The Final Design Consideration - Fine Art

Your new house or redesigned room is complete. The carpet, paint, and new furniture and accessories are in, the plants are selected and strategically placed happily thriving in their containers. But wait. There’s an empty spot on the wall. You say, “What can I stick here?”, or, “It needs something.” Oftimes after the large investment you made creating your wonderful space you scramble to find that “something” to cover fill the blankness glaring at you.

That space more often than not, cries out for artwork. You researched your other decorating needs, maybe secured a consultant. Either nothing was mentioned about art, or it was glossed over in conversation. Unfortunately, this area of decorating is overlooked or saved as a final design consideration. How do you go about looking for that perfect solution?

There are many resources available for selecting and acquiring art for your home or office. You can hire a consultant specializing in art acquisitions, however, most people prefer to go it alone. Art is one of the most personal and subjective of decisions and must be carefully selected. Here are some tips to help you find that perfect piece!

It has been said that people buy art for one of three reasons; first, as an investment (which suprisingly, is the least reason of the three); second, to match a particular environment, colors, etc., and third, and greatest reason most buy art&emdash;because they like it! Ideally, you want to buy your art before decorating the room for that third reason. It is more difficult to retrofit art to your space than the other way around. But there is an abundance of art available so it will be just fine. When you find that special painting, drawing, or even sculpture, you’ll know it. You’ll sense an emotional tie to the art, which will grow even stronger over time... much like falling in love.

Where do you start...where do you go? Just as with other design decisions you made, spend some time researching and consider your budget. You can purchase original art, or for more modest budgets, limited edition prints. Any art you buy will cost you something. Framing alone is very expensive if done correctly (we’ll address framing more later.)

Getting Started
Get a feel for the space you want to fill. How wide or tall is the wall? Measure the area, observe the paint color, surrounding items, carpet, etc. Prepare a sample swatch board if you can. This will help if you need to match for color.

What kind of art do you like? Do you prefer very realistic paintings or more abstract? Do you like calming landscapes, still-lifes, paintings with figures, or are do you want a portrait of your family?

If married, shop together. You’ll discover the differences and similarities between what your preferences. If you like the same type of art it’s great fun. You can discover a piec you both want. If you like totally divergent styles and mediums, make a deal. When one finds a painting/drawing/sculpture they like, the next time the other selects.

Where To Go
Armed with your specifications there are many resources options for securing art. Along with the following suggestions (and don’t forget ask friends and colleagues for recommendations): 1. Galleries
Galleries, whether in our region or while on vacation can be a tremendous way to purchase art. Knowing the type of art you are drawn to (realistic or abstract) can immediately hellp you select which you’ll visit. The Yellow Pages have gallery listings, and or local/regional give descriptions on what they offer. 2. Directly from artists
3. Art Fairs and Local Art Shows
2. Registrys
3. Estate sales
4. Auction houses
6. Art Agents

Your “Collection”
The first piece of art you purchase will begin your “collection.” One nice aspect to this collection is that you can move it around. Don’t think you have to keep it in the exact spot f o r e v e r. Just as museums move their art around, so can you! Just as you periodically move furniture around, moving your art will maximize your investment and freshen up your home/office’s look. Limited edition prints vs. original art.

Johnson is an award-winning artist and instructor with over 30 years experience and was Founding Editor of Plein Air Magazine (now Fine Art Connisseur. See all her current and archived sold works at
©1995-2009 L. Diane Johnson