How to buy artwork

If you ever wanted to buy original art but dismissed the urge as being in the realm of the lucky few, think again. No matter what your budget, you can be the owner of original art at any time these days. The key in investing in art is to figure out what kind of art you actually like, and deciding how it will fit with the rest of your home.

If you are a regular museum or gallery visitor you must have by now a pretty good idea of what kind of art you like, and you may even already have favourite artists. Hanging art – abstract, landscapes, portraits – sculpture or photography. If not, and you really want to join the millions of proud art owners, start visiting nearby galleries, art fairs and museums; even small towns have at least one gallery these days. And of course turn your attention to the internet, the means by which art and artists are viewed by millions more, and artistic work is sold internationally at affordable prices to the click of a button.

Now, an important question you have to answer before you begin searching, is whether the art you will buy should suit the room or should the room suit the art? Most artists of course would prefer that their art is bought for love of the art, and then find a place at home to put it. So, if you feel strongly for a piece of artwork, then that’s the way to go, buy the artwork that sings to your heart, even if you think that it will not suit the colour scheme or style of your home.

At home with your loved artwork in hand, let’s assume that what you bought is hanging art. First, hang it in different rooms, trying it out on different walls. It may suit a room or a space which you hadn’t thought before. If you can’t find the place for it within your current home style, try changing the furniture layout, or taking down patterned wallpaper and repainting in a neutral colour; the changes will surely be worth making to enjoy the art that you so love.

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Make sure that anywhere you hang the artwork your lighting is the right one, to show it at its best. You will find that all it takes most times for your beloved art to look its best, is to direct task or picture or spot light on it. Do not place painting art in places accepting prolonged direct sunlight, as they may well fade. Pigments such as watercolour, pencil and pastels are especially prone to fading, as opposed to acrylics, which do not fade. Also, be aware of glare; if you are hanging art framed behind glass, do not hang it on a wall directly across a window, as the light will create glare and the art will be lost on the wall. If you insist that this is the right wall for your art, try using non-reflective museum glass – available at higher prices, but worth it if glare is an issue.

Now, if you want to choose art that will suit a particular room (its colours and style), read on, you will find plenty of guidance further down. But before, we shouldn’t neglect saying that if you like changing your home decor frequently, buy more cost-effective art than expensive art pieces, to enrich your particular theme each time, based on your chosen colour palette. But if you want to invest in an art piece that will stand the test of time, choose colours that will work in most colour schemes.

With regard to the location of your art, try to buy calming art for a bedroom for example; but if your art will be in the living or dining room, it can be bolder and more dramatic. If you use the living room to relax, do not choose a loud piece of art or any artwork that seems to be taking over the room. It’s a good idea that the purpose of the room where you intend to display your art, influences the tone of the artwork itself.

Deciding factors for art intended to suit a particular decor, are colour and size. For any space, art that is too large will overwhelm, and is best in large spaces, like a barn conversion; whereas art that is too small will be lost and will look out of proportion. If colour is the deciding factor (if you are choosing a piece of art to match a colour in your space), select one or two of the boldest colours in your room, and look for art that includes those colours. This will surely send the message that this piece of art belongs in this particular environment.

When selecting frames for your artwork, do bear in mind the level of weight your walls can take. Sometimes canvas artwork can be hung without a frame, for this exact reason. This solution is chosen sometimes by developers and landlords in show homes or rental properties. If you do want to use a frame, tie it to the location where the art will be hung, as well as to the art theme; the frame is usually a continuation of the art picture rather than a contrast. But there is no rule keeping you to use a contemporary frame for your period art for example. Just make sure that the frame does not ‘bury’ the artwork and forbids it to shine through.

Clearly, an art-friendly room is a room that has similar gallery features, like white walls and plenty of light. Patterned or textured wallpapers, darkness, too many textures on the furniture, colourful carpets or too much accessorizing will take away the attention from your art. If you want it to be the main feature of your room deco, choose simple, plain and neutral colour schemes in that room, lay hardwood floors or a neutral carpet, and, with regard to the furniture, follow the rule ‘less is more’; nothing in the room should overshadow the art on your walls or the sculpture pieces on your tables or floor.

Finally, whether you are buying original art from auction, a gallery or directly from the artist, do try to stick to your budget. In the midst of biddings in an auction for example, you may get carried away, and spend much more than what you intended. And remember that you can always discuss your budget with gallery owners and artists; they can help you find original artwork that will suit your budget. You don’t have to buy a masterpiece as your first piece of artwork, you can begin with smaller pieces and expand over time. The best original art collections in fact, give the most enjoyment to their owners regardless of their size or value.

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If you appoint an interior designer for your home it is also their job to source and purchase the artwork for you or to work with your interiors to fit aesthetically around your existing artwork.

For art, photography and product enquiries on this site please enquire within.

Sources: We want to say a special thank you to Trowbrigde Gallery for lending us some of their art for this blog:

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