relate to the furniture around it. For example:
- Art should span almost the entire width of your bed’s headboard
- It should also run almost the full width of your sideboard or dining table
- If it’s above an entry table, same rules: span almost the full length, but never over
- If it’s in an area with no furniture below it, it should take up a large amount of that wall
Look to the images in this post that show you how wall art takes up a space size-wise.
4. Deciding on One Large Piece, or Two Smaller Ones
Often, in a spot like above a bed, you’re left wondering if you buy one large piece of wall art, or two smaller ones. It actually doesn’t matter, as long as the two artworks will still almost span the width of the headboard. Ensure you factor in that you’ll need 10 to 20cm of space between the two artworks when they’re hung though.
Whether you buy one artwork or two also depends on what else is going on in the room. In a living room, for example, with two walls across from each other, I would always vary the wall art. So I’d do one large piece of wall art on one wall, and then two smaller artworks on the other wall. If you do one piece of art the same size directly across from one another, it looks like a weird mirror image.
You can also do a grid of wall art, or a trio of art on some walls too. It’s all about figuring out the size of wall you need to fill, and then filling it with something. That something can be one piece, two pieces, a four grid, and so on.
5. To Buy Canvas Wall Art or Framed Art?
I wouldn’t get too caught up on this one. What I will say though is that unframed canvas wall art can look more relaxed. Most of the budget chains that sell canvas art unframed sell it this way because it’s so cheap to produce. And because of that, it can feel cheaper on your walls.
The exception to this rule is original wall art, where an actual artist has put their heart and soul into something on a quality canvas. You can tell the difference between that and something a budget chain is selling for $15. I love to support local artists doing amazing work, so if you do to, check out this post on amazing local abstract artists.
Framed canvas wall art can look a bit more upmarket. I tend to put this in a lot of my client homes. Having a black frame around a canvas artwork often gives it a bit more presence in a space. And then framed art behind a panel of glass can look the most high-end. Depending on what art sits inside it, of course.
Word of warning about glass wall art: think about light coming into the room when it comes to wall art behind glass. Often, if you’re in a room flooded with light, the glare on the glass can be so great that you barely see what’s behind it. And so you defeat the whole purpose of hanging a gorg piece of wall art on your walls.
6. Lastly, Hunt Down a Piece you Love
You should have a good idea of how to choose wall art for your home now. You’ve figured out your home’s style. You know if you want the wall art to be a focal point. You’ve got your sizing sorted. And you’re across the configuration. The last piece of the puzzle is to find art that ticks all of those boxes and is something you genuinely love.
But truly, don’t get stuck in the love mindset. You can like it. You don’t have to be falling head over heels for it. It’s really about how the room looks as a whole, and the wall art is one piece of that puzzle.
If you follow all of the guidelines above I’m certain you’ll know how to buy wall art for your home when you’re in-store. Or even online. It’s funny to think that the design itself is almost the least important part to get right, but it’s true. All those other factors are crucial, then you finally get down the the design in the last leg of the race!