Artwork adds color and personalization to a home, and can also help define your style. Having photos, prints, or other art on the walls transforms a sterile space into a home. Whether you’re a collector investing in high-quality artwork or a budget-minded homeowner interested in low-cost prints, here’s a brief how-to guide to buying art.
What’s your budget for buying art?
Before you shop, set a budget. For a little flexibility, add in a 10 percent cushion in case you absolutely love a piece that’s a little outside your range. Emerging artists’ work likely will cost less than those of established artists, and flea markets or estate sales will likely have more reasonable prices than galleries. Or, consider purchasing low-cost prints online to get the look and feel without the larger cost.
Types of art
Artwork ranges from originals to reproductions, and from giclée prints to lithographs. The lithograph process dates to at least 1798 and uses a series of plates made out of smooth stone or metal. The image is engraved on the surface then used for rendered impressions. Lithographs traditionally use only four colors: magenta, yellow, cyan, and black. Giclée prints are pricier and use all the colors available on the market. It is a newer process, but does not differ much from printing off a standard, high-quality printer. Both are superior to poster-quality prints.
Look at your furniture, colors, and house to see patterns in style, then choose art consistent with one style. Having too many styles creates a chaotic feeling rather than bringing cohesion. Or, choose a complementary but different style to give the decor a sense of balance when buying art.
Size and orientation
Vertical art looks great in a tall space. However, in spaces with long horizontal walls, a vertical piece can also work, tricking the eye into believing the ceiling is taller than it is and creating a sense of spaciousness. Or, try one large piece in a small space to create a bold, dramatic look. One big no-no: small pieces on a large wall, which tend to disappear.
Scale refers to the size of your art in relationship to the size of your furniture. Experts say that art should be up to – but no wider than – three-quarters of the width of the furniture below it.
In general, it’s less expensive to frame items yourself, but custom frame shops will have far more choices. For a grouping, consider using the same finish for all the frames, which will allow the art to shine rather than compete with the frames. Add the cost of frames to your budget when buying art.
Hanging your artwork
Not sure where to hang a piece? Instead of trying it out in several spots and damaging the walls, cut paper or cardboard shapes the identical size of the artwork and fasten them in place with painter’s tape. Adjust as necessary. Mark nail spot on paper and hammer in place. Remove paper and hang artwork.
Related – How to Hang Heavy Pictures and Mirrors