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Choosing and placing art in your home

by Sinead Kelly

Selecting art for your home can be a source of enjoyment for years to come. Keys to success are figuring out what kind of art you like, how it will fit in with the rest of your interior design plans, and how to exhibit the art to the best effect in your home.

Choosing and placing art in your home

"If there is an item in your room which you wish to create a colour scheme around, such as a pair of curtains, a sofa or a throw, take a photo of this item through a Dulux Colour Click"

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Discovering art...

There are many opportunities to view art - local exhibitions, art fairs and galleries. Small towns usually have caf├ęs and restaurant that exhibit local artists. In cities, galleries are plentiful but somewhat daunting. Don't feel intimidated or put off by the stiff and chilly reception often given in these galleries, just walk on in and enjoy the art on offer! Otherwise you will never get to know what you like or don't like. Merrion Square in Dublin on a Sunday afternoon is a haven for art spotters and exhibitors.

The Internet provides the largest variety and depth of fine art available worldwide. You can visit museum websites and see master works from ages past, check out online galleries for group shows, and visit hundreds of individual artists' websites. One advantage of using the Internet is that you can search for the specific kind of art you are interested in, whether it's photography, impressionism, bronze sculpture, or abstract painting. And when you find one art site, you'll usually find links to many, many more.

Expert advice for using art in your home...

If you feel strongly about a particular work of art, you should buy the art you love and then find a place to put it.

Choosing and placing art in your home Choosing and placing art in your home Choosing and placing art in your home

Don't be dismayed if you find that when you get the art home and place it on a wall or pedestal, it doesn't work with its surroundings. This is a common problem which is usually easily resolved by simply hanging the painting in a few places in your home, trying it out on different walls. It may look great in a place you hadn't planned.

If you can't find a place where the art looks its best, you may need to make some small changes in the room, such as moving furniture or taking down patterned wallpaper and repainting in a neutral colour. Colours such as Flaked Almond, Soft Hessian and Linen, from the Dulux easycare range provide a great backdrop for displaying art. The simple changes will be worth making in order to enjoy the art you love.

Placing art in the wrong area of the house takes away from its beauty and impact

Sometimes the right lighting is the key to showing art at its best. You may find that placing a picture light above a painting or directing track lighting on it is all the art needs to exhibit its brilliance. If you place a work of art in direct sunlight, however, be sure it won't be affected by ultraviolet light. Pigments such as watercolor, pencil and pastel are especially prone to fading. Be sure to frame delicate art under UV protected glass or acrylic.

If on the other hand you select the art to suit a room, size and color are the two major criteria to consider when selecting. Art that is too large will overwhelm, and art that is too small will be lost and look out of proportion. The bolder the art, the more room it needs to breathe.

As a general rule, paintings should be hung so that the center of the painting is at eye level. Sculpture may sit on the floor, a table, or pedestal, depending on the design. Rules should be considered guidelines only, so feel free to experiment.

When selecting a painting to match colour, select one or two of the boldest colors in your room and look for art that has those colors in it. You're not looking for an exact match here. Picking up one or two of the same colors will send a message that the painting belongs in this environment.

Another possibility for dealing with colour is to choose art with muted colours, black-and-white art, or art that is framed in a way that mutes its color impact in the room.

Choosing and placing art in your home Choosing and placing art in your home Choosing and placing art in your home

Style is another consideration when selecting art to fit a room. If your house is filled with antiques, you'll want to use antique-style frames on the paintings you hang there. If you have contemporary furniture in large rooms with high ceilings, you'll want to hang large contemporary paintings.

Plain, neutral walls and lots of light is the ideal situation for displaying art. There are some fantastic neutrals available across the Dulux ranges. If a wall is wallpapered or painted a color other than a neutral, it limits your choices for hanging art that will look good on it. Also, if a room is dark, the art will not show to its best advantage.

If you want to make art the center of attraction, play down the other elements of the room like window coverings, carpeting, wall coverings, and even furniture. A room crowded with other colors, textures and objects will take the spotlight away from the art.

Selecting and displaying art is an art in itself. Experiment to learn what pleases you and what doesn't. But most of all, only invest in art you love, not a chance investment.