Peggy Berk

Article Summary:

When decorating your home, choosing the right artwork for the right room can be the perfect way to put a great finishing touch on your interior design.

Art and Home Decor

Like other accessories, artwork can either be disruptive and jarring to the eye or put the perfect finishing touch on any room. You can find many books in your local library or home decor store loaded with the "do’s and don’ts" of artwork. However, one author’s do is often another’s don’t, so it’s not surprising that decorating with artwork can be a source of confusion.

There are many aspects to choosing artwork to complement your room, but if you get the two basic considerations right, you should be onl your way to creating a harmonious element that will enhance your room.

A formal portrait in oil can look very out of place in a casual family room. Likewise, those posters that graced the walls of your college dorm probably aren’t right for the living rooms of your post-student years. So the first step in choosing artwork for any room is to make sure that the piece is in harmony with the mood and style of the room. Evaluate the artwork by asking the following questions:

Is the piece suitable for formal or casual rooms?
While the formality of a piece can be modified to some extent with the type of frame and mat used, there are pieces which just don’t make the transition well. On the other hand, there are many types of artwork which work equally well in formal or casual rooms. Artwork should always enhance the mood of the room and, in fact, can play a major role in establishing the appropriate mood.

Is the subject matter of the artwork appropriate for the room?
While many advise restricting depictions of food or dining scenes to the dining room or kitchen, I think it is more a question of the piece’s style and that each piece should be evaluated based on its own character. It is, however, advisable to keep erotic art in private areas of the home, usually a bedroom. Very personal photos should also be confined to non-public areas of the home. If the subject matter is disturbing in any way, try to place the piece a room where the viewer has physical and emotional distance from it, such as a hallway. Never use pieces of this nature in dining rooms or bedrooms.

Is the quality of the piece suitable for the room?
An aspect of harmony often overlooked is the issue of quality. A room will look much more cohesive if everything in the room is of a similar quality. It holds true for artwork, as well. Bear in mind that the style and materials used in matting and framing can have a major impact on the overall quality of a piece.

The second basic consideration in choosing artwork for you room is the shape and size of the area in which the artwork will hang. If you draw a mental box around the wall space available for the piece, its shape will become immediately apparent to you. Vertical spaces should be filled with vertical artwork whose relative proportions approximate the shape of the wall area. Horizontal wall spaces take horizontal pieces. Square spaces can be used for square or round artwork. As to size, be guided by the size of the wall space as well as the scale of the furnishings immediately surrounding it.

When decorating your home, choosing the right artwork for the right room can be the perfect way to put a great finishing touch on your interior design.

Peggy Berk, IDS Associate, is an interior decorator who has worked with a wide variety of residential and commercial clients throughout the New York Metropolitan Area and Florida. Her design firm, Area Aesthetics, specializes in interior redesign, home staging and full service interior decorating. Peggy has authored many articles in her area of expertise.

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