Where do I start?
So you’ve made the decision to buy a piece of work… and then what? Deciding to give a lovely print or painting a partner, to revamp an empty wall, or to completely overhaul your existing space by purchasing some brand new and beautiful artwork, is often the easy bit. First time buyers may find the task of choosing and purchasing a print, painting or sculpture a little daunting — but trust us, it needn’t be. Spending some time planning your pathway towards that perfect piece of art, from the space it will occupy to the budget you’ve set, not only speeds up the process, but means that your chosen piece will really shine in your home. And in the meantime, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Read on for our tips about how to get started once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy.
Once you’ve figured out which room is having a new artwork, it’s worth bearing in mind a few practical considerations. First up, it’s important that the space is light — ideally with natural sunlight, but a few well-positioned spotlights will do. Avoid placing the artwork too close to a lamp or in direct sunlight, as this may cause it too fade. Similarly, radiators can be damaging to some artworks not under glass, so beware! If it’s a sculptural piece you have in mind, make sure the space you’ve picked isn’t one that is often rushed through, so you can rest easy in the knowledge your new sculpture won’t be accidentally bumped. Think about the size and take a few measurements so you’ll have these to hand when making your purchase.
Once you’ve decided on a piece of wall which may work, step back, take a few photos, and check you’re happy with the spot you’ve gone for. Think about the room: what kind of work will fit in with your interior? Are you hoping your piece will contrast with your existing furniture, or complement it? Remember that opposites attract; a bold, bright abstract work can look amazing in a clean, white space; similarly, a busy room can really benefit from a monochrome or minimal piece which oozes calm - for more tips, check out our How to: Curating at Home blog.
Now you have a feeling for where the work will hang and a rough size in mind, it’s time to think about your budget. This is where our Online Shop comes in handy, as you can filter works available by price. Our dedicated Under £1000 section means you can browse the hundreds of works on the lower end of the scale; if you’re looking for something on the larger side, you’ll be surprised at how affordable larger photographs or limited-edition prints can be. If you want to splurge and invest in something a little more expensive, then the shop is your oyster.
If you’re worried about making a commitment, many galleries offer a ‘try before you buy’ scheme, where you can borrow work to view it in situ for a specified period, before making that all-important final decision. Similarly, the Own Art scheme is a fantastic way to take an art work home with you, as you can pay in monthly instalments.
And if anything takes your fancy, you can quickly see when their gallery is next exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair, and book yourself a ticket to pay them a visit. Doing a spot of research beforehand means you can go to the fair with a list of which galleries you want to hit, limiting that fair fatigue. Which leads us onto our next point…
Buying a ticket to the Affordable Art Fair not only gives you access to thousands of artworks all under one roof; it’s also a chance to speak to the experts. Our galleries understand that buying art is personal — everyone’s approach and tastes are different. Any questions you may have, chances are the experts have heard them all before. So head to a gallery you’ve seen online, or just amble through the aisles until something catches your eye, and get chatting. If you’re still unsure, then check out the fair programme and join a tour of the fair — you may be more drawn to an artist, style or medium once you know a bit more about the inspiration or story behind the work.
As well as a great opportunity to browse and buy affordable art, it’s also a fun day out, so remember to relax. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, or finding it hard to come to a decision, mull over your ideas at the cafe or bar, or take a break in an arty workshop. Bring the family or a friend (and don’t forget dogs are welcome at most fairs too!), get the kids involved, or if you fancy making an evening of it, come along to one of our evening events — with complimentary drinks, music all evening and lots to keep everyone entertained.
The Best Bit
You’ve chosen that piece, taken it home and unwrapped it. And now the most exciting bit: seeing it in its new home for the very first time! We love this bit too, but before we can sit back and enjoy our new perfect piece, a little patience is required. If your work is unframed, you may need to get in touch with a framer. If not, it’s now time to hang the work.
Our advice: plan ahead. Make sure you have the right tools and a friend on hand to help. For some more technical details, our handy guide on hanging has all the tips you need to effortlessly and easily get that picture on your wall.
And that’s it! By following these simple steps, you’ll be enjoying having new work in your home in no time.