How to Curate Art For Your Home in 4 Easy Steps
Curating art for your home is no easy task. A multitude of variables exist from choosing the right artist, style, medium, or size. Throw in lighting and framing and the decision-making process can feel overwhelming and complicated. Surprisingly though, art is a lot more “user friendly” than you may think. You would be surprised at how seemingly disparate works of art can “get along” with each other or how an unlikely pairing can add an amazing new dynamic to your room. Whether or not you have an “eye”, here are four simple steps to create your own curated oasis!
1. MAKE ART THE STAR. Because art tends to be the main focal point of any room and can completely transform the energy and feel of your space take notice of how each work of art embodies its own energy and carries a unique story. Even if you don’t think you have an artistic bone in your body, being mindful of how an artwork can possess its own personality will help inform where the best home is. While some pieces might clash dramatically you might notice that unlikely works are actually extraordinary partners on your wall. Some works may need more space than others but if there’s synergy between their respective color palettes, subject matters or mediums, you might be pleasantly surprised by a story they have created on their own. Pictured above, art collector and museum trustee Chara Schreyer’s art collection is well balanced and unexpected. The art also lives as harmoniously with the architecture as it does with Los Angeles’ sprawling landscape.
2. NOTE THE PRACTICAL DETAILS. It is easy to get carried away when collecting art without having a place in mind for it first. All too often collectors buy a work because they have fallen in love with it but fail to take measurements to see if the work can even fit through their door. A good rule of thumb is to make a mental note where you want to place your art BEFORE you buy. You also want to ensure clearance of the works if you have a tight elevator or threshold.
It’s also important to consider the lighting, finishes, furniture and of course, your overall design or architecture for references or queues on the size, medium and style of art you want to procure.
Side note: If you plan to hang art above a piece of furniture it should not overhang too much unless that is it is meant to be a backdrop to the room in which case it would make up most of or the entire wall. The total width should be the same or less than the total of the furniture (including space between multiple artworks). Featured above, Mark Bradford’s ‘Thousand Daddies’, 2008, a mulit-panel collage that incorporates posters for child-custody attorneys, creates a powerful yet subtle backdrop in the family room.
3. CELEBRATE YOUR SPACE. If you do not have furniture to deal with by all means take advantage of the expansive space and find larger scale works to showcase accordingly. Otherwise, take a moment to survey your home for statement areas or walls as well as interstices or more overlooked areas to focus placing art. Avoid hanging oversized or protruding works in narrow spaces like hallways and bathrooms but be creative. Look for unused or high spaces to place art in an unexpected space like on the floor or hidden corner. For high ceilings, take advantage of the opportunity to draw the eye upward to fully appreciate the architectural design. For example, pictured above, Donald Judd’s galvanized iron stacks shoot right up to the top of the overhang creating a dramatic effect.
4. MIX IT UP. Avoid being too monotonous or “matchy” and allow for contrast. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes, colors and subject matter–you might be surprised by how very different works can relate to each other once they are in the right space. Try placing works of varying mediums together too such as paintings, photography, drawings and three-dimensional objects–you might see an exciting dynamic emerge!
If you collect an artist in depth, considering placing works by the same artist in entirely different vignettes around your house. You and your guests will be able to appreciate that artist in an entirely new context. Look for balance in materials, subject matter, color and form by counterbalancing heavy with light, old with new. Embrace the conversations, or synergy that different pieces can create when placed in proximity of one another. You might be pleasantly surprised!
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