Consider the humble wall. More than mere room dividers, each and every wall represents a multitude of aesthetic possibilities. While many people obsess over wall treatments and paint finishes, it’s important to remember that no vintage wallpaper or Pantone Color of the Year can be more transformative to the gestalt of an interior space than a tastefully curated art collection. Don’t worry about the hole you’ve created in your pristine wall; worry instead about what you’re going to hang on that nail! Certainly the most memorable interior environments are those that reflect careful personal attention to subject matter, intelligent placement, color, and an overall sense of harmony. It is the quality and configuration of the artworks we hang on our walls that tell the world who we are, what we value, and what we find beautiful.
Do you want to stimulate or relax your guests? Is there a place within your home for provocative or political works of art? Questions such as these can be a good starting point when choosing artworks for your home. Another good strategy is to consider the function of the room at hand. The walls of your dining room are terrific for still lifes from any period, whether you prefer a more traditional still life depicting a loaf of French bread and some wine, housed elegantly within a gilt frame, or a modern cubistic depiction of a colorful fish. A living room, especially with wide open wall space, can really bring out one’s individual creativity. Alternatively, a living room presents a great opportunity for creative collaboration amongst couples. Hallways make fantastic galleries for smaller prints and drawings grouped together. A den can lend itself to a more intimate expression, and certainly a bedroom is an opportunity for romance and sensuality. There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but a little structure can help you make these kinds of decisions.
Finally, a little information about value. Many people have bought into the myth that all fine art is prohibitively expensive. While this certainly can be true, most accomplished works are surprisingly modest in price. Investing in art is always a wise choice, as the importance of feeling good within your surroundings cannot be overstated. When choosing a painting or sculpture, try to apply the same prudent judgment that you would when purchasing an automobile, undertaking home improvements, or even buying a new appliance. Do not waste time on less than reputable galleries, and always do your homework when considering a work by an artist you aren’t familiar with in order ensure that your investment is sound. Arming yourself with at least a basic level of knowledge will incentivize an art dealer to substantiate their asking price. Yes, everybody knows what they like when they see it, but make certain that the artist being considered, whether dead or alive, has the pedigree and training one would expect of a successful artist.