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How to Choose Art That Fits in Your Home

Doesn't it look easy on television? Experts wave a wand and a home is magically made over to be warm and inviting with the perfect art to compliment the rest of the décor. Everything works together to create a perfect whole. For the rest of us, choosing art to go in our home isn't so easy.

Just ask Hilary Evans from Fort Dodge, La. She says that try as she might she just can't seem to get the right art for her home. "I spend so much time weighing decisions and worrying that I wind up not buying anything at all," Evans says.

One of the problems Evans has is she and her husband have a hard time agreeing on an art selection.

"We have such different tastes," Evans says. "I'm always afraid of bringing home something that he'll really hate."

For Evans, the problem was indecision and trying to meld divergent tastes. For other people it may be an issue of not knowing how to mix and match art with furniture or themes. Still others have difficulty finding complimentary art that doesn't break their pocketbook.

It's All About You

Pamela Pays, designer and host of the Fine Living Network's Breathing Room, believes the first step in choosing art is getting to know your own home. "The first thing you should do before embarking on the very exciting journey of buying art for your home is to walk around and really get a feel of your own personal style, the colors you have used in your home and the feeling you want to create," she says. "It's all about being confident and creating a personal style."

According to Pays, there are few rules when it comes to art if you keep the color pallet consistent within the home and have the confidence to pull it off. "I tend to stay within a color palette when buying art," Pays says. "That way you can mix styles – abstract with impressionism with portraits. You could have Warhol in an English country manor if you have other bold color and designs in that house."

When it comes to the size of art many people aren't sure whether a room needs a big piece or many small ones. Pays says to go with your own tastes and forget the rules. "You can have a huge canvas on a wall in a small room if you want to make that statement, conversely, you can put six framed photos on a wall in a huge room to make a statement too," she says.

Collecting Your Art

Barbara Lee Woollen is president of Art de Vignettes, an exclusive art gallery located in Las Vegas. She believes the first thing people should do when choosing art for their home is lose the judgement. In other words, don't judge yourself, and then don't worry about others judging you.

"Putting that criteria aside, it is important for collectors to first establish a budget, and then determine if they wish to spread the money throughout the home or art the home one area at a time," Woollen says. "This will dictate whether they are to collect fewer more substantial (expensive) pieces or enhance the home with more moderately priced art displayed over more area."

Woollen says it is important for homeowners to understand their there is no right or wrong when choosing art for your home. "I am a forever eclectic art collector," she says. "The way I handle my diverse taste is by the way in which I display the art; according to theme and with respect to room appropriateness. In my home you'll find religious art in an area of the formal living room, whimsical art in another area, celebrity portraits in the theatre."

Woollen mentions room appropriateness quite a lot when discussing art. She believes that room appropriateness allows you to set the right tone for the use of the room. "More serene, peaceful art belongs in the bedroom, more intellectual art in the study," Woollen says. "When it's time to retire you want to look at pretty images to lull you to sleep. My more thought evoking paintings and sculptures are in the more public areas, common rooms and hallways. The kitchen displays paintings of still lifes with food and an abstract by Vital called Tea Time."

Woollen says in essence, any and all art is good for the home so long as you display it in a manner that makes sense to you and other viewers. She gives the following tips to help homeowners collect art that compliments their home décor and their own personal taste:

  • Don't buy art for an investment. Choose art for the art's sake alone; because you love it – it moves you. If you collect an affordable original by an emerging artist and he becomes renown, that's a bonus. Foremost, collect what touches your heart or stimulates your mind.
  • Don't worry about where to display a piece of art that you love. Buy it. Take it home. Move it around until it feels right. You'll find the perfect place for it.
  • Don't worry about the color of the art matching upon your drapes or bedspread. Overall, color and composition are more important than a few color strokes that may not be the same shade as the couch. Beautiful art will stand alone without "matching" anything.
  • Don't forget bathrooms, powder rooms hallways and other non-obvious spots for art. Think of how much more pleasant doing the laundry would be with a favorite painting in the room.
  • Do look for art when traveling. Art is a great way to commemorate your travels, and it allows you to broaden your collection with pieces from other cultures.
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