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6 Big Mistakes when Choosing Art for your Home



I see a lot of mistakes when it comes to choosing art for the home. And hey, before I studied and worked as an artist, I too, made many of these rookie blunders. I even made some of them recently. So I’m coming at this from a non-judgmental point of view. We’re all in this together!


I want you to love the art you buy, but I also want it to look right on your wall. I want it to look right in the room as a whole. I want it to be the best possible art choice you could ever make. Because art matters.


I think it’s good to explore some common art for the home no-no’s. These are the mistakes I used to make, and the ones I see readers and clients make all the time. Feel free to ask questions in the comments that follow this post.


Ok, here we go.





1. Waiting to fall in love with something.

Somewhere along the way, the notion was put out there by someone wanting to buy art, it had to "speak" to you. You couldn’t possibly purchase art unless you fell in love with it. Well, I’m here to tell you… that’s not true.


Art doesn’t have to mean something anything more than your sofa has to mean something, or your dining chairs have to mean something. If it works with the vibe you're going for, that’s good enough in my books!


For example, an eye-catching artwork is great, but not with an equally loud rug. Let one be the star, and the other be the supporting player. You don’t want to invest in a gorgeous big piece of art and have it stifled by other decor in the room.




2. Buying Art that’s too Small for the Wall.

It’s one of the biggest crimes I see when it comes to art for the home: tiny pieces hung on giant walls. This often happens because of budget; perhaps you can’t afford a large piece that takes up the entire wall. Or sometimes, it’s just because you had nowhere else to hang the piece and wanted to display it somewhere.


If budget is of concern, you’re better off hanging a gallery wall of smaller frames together than you are just leaving one small painting on a massive wall. Because honestly, it looks so odd.


The picture above nails the concept of the right size on the right size wall...and it's stunning!



Someone shrunk this painting!


That's Better!!!




3. Hanging Unframed Canvas Prints.

I love canvas prints. Don’t get me wrong, but this comes with some fine print. Namely, the canvas art in question needs to be framed. If it’s a piece painted by an original artist who has not intended for it to be framed and they have painted directly onto it, all can be forgiven.




Below is a painting I did for a show at LibertyTownWorkshop in Fredericksburg. I DID paint around the canvas, but was not satisfied with the "look." I took the artwork to my favorite frame shop, Frame Designs Gallery, and we picked out a "floater frame." It looks fabulous.




4. Only Buying Black and White Frames

If you are on a budget this might be your only choice, since the budget chains have such a small selection of colors. Here's the rub, however, the frame color can make or break your artwork once it’s hung. I often find a darker brown frame can add a sophistication that black and white can’t give you.


Online frame shops might be a good option. FRAMEBRIDGE is a great source with an amazing number of frames in many sizes and colors. PICTUREFRAMES is another popular site, where you can upload your photos or scans of your artwork. Check your own community for independent shops that carry many colors and custom sizes.



Black & White is nice but throwing a bit of color is not a sin.

Mix and Match colors for a vibrant look.

5. Displaying Meaningless Quote Art

Ok. I'll be in trouble on this one. I know the whole "farmhouse style" is in love with quotes.

I love quote art, and I realize that this is absolutely a personal thing. Different words mean different things to different people. But I think art, despite it not having to mean something special, should still reflect who you are and what you’re about. I think we can agree: The Live, Laugh, Love art has had it's day, right?


With this in mind, choose quote art for your walls by all means, but avoid tired cliches that have been done to death. Or better still, create your own quote art. Brands like Olive et Oriel can do it for you, and then you have your very own custom piece, which is way more special than a stock standard online order.



Be true to yourself, and come up with your own quote.

6. Not Letting Art Be the Focal Point

Art is the best way to create a focal point in your room. You know, the wow moment your eye is drawn to the moment you step foot in the space. But in order for your eye to go to it, you need the other design elements in the room to support it, not compete with it.


For example, an eye-catching artwork is great, but not with an equally loud rug. Let one be the star, and the other be the supporting player. You don’t want to invest in a gorgeous big piece of art and have it stifled by other decor in the room.



Bold in size and color; similar design in furniture.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on home art. Credit for some of the ideas to Chris Carroll and TLC Interiors.




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Feb 04

Helpful! I cannot tell you how many people I see violating the "way too small" rule. And your solution works well, just hang a group if you can't hang something big.

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