How to choose wall art that works in your home - Lifestyle AU
How to choose wall art that works in your home

How to choose wall art that works in your home

Here in Australia, we have always taken pride in our homes and lockdowns and pandemic conditions have only heightened this feeling and our attention to our spaces. A great way of elevating the style and feel of a room is to feature some wall art.

Words by Yohei Guy

If you're new to art collecting, the prospect of this can feel daunting. Fortunately, learning how to choose wall art doesn’t have to be a difficult and stressful process. By following a few simple steps you can make an informed decision with wall art that matches your tastes and complements your home.

A residence in Bellevue Hill, Sydney with wall art supported by Art Hanging Systems - Photography by: Eamonn McLoughlin

Match the mood

One of the first tips for choosing wall art is to match the mood of the room you want to display it in. Well-placed wall art will automatically become a focal point and set the tone for the entire room it’s in.

For instance, a very intense piece of art might not be ideal for a dining room where you want to achieve a calm ambience. If you want to sit at your dining table and enjoy a relaxed meal, then you might want to pick a piece of art that is soothing with a more neutral colour palette.

In contrast, maybe you want to create a more energetic feeling in your dining area? Perhaps one that encourages animated dinner-time conversation? If so, art with busy visuals or a bright, high-contrast colour palette could be the better choice for you.

Consider your home’s overall design style

Another important step for finding the right wall art is to consider your home's design style. Art is an automatic focal point and if the style of your art doesn't make sense in your home, it can throw everything off balance.

Matching art with your home's overall style creates cohesion that is natural and pleasing to the eye.

For instance, if your home has a coastal theme, you probably want to avoid bright, avant-garde art pieces and instead focus on wall art with a colour wheel that includes those common to the coast, such as blues, greens, and beiges. You can also look for motifs that speak to the sea and travel.

You don't have to go overboard and cover your home's walls with pictures of seashells. But you do want to make sure that the art you choose subtly harmonises with your design scheme.

Beautiful wall art features at the Carlotta Residence by Oblica - Photography: Murray Fredericks

Get clever with colour

One of the tricks to making sure the pieces of wall art you choose work in your home is to pay attention to colour. If you hang a piece of art that picks up colours in the rooms it's in, this will instantly create visual continuity.

For instance, if your living room has a grey rug, a brown leather sofa and a mustard coloured accent chair, hanging a large piece of art that has tones of grey, brown, and yellow will tie the room together beautifully.

This doesn't mean that every piece of art you choose has to incorporate all the colours in a room but it is a good trick to keep in mind.

If you want to make a bold statement and add something dramatic, you can also consider choosing wall art that clashes with the dominant colours in the space.

Consider scale

Another important element is scale. When choosing art it's important to think about the wall area you want to fill. If it's a large wall, one or two small frames might not have a noticeable impact.

For larger expanses of wall, it's best to either opt for large scale pieces or a gallery wall. Depending on the layout of the room, you can also choose to do multiple configurations of wall art.

The exquisite art of Glebe Park House by Mackenzie Pronk Architects - Photography: Roger D'Souza

Mix art styles

If you want your space to look like it was put together by an interior design expert, try to mix art styles where you can. This creates a curated, collected impression and effect.

For instance, a gallery wall that combines watercolour pieces with oil paintings, sketches, photographs, and line drawings will look more "designed" and curated than a selection of similar wall art prints.

If this sounds like a challenge, don't worry. Healthy eclecticism is one of our strong points here in Australia. Thanks to our diverse heritage, most Australians are adept at mixing old world art, with contemporary pieces, ethnic art, and more.

Don’t stop at pictures

The next top tip in choosing wall art is don't stop at pictures. While paintings, pen drawings, and photographs make for a fantastic starting point, things like mirrors, three-dimensional wall sculptures, plates, carvings, and wall hangings can also add a great deal of value.

Textile wall hangings can also add nice texture, depth and softness to walls adding again to a curated look. Another option is to hang a precious rug up as a unique wall hanging.

A variety of styles expressed at Emerald Terrace from Euroluce - Photography: Rhiannon Taylor

Choose your frames carefully

When choosing pieces for your walls, it's not just the art that matters. The frames you choose play a powerful role as well.

The frames you select should fit your overall design aesthetic and complement the art it protects. For instance, if your interior design style is modern, then ornate, gold frames aren't necessarily a compatible choice.

Alternatively, if yours is a more traditional home and you have lots of vintage oil paintings, intricate gold frames would be right on the money.

Think big

When choosing art, it's very important to think big. Often, we're tempted to do the timid thing and get the smaller print, do a smaller gallery wall or stick to small canvas prints over the fireplace.

If you shy away from making a statement with your wall art, it won't have impact.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and go for a bold statement piece. Maximise your wall space, get oversized art where suitable, consider things like triptychs and be courageous with your gallery walls.

A bold piece of statement at Balaclava Residence by AV-ID - Photography: Peter Marko

Don’t rush the art collection process

Lastly, don't rush the art collecting process. One of the most vital rules in how to choose art is to select pieces that speak to you and have significance.

Because of this, the best art collections take time to build. Slow down, enjoy the process and you will find art that truly inspires you and fits your home.

Know how to choose wall art like a pro

Knowing how to choose wall art is an integral part of interior design. However, once you know the basics, finding the right wall art is an exciting process. As Australians, we’re becoming more house proud than ever and by selecting wall art that is bold and meaningful to you, you’ll be more house proud too.

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