My husband and I live with our two young children in an ever-shrinking stacked townhouse with practically no storage space. There is a bounty of toys, books and various kiddie acoutrements practically everywhere. It is a beautiful hive of activity. Many of our friends in similar life stages have much more room to not only decorate with what we would consider luxurious flourishes, but to divide space for children and adult realms.
The first thing I would suggest to anyone regardless of what stage in your life you are in (children, no children, pets, single, divorced etc etc) is to plan plan plan your space. We learnt a great tip from our realtor when we purchased our home. She told us to buy a roll of painter’s tape and map out on the floor in real dimensions where we wanted all our furniture. We then had actual dimensions to take with us to various furniture galleries and could visualize exactly how our space would take shape. If you have been to enough open houses, you will be quick to notice how nothing is worse than big, clunky furniture in a tight space. Clearly homeowners did not plan a layout of their space.Not only does this make your space visually smaller than it actually is, but it also impedes movement and enjoyment of your living area.
Once you have selected your furniture and you can see how much room that wall unit or armoire is going to take up, you now can start planning your art purchases. This is where your style and personality can really start to shine through.
Some things to consider when planning where you will hang your art purchases is visibility, traffic and style.
Visibility. You want to make sure that your “wow” pieces are hung in a location which will allow you to appreciate the work on a daily basis. In our home our big “wow” piece is hung at the top of the stairs at a juncture where those entering the home can see it and appreciate it as they climb all the way up to our main floor; and more importantly we can appreciate it while sitting on the couch or having dinner. It is a fixture in our home and a focal point garnering our admiration throughout the day.
Part and parcel with visibility is lighting. You want to make sure that your artworks are well lit and that you are taking into consideration how different materials react to light. I will be writing about mediums and the effect of UV shortly in another blog post. Our “wow” piece is flooded by a lot of natural light throughout the day which is perfect for this particular piece because it is Plexi based. The natural light bouncing off the artwork makes the colours appear more dynamic and also draws emphasis to the work’s unique material.
Traffic. Pretty self explanatory, but you want to make sure that your piece is in a well traveled part of your home so it remains visible, but also safe from the destructive forces of pets and children.
Style. So intangible, yet so highly sought after. You might have heard this before, but the adage “Buy what you love” rings true. If you stay true to your eye and your gut reaction to a piece, you will naturally develop a style. You might even surprise yourself when looking at your present (or future) collection by showing an inclination towards a particular style, genre, colour family, material etc. The people with the best style are those that tend to disregard the masses and just plain adore what they have on their walls.
I personally wouldn’t worry about how things “match” with the rest of my home because there is beauty and personality in the “disorder” or the “mismatch”. If you love a work of art it honestly doesn’t matter if your home is more traditional and a daring, abstract stainless sculpture grabs your eye and won’t let go or vice versa. The question you should ask yourself is whether you can see yourself living with and loving a particular piece today and tomorrow. I’ve been to collectors’ homes where one spouse is a devout “Modernist”, loves unique materials and loud colours and her partner collects sketches by the Group of Seven. Now these two created a beautiful union of two, what some might consider, diametrically opposed styles. Jaw dropping contemporary art works against a back drop of exquisite antique furniture. Another room devoted to classic Canadiana alongside cutting edge abstraction.
This is part of the passion, the fun and the pursuit of art- nothing is off limits. Let your creativity and imagination take on new proportions in the pursuit of your collection. As long as you have planned your space and the proportions fit, enjoy the pursuit of that perfect piece to hang and live alongside you. We are here for the ride.