I was recently asked by the auction site Invaluable to explain the process I use to select art for a home.
That started a long thoughtful look at my own home and what I have chosen to put on my walls. I love art, but I am limited in my home - I have more windows than wall space - a plus and a minus all rolled into one.
Lots of windows and few walls without furniture or draperies makes you much more selective - so the art I choose to display has to really add something to the room - and as art is tied in to emotions - I have to love it (Mr. B. too!).
With my clients, I try to find something with meaning. That usually involves family photos somewhere,
but if they don't have any art they are emotionally tied in to, I try to find art that compliments the room. That can mean color...
but it can also mean size...
For extra large spaces, I may try a multiple framed installation...
I also use art to draw the eye up and make ceilings seem 'taller'
In my home we have a lot of old stuff - [not including Mr. B.] - as we love antiques and items with a history. When we were first married, we spent a lot of time scouring flea markets and antique shops and shows. It was something we enjoyed doing together. As poor as we were, we found we could afford vintage paper and began collecting Saturday Evening Post covers, vintage advertising, turn of the century (1900) poster art, ads and WWI bond posters. We studied the artists and illustrators of the times and collected specific works by the ones we liked. We still love the pieces we collected and quite a few have made their way onto our walls.
When we could afford better, we invested in prints by our favorite contemporary artist, Michel
Delacroix, 19th century naturalist John James Audubon, a sweet little princess and the frog by Charles Bragg, and my favorite black and white cat by John Simpkins. Even though others have joined their company, these early ones that we found and purchased together, mean the most to us. Viewed together they would have no relation to one another - but they elevate the areas they hang in. Art can do that. Recently my mother passed away and several paintings by my father came into my possession. He was a hobby artist who loved landscapes and I think of him each time I see them.
My latest passion in the 'what to put on your walls' category is botanical and natural history illustrations and antique architectural renderings, from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Botanical and natural history illustrations are huge right now. One cannot open a magazine or go into a shop without encountering them. I have been decorating my home and clients homes with these wonderful images.
I was particularly excited when one of my long distance clients found something perfect for her dining room walls. Here is the photo and the story Debbie sent me:
Back in the spring of 1998 when my son was in high school, he had to do a Tennesssee wildflower collection for his biology class. With a lot of help from Mom, he collected, pressed, and dried over 100 wildflowers. It was a great experience for me (if not for him) because Mom learned so much about our native wildflowers. We still have all those flowers in a notebook. One day I was browsing online for something to hang on the wall in the newly painted dining room. I ran across pressed flowers and prints, but they were quite expensive. Suddenly thought about that long forgotten biology project, and pulled them out for a look. They are still in perfect condition so I chose 4 to frame, and voila, new art for the dining room. I am so pleased with the result.
So, if I were to give any advice - choose images that grab your heart, that enhance your design, and that make an impact. While it doesn't have to match your color palette, your art shouldn't clash, and it should make sense in your room. If it sits on your walls in harmony and makes you happy - you have a winner.
QUESTION FROM A READER:
As you can see, Storm (Benjamin Moore) (above and below) can be quite dark, especially in lower ceilinged rooms, or smaller rooms, and where there isn't a lot of white trim to set it off.
Since I don't have photo of your space, you will have to judge by trying a swatch on a wall.
I will agree that it won't clash with the brick color or detract from the pool view. Most grays will be the same in that respect , and its up to you to find the one that works.
Here are a few I would recommend.
Moonshine (Benjamin Moore)
Very light and silvery - if your rooms get lots of sunlight, it could wash out.
Edgecomb Gray (Benjamin Moore)
a warm gray on the lighter side..
Gray Mirage (Benjamin Moore)
Graystone (Benjamin Moore)
Good Luck and congratulations on the new home!