Start with the art
Most people decorate their home – paint feature walls, Install lighting and buy furnishings – then go looking for art. But by this stage, there’s no room left to move, as the art must match the existing scheme. Try doing it the other way around. Find the artwork of your dreams, then decorate around it, as shown in the spectacular set piece above.
Notice how strongly the cushions and curtains mimic the vibrant orange of the artwork, with subtler tones being echoed through timber and upholstery. The art print has inspired a sophisticated and memorable colour harmony throughout the entire room. Follow the lead of this canny designer and work around a spectacular art piece from the very start.
Think about your lighting
All artwork can benefit from spot lighting. It brings out the colour and helps the work to stand out from the background. You don’t have to spend a fortune on lighting, but you do need to think ahead a bit.
Even if your room is brightly lit by daylight, some walls are bound to need a little lift, particularly on a cloudy day. You also need to consider what will happen at night. Will your ‘pride and joy’ artwork languish in the shadows just when you want to show it off to dinner guests, family and friends.
Here’s a great example of moody evening lighting, perfect for a romantic rendezvous or sophisticated night in. Many people have downlights these days. Instead of the standard ones, ask your electrician or builder to install swivelling ‘gimballed’ downlights close to your most important art walls.
The beam of these can be pointed toward the art, and in most cases, some light will still spill into the surrounding space, killing two birds with the one stone. Notice how the resulting light makes the art glow, leaving the rest of the room looking like a secluded corner of a posh bar or cafe!
A couple of well-chosen pendant and floor lights placed away from the wall complete the scene.
The meaning of life
Art need not be solely decoration. When we go to an art gallery, we expect to be challenged, inspired and perhaps a little shocked! Even at home, you can use art to please not only the eye, but the mind. Look for images that communicate a special meaning to you – perhaps an ideal that you live by, a reminder of a memorable experience or even a mysterious, but fascinating scenario.
This type of art will give you years of pleasure, even as the decor and function of your home changes through the different stages of life. In this design, the home owner has chosen a whimsical work whose mystery adds a romantic touch to the room. It may take the owner years of enjoyable speculation to decide on the meaning of this piece.
Once again, the designer has taken a valuable cue from the art, choosing soft furnishings to complement the warm and cool greys in the print. Using the ‘start with the art’ method, you can have the best of both worlds – a meaningful art print and matching decor too.
Roger Saddington is the founder of Printism.com.au.