Using art in an interior should always be considered at the outset of a design, rather than as an afterthought, as its potential to influence a space should not be underestimated. Depending on the medium and style of artwork chosen, the effect of its presence in a space can entirely change the mood and concept of an interior. Whether hanging a painting, a print, a photograph or any other visual media, below are my top reasons why art is important in an interior.
Art creates a focal point
As any designer, stylist or decorator knows, every room or space needs a key focal point or strong design element. It’s not enough to just place items in a room and assume it will work – there always needs to be a visual anchor holding everything together, and giving the eye a resting point at which to contextualise all elements around it. In a minimalist or monochromatic space, a key piece of art can help to bring visual weight to an otherwise restricted décor, and help tie all the elements together without dominating and overwhelming. As shown in the photo below,
the piece of art on the left wall in the kitchen brings a pop of colour into the monochromatic palette, forming a focal point without interfering with the other design elements. By drawing the eye in, the piece of art provides a visual anchor, supporting the surrounding design elements.
Art can set the mood
Art has the profound ability to change the mood of a space depending on its style, message and design and can uplift, inspire and motivate, or just as easily drain energy and emotion. This can be achieved through the medium, for example an oil art has a rather different energy to a typography print, or it can be achieved through scale and composition. As shown in the photo below,
which is a corner of the restaurant at Soho House in Berlin, by hanging a cluster of pieces together in a gallery wall, the space has elevated from a heavy, structured stand point to one of intrigue, humour and a little bit of quirk.
Imagine the different energy this space would contain had a single piece of art been hung in the middle of the wall. It would have felt constricted, and predictable. By hanging multiple pieces in different sizes, mediums and shapes, the artwork successfully engages the patron and relaxes the space.
Art is meaningful
We all begin our lives as little artists at kindergarten, playing with paints and scribbling with crayons, and proudly present out work to our parents when we get home. As we grow older, this interest in art becomes broader, and we often find ourselves purchasing art on holidays, printing photos of our families or commissioning a painter to recreate our favourite landscape. We do this because art is meaningful, and is a great reminder of travels, places, people and the things we love. As shown in the below photo of the Black & Bleakley residence in Byron Bay the art in their living room represents the families personal taste, style, history, and is a beautiful way of adding a personal touch to the space they inhabit.
Not only is it an interesting conversation starter, but in a commercial setting it can shape and display the image, beliefs and values of a firm in a suble and create way. By sharing our art without, we are sharing a part of ourselves, and it is this meaning behind a piece of art that gives it longevity.
Art is adaptive
It is a common misconception that a piece of art should be matched to an interior, or at the very least complement each other. While in theory this concept sounds right, in reality, a well matched interior brings no surprises, and can be too calculated and boring. By matching art and interior, we also fall into the trap of needing to purchase new items to match if one of these elements is changed. Instead, by purchasing pieces that you love and that speak to you, they will always adapt to the space they are placed within, whether that be in a supporting or dominant role.
In the photo above, the dining room of Guy Maestri is an eclectic mix of art across every piece of wall. Despite the incredible variation of work, each item has managed to adapt to its surroundings, with all pieces playing a supporting role to each other.
Instinct is far more important than playing by the rules, as you will always tire of a piece you don’t love quicker than you will something that doesn’t perfectly match an interior. As art is also subjective, the way we perceive a piece is entirely personal, and can be a completely opposite perception to the person next you. Always trust your instinct with purchasing art, and always purchase things you love. As a fantastic investment due to its longevity, art in an interior is a great way of injecting a personal distraction onto an otherwise empty vertical surface.