Curating an Art Collection for Your Home

Art
Curating an Art Collection for Your Home

Key Takeaways

  • Building an art collection for your home involves discovering your personal style, setting a budget, and choosing pieces that complement your interior design.
  • Research artists and styles that resonate with you. Visit galleries, museums, art fairs, and browse online to expose yourself to a wide variety of art.
  • Determine how much you can afford to spend on art. Consider starting small with limited edition prints or photographs and work your way up to original paintings and sculptures.
  • Choose art that fits the style, color palette, and proportions of the room. Mix different mediums, styles and sizes to create an eclectic, layered look.
  • Properly display and care for your art collection with appropriate framing, mounting, lighting, and conservation techniques to preserve the artwork's value and integrity.

Discover Your Personal Art Style

One of the most important aspects of curating an art collection for your home is figuring out what kind of art resonates with you on a personal level. What subjects, styles, colors, and mediums are you drawn to? Do you prefer abstract or figurative works? Paintings, sculptures, photographs, or mixed media?

Take the time to visit museums, galleries, art fairs, and even browse art online to expose yourself to a wide variety of styles and mediums. Notice which pieces make you pause, stir an emotion, or that you keep thinking about long after you've seen them. Those are good indicators of the types of art that speak to you.

It can also be helpful to create a mood board or folder where you save images of artworks and interiors that inspire you. Over time, you'll likely see themes or commonalities emerge that can help inform and define your personal art style.

Set an Art Buying Budget

Before you start shopping for art, it's important to determine a budget for your collection. Prices for art can vary widely from a few dollars for a poster print to millions for an original painting by a famous artist.

If you're just starting out, consider beginning with more affordable limited edition prints or photographs. You can find many fantastic emerging artists selling prints in the $50-$500 range.

As your budget allows, gradually start investing in one-of-a-kind original drawings and paintings. While they cost more, originals may increase in value over time as the artist gains recognition.

Sculptures tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum due to the cost of materials and laborious fabrication process. But even a single statement sculpture can add so much drama and presence to a space.

Choose Art That Complements Your Interior Design

When selecting art for your home, it's important to keep your overall interior design aesthetic in mind. The art should work in harmony with the room's architecture, color palette, furnishings, and decor, not fight against it.

Consider both the style and color of the art in relation to the room. For example, a colorful, abstract expressionist painting can add energy and contrast to a mostly neutral, modern space. Whereas a traditional still life or portrait may be more suited to a classically furnished room.

Also think about size and scale. A large statement piece can anchor a room and create a focal point, while a gallery wall of smaller works makes a graphic visual impact. Mix and match different sizes of art to create a dynamic, layered look.

Mix Different Styles and Mediums

One of the keys to a well-curated art collection is to include a diversity of styles and mediums. Avoid matching all the art in a room, which can feel stale and one-note.

Instead, juxtapose different genres of art to create an eclectic mix. For example, hang an abstract painting next to a black and white photograph. Pair a minimalist line drawing with an ornate, gilded frame. The contrast between pieces adds visual interest.

Combining different mediums also creates a richer, more tactile experience. In addition to two-dimensional works like paintings and photos, consider adding sculptural pieces like ceramics, glass, or metal works. Or textural mediums like fiber art or weavings.

Invest in Statement Pieces

While it's great to have a mix of smaller works, every collection can benefit from a few larger statement pieces. These are the show-stopping works that anchor a room and draw the eye.

A statement piece could be a massive colorful painting hung over the sofa, an oversized photograph that takes up an entire wall, or a bold freestanding sculpture placed in a corner.

When buying a statement piece, consider it an investment. Expect to pay more for large-scale original works, but know that they will likely retain or increase their value over time. Plus, you'll have the pleasure of living with a singular, impactful work of art every day.

Create a Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are a great way to display a collection of smaller artworks and create a big visual impact. The key is to choose pieces that work well together in terms of color, style, and theme, but don't match too closely.

To create a cohesive look, consider using frames in the same color or material for all the pieces. Black, white, and natural wood frames are classic choices that work with most decor styles. Or for a bolder look, use an eclectic mix of vintage frames in different finishes.

When arranging the gallery wall, start by laying out all the pieces on the floor and playing with different compositions. Try to balance larger and smaller pieces and create a mix of horizontal and vertical orientations. Once you have an arrangement you like, trace each piece on kraft paper, cut them out, and tape the templates to the wall to finalize the layout before hanging.

Properly Display and Light Your Art

The way you display and light your art can make a big difference in how it looks and how long it lasts. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure to hang art at the right height, typically 57-60 inches from the floor to the center of the piece. This is the average eye level for most people.

  • Use the proper hardware to hang your art securely. For heavier pieces, use wall anchors or install D-rings and wire on the back of the frame. Avoid using adhesive strips which can damage walls.

  • Light your art with picture lights or ceiling-mounted accent lights to highlight the work and prevent glare. Avoid hanging art in direct sunlight which can cause fading.

  • Use archival quality framing materials like acid-free matting and UV-protective glass to preserve the artwork. Avoid hanging art in humid areas like bathrooms or near heat sources.

  • Dust your art regularly with a soft, dry microfiber cloth. For deeper cleaning of canvases and other delicate surfaces, consult a professional art conservator.

Shop for Art in Person and Online

Building an art collection is an ongoing process. Always keep an eye out for new pieces to add, whether shopping in person at galleries and art fairs or browsing online.

Some of the best places to buy art online include:

  • Artsy - A curated selection of art from top galleries and museums around the world
  • Saatchi Art - An online gallery representing thousands of emerging artists
  • 20x200 - Affordable limited edition prints and photographs from contemporary artists
  • Minted - Prints, paintings, and drawings sourced from independent artists and designers
  • Etsy - A wide selection of original art and prints from independent creators

When shopping for art online, make sure to read the description carefully to understand the medium, dimensions, and framing/shipping options. Don't hesitate to contact the gallery or artist directly if you have additional questions.

Document and Insure Your Collection

As your art collection grows, it's important to keep good records and properly insure it. Create a spreadsheet or use a collection management app to document key details about each piece, including:

  • Artist name and nationality
  • Title of the work
  • Medium and dimensions
  • Date of creation
  • Purchase price and date
  • Appraisal value
  • Provenance (history of ownership)

Photograph each piece and store the images along with scans/copies of any receipts, certificates of authenticity, and appraisal documents.

Consider adding a fine art rider to your homeowners or renters insurance policy to cover the value of the collection. Get the collection appraised every few years and update the insurance coverage as needed.

Conclusion

Curating an art collection for your home is a fun and fulfilling way to express your personal style and enhance your living space. By following these guidelines for discovering your aesthetic, setting a budget, selecting pieces that complement your decor, and properly displaying and caring for your art, you'll be well on your way to building a beautiful and meaningful collection. Remember, the most important thing is to choose art that you love and that brings you joy.