Here at the Affordable Art Fair we’re firm believers that art makes a house a home. It’s a way of injecting personality into your space, and making your surroundings truly unique. However, we know that once you’ve been to the fair and fallen in love with a piece of art it can be tricky to decide where and how to display it at home.
We’ve been chatting to April Russell, whose interior design studios in London and New York focus on her clients’ art collections, and how they relate to the layout, space and architecture of their homes. April has shared some expert advice with us on how to maximise an artwork’s impact in your home, to make sure you get as much enjoyment from it as possible.
Getting started …
Working as an interior designer, adding art to a home is one of my favourite stages in a long process, and it’s usually the point at which the space really comes into its own. I compare adding art to a home to putting on a theatre production. You have the stage set, yet it only really comes alive when the characters step out from the wings and begin their performance; adding art to a room gives me much the same feeling. But, much like when you’re staging a play, particular characters require certain backdrops, and it’s important that your artworks are set against the correct scene to make sure they look their best when they take centre stage.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about where and how to display art in your home is how you use your space. Think about how you use each room, what you require from the space, and how you want to feel when you’re in there – once you’ve ascertained this, you’re ready to think about where to hang your art.
Bright and bold figurative art
Art speaks to us principally through its subject matter and colour. Bright colours tend to make us feel happy and alive, whilst darker and more sombre colours can set a more reflective tone.
I think vibrant, representational works with warm, rich colour palettes and homely subjects are ideal to brighten up a reception room or hall, providing you, and guests, with a warm friendly welcome when entering your home. These pieces could also work really well hung in a dining area or above a kitchen table. Kitchen and dining spaces need to be light, welcoming and liveable – bright, figurative artworks certainly help with that.
I would always consider quieter colours and subjects for bedrooms to create more of a calm, relaxing sanctuary feel.
I’d suggest carefully considering the ‘power colour’ – the most dominant shade – in your artwork. When working on interior design projects, we often design our colour palette for particular rooms around the art which will be hung in them. To make softer, more serene artworks really stand out, you should consider your choice of textiles and wall finishes, making sure these enhance rather than overpower the artwork. I’d suggest picking out the power colour, and selecting accessories which complement or contrast with it, to really make the artwork sing.
I’m particularly fond of staging sculptures and ceramics in the home. There can be a tendency to dismiss sculptural work because of uncertainty about how to display it, but I think well-chosen three-dimensional works really add a sense of finesse and importance to a space.
Use a well-lit niche or plinth (well out of reach of little fingers!) to display these pieces, and really emphasise their presence in a room. Displayed correctly, sculptural work is sure to invigorate some great conversation!
I love having art in a dressing room and I think these are spaces where the more colour, the better! I particularly love the variation and intensity of colour you can get in photographic work.
Dressing rooms are also a place where you think about and express your own style, which makes them a perfect space to push the boundaries with your artwork. Again, contemporary photography is perfect for this, but a bold, challenging abstract piece, for instance, could also work really well.
Ultimately, though, the most important piece of advice I’d give is to enjoy adding a splash of art to your home – it’s a wonderful opportunity to really get creative and express yourself through your surroundings!