How to buy art for your home
HOW TO BUY ART FOR YOUR HOME
If you’re new to the field, buying a piece of art can be intimidating. So we asked the experts, where do you start…
Main image: Caiger Art, Venton Hue Triptych by Sam Peacock
Maybe you have seen a beautiful painting in a gallery window or you are staring at a blank wall in your home and thinking it’s crying out for some interest… either way, knowing what to buy and where to place it is daunting.
The golden rule is always buy what resonates with you. Advises Andrew Stoppani of Wimbledon Fine Art: “Art more often than not is an investment in pleasure not money.” Adds Judy Stafford of Wimbledon’s Stafford Gallery: “You shouldreally love what they are buying as it will be with you, hopefully, for many years and become a treasured possession. Personal taste is very important, as artworks reflect the personality of the buyer. Another consideration is the atmosphere that you want to create in the home. Look at a lot of paintings over a period of time. Art Fairs are very helpful with this as you will very quickly understand what it is you like and don’t like. It will help you to learn what style and colours suit you and your home.”
Another option is to work with an art consultancy. Says Charissa Risley from Artfully Sorted: “Start by going through any existing pieces you have or been given, and consider having them reframed or placed in a different room. An artwork can give off a whole new sensory experience when placed in a different spot and with a more striking frame, bringing out the details of the work within. And, if you have a framed print, do invest in non-reflective glass – important to appreciate the art in its full glory rather than observing a reflection of yourself!
Resist the temptation to fill all your walls at once. “Start in the room you spend most time in – be it a living room or kitchen, as you’ll get the greatest return on your spend by placing a wow piece in the central hub of the home. Next, focus on the entrance hall, as the piece will welcome your family and your visitors as they come in,” adds Charissa.
Art consultant Katherine Wood has just launched ‘Art at Home by Kath & Company’, presenting seasonal collections of affordable and original art showcasing them in parts of her home to help demystify the process. Kath advises: “If you love the piece and it intrigues you or lifts your spirits, it will work in your house! Think about where you want the piece of art for and that room’s function – do you want a piece for a quiet space like a study or do you want it for a dining room – perhaps as a conversation piece? Or even for the bathroom – a work to contemplate above your bath?
What if you have a period home, can you go for contemporary art and vice versa? Absolutely, says Kath: “The contrast of old and new enables you to showcase different aspects of your period or contemporary home – for example, seeing the details in that Georgian desk in a new light because it has a modern piece of sculpture displayed on it. It is exciting to experiment with different eras.”
As for colours, says Kath: “If you are buying something with a particular colour scheme in mind it is often a stronger choice to select an artwork that contrasts with the scheme rather than matching it.”
But what about the practicalities – how big, how small should you go? And how to light it correctly? Says Kath: “Don’t be afraid to buy something large for your interior – we are often tempted to go smaller as we can guarantee a work will fit but in fact it is more effective to choose something that really holds the space. Think about what kind of lighting the work might need, where the natural light comes from into your house, from the north or south, and be careful to place light-sensitive and fragile works away from direct sunlight.
Daisy Simpson of Ad Lib Gallery in Wimbledon advises on mixing sentiment with style: “A vintage holiday postcard, a study found at a car boot sale and a new painting can all work together. Be clever with framing to unify the works and create a gallery wall, starting small and hanging centrally with a view to add more works later. Pair original art with prints or photography which are often cheaper. Even framing an antique rug or cherished tapestry cushion cover can add depth to a room.”
How much you spend on a piece is up to you, clearly, but, as Daisy notes, great art needn’t be expensive. “If you love an artist’s work, get in touch. It’s highly likely they’ll have sketches and studies they’re willing to sell at a lower price. Larger works can warrant higher price tags so if you don’t have the budget, try adding gravitas to smaller originals by using wide mounts and don’t be afraid to install on larger walls. The intricacy of a smaller work can be truly appreciated if the viewer is drawn in and encouraged to look more closely. But if you’re keen to fill a space, works look great in pairs or larger series so see if you can get a deal by selecting multiples.”
Above all, enjoy the process. Says Georgina Khachadourian of Pullman Editions, which specialises in limited edition art deco posters: “Choose something that gives you pleasure to look at . This could be a scene that evokes memories of a happy holiday or a special time, or it may be a bright and bold image that simply makes you smile. Think of art as an investment in pleasure rather than speculating about whether it may appreciate in value. Whilst purchasing a unique piece or limited edition increases the likelihood of this being a possibility, trends come and go.”