Art can undoubtedly change a room. But even a world-famous work can underwhelm if presented incorrectly. Our Best Designers share their five best tips for how to make a statement with art.
1. Location, location, location.
Throw out the rulebook when it comes to where you display your favorite works.
“The main jumping off point for remodeling my built-ins was the art placement. I specifically designed the shelving to house art in a very unique way. I wanted the built-ins to be all about art instead of what you would typically expect, which would be more object centered. Here, it is reversed. To make this vignette even more interesting I broke a few ‘rules’ and placed the artwork in unexpected places. This shot has art resting on the outside of the shelf, as well as an overlapping piece that hangs below it, less than a foot from the floor. It works because there is balance, texture and interest.” —Ginger Curtis, Urbanology Designs
“In lieu of excessive cabinetry in the kitchen, we incorporated art by Stephen D’ Onofrio to be enjoyed each day.” —Philip Vanderford, Studio Thomas James
“David Heald’s crisp black-and-white photo was the perfect piece to focus your eye on the center bookcase and add some drama in this long office of large windows, painted millwork, and very little wall space.” —Susan Bednar Long, S.B. Long Interiors
2. If you can’t find it, commission it.
The just-right piece makes all the difference.
“The colors in ceramicist Maren Kloppmann’s glazes are a soothing complement to this bedroom, and the three-dimensionality of the work throws shadows that change continually throughout the day. Entitled ‘Murmuration’ after the movements of a flock of birds, the work was perfect for a room that overlooks the treetops and sky beyond.” —Wendy Konradi, Wendy Konradi Interior Design
“This wall was massive. We explored doing a salon style installation but ultimately decided to commission a piece with William McLure. He specializes in large-scale works and is fun and easy to work with. The piece arrived to Delivery Limited and they called because there were paw prints on the back. William told me the prints were courtesy of his Weimaraner, Ran. My client loved the piece even more after hearing this.” —Samantha Fisher, Samantha Fisher Interior Design
3. Strike a contrast.
Predictability is boring. A dramatic departure attracts attention.
“I worked with an art curator, Liz Beaman Delman from Above the Sofa, to find this incredible work of modern art by Gary Hume. My goal was to incorporate a modern piece of art to counterbalance the very traditional 18th-century secretary and classic 19th-century portrait. It’s the perfect piece to balance the antiques and make the room feel current, but also provide a little whimsy and fun.” —Meredith Ellis, Meredith Ellis Design
“I love the contrast of this bold geometric piece of art from the Dallas Art Fair in front of the delicate, handprinted
floral wallcovering.” —Shelby Wagner, Shelby Wagner Design
4. Set the stage.
Putting your art in the right context allows it to truly shine.
“I replaced an entry installation of a Jim Dine ‘Pinocchio’ series with the Lichtenstein ‘Cow’ series and convinced the clients to paint the wall a darker shade of blue. The pieces popped and totally complemented the Margo Sawyer sculpture and Julian Opie video installation in the adjacent area.” —Robyn Menter, Robyn Menter Design Assoc. Inc.
5. Be your own curator.
Find the grouping that speaks to you—whether you prefer a cohesive collection or curated complements.
“My client previously had each of these pieces in hallways and bedrooms in their former home and had never considered hanging them all together. They left me to install their entire art collection in a day and asked me to place items where I wanted without any knowledge of the prominence or price of a particular artist. They came home to this arrangement and it was the moment I became their designer for all future projects.” —Denise McGaha, Denise McGaha Interiors
“Our client had this collection of vintage portraits that she’d found at an estate sale. We had this wall in the dining room where we really needed something large, and Sydney, one of my designers working with me on this project, came across five more portraits that appeared to be by the same artist at Benny Jack Antiques. The resulting collection filled this wall so perfectly. It was kismet.” —Angeline Guido Hall, Angeline Guido Design LLC