wikiHow to Select Art for Your Home

Three Parts:Knowing what is availableChoosing the artPlacing the art

Selecting art for your home can be an exciting adventure and a source of enjoyment for years to come. Keys to success are figuring out what kind of art you like, how it will fit in with the rest of your interior design plans, and how to exhibit the art to the best effect in your home.

Part 1
Knowing what is available

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    Look at as much art as possible before you make your selection. In addition to museums and for-profit galleries, check out local outdoor exhibitions, co-op and non-profit galleries, and art in public spaces such as banks, restaurants and libraries. The Internet is another great way to find a large variety of fine art available worldwide. One advantage of using the Internet is that you can search for the specific kind of art you are interested in, whether it's photography, impressionism, bronze sculpture, or abstract painting.
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    Search for great art that you favor. Online auctions sites are one great place to search. Check out the self-representing artists for your best values. Stay clear of the assembly line Chinese art, as these are mostly ripoffs from legitimate artists on eBay. There are many artists who represent themselves at a savings to you. Check out the S.R.A., Folk Art and Contemporary categories for your best buys! Don't forget to check feedback. Numerous negatives will often burn you. Read about the seller and ask questions before you bid. If they don't respond, look on down the line. You'll find a seller you like who will respond.
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    Visit school art shows. If you live near a big city which has a well-known Art School, find out when students are going to exhibit their work and attend the show. Though students at famous European schools are likely to be asking more for their work than unknown small town schools, you are still going to be buying cheaper than at a commercial gallery, you know the artist is a top performer in their year, you can be sure they have put a lot of work into their piece, and who knows, they may become very famous and their early paintings will be sought after!

Part 2
Choosing the art

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    Select art by size to fit a particular space. Art that is too large will overwhelm and art that is too small will be lost and look out of proportion. The bolder the art, the more room it needs to breathe. Measure the space you want to hang the art and leave enough "white space" so that the painting will not feel crowded.
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    Choose artwork that harmonizes with the colour of your room. When selecting a painting to match color, select one or two of the boldest colors in your room and look for art that has those colors in it. You're not looking for an exact match here. Picking up one or two of the same colors will send a message that the painting belongs in this environment.
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    Opt for paintings that match the style of the paintings is your room. If your house is filled with antiques, for example, you'll want to use antique-style frames on the paintings you hang there. If you have contemporary furniture in large rooms with high ceilings, you'll want to hang large contemporary paintings.
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    Amend your room if the painting doesn't suit. If you find that when you get the art home and place it on a wall or pedestal, it doesn't work with its surroundings. If you bring a painting home and it clashes with its environment, first try hanging it in various rooms on different walls. It may look great in a place you hadn't planned on hanging it. If you can't find a place where the art looks its best, you may need to make some changes in the room, such as moving furniture or taking down patterned wallpaper and repainting in a neutral color. The changes will be worth making in order to enjoy the art you love.

Part 3
Placing the art

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    Hang correctly. As a rule, paintings should be hung so that the center of the painting is at eye level. Sculpture may sit on the floor, a table, or pedestal. Rules should be considered guidelines only, however, so feel free to experiment. One collector hung an acrylic painting on her bedroom ceiling so she could better view it while lying down.
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    Make the painting the center of attraction of your room of your house by playing down the other design elements such as window coverings, carpeting, wall coverings, and even furniture. A room crowded with other colors, textures, and objects will take the spotlight away from the art.
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    Experiment to learn what pleases you and what doesn't. Selecting and displaying art is an art in itself. You will be well-rewarded for the time you invest by finding more satisfaction both in the art and in your home.


  • A wide light-colored mat and neutral frame create a protected environment for the art within.
  • Discover what kind of art you like by looking at as much art as possible. Look on the Internet or in local galleries, museums, and public spaces.
  • Another choice is color. Consider how art with muted colors, black-and-white art, or or colors interacts with the colors in your room.
  • Make sure there is enough light on the art to show it off. Consider track lighting or picture lights if the art requires more light.
  • Another alternative is to choose original artwork based on your photographs. Choose a high resolution (very clear) photograph that you would like to have displayed in your home. Decide on a size and a medium (for example: pencil, acrylic paint, watercolor, etc). Choose an artist that does work in the style you like, and contact them about your project. Ask about the cost. (Do an online search or contact a gallery you trust and ask them if they can suggest an artist that will do commissioned work). Decide on an artist and a price point you're comfortable with, provide them with the photograph and specifications (as well as the date you'd like the finished work). Sit back in anticipation of the amazing work you'll soon have in your home!

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Categories: Decorating with Prints and Pictures