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Styling art for interiors

I am yet to buy my first piece of art but I’m certainly getting ready to make that investment. I would really like a piece that has a lot of feeling to it – that evokes memories, emotions and thoughts. But I have been worried that I will choose a piece and then my tastes change and I no longer love it as much as I once did. Dilemmas!!

So seeing a workshop designed specifically about artwork, I knew it was for me! But I will admit: before I went along to the International School of Colour and Design‘s ‘Art for Interiors‘ Workshop, I thought to myself, “how could there possibly be enough to talk about when it comes to art for homes to cover a WHOLE day?”.

Well – I was wrong. We could have spent a week on this topic and still had more to talk about!

The workshop was facilitated by the most warm and passionate interior designer – who has spent years specifying art for big budget commercial and residential projects – Emily MacAlpine. We covered art history, the art industry, different materials, and even mocked up where to place several pieces of all different style and sizes in a home.

Lots of fun and lots of learnings. Let me share five of the favourite things I came away with, with you:

  1. Artwork should be hung with the mid point at 150cm from the ground. This is a HUGE help when it comes to trying to work out how high (or low) to hang a piece. It can be tempting to try to align the top of the artwork’s frame with the top of door frames or hang according to what ‘looks best’. Using this rule helps to ensure the pieces hang at eye level and give consistency to all artwork throughout a space. If you are hanging a gallery wall, consider the highest point and lowest point of the collection of pieces as the top and bottom – and find that mid point to position at 150cm.
  2. If your budget is limited to start with – or you just want to purchase a great value piece – head along to events like The Other Art Fair, where you can discover and meet emerging artists and nab some excellent pieces that are priced really well too. Not only that, but you get to speak with the artists themselves and hear the stories behind their work. This is a really big part of choosing a piece that resonates with you.
  3. Hang horizontal pieces of art horizontal walls, and vertical pieces on vertical walls. It seems obvious, but I hadn’t considered this before and will help you work out which pieces go best on which walls. If you have a series of three vertical pieces that you want to hang side by side, be wary that this mean the trio of pieces are actually a horizontal feature and should go on a horizontal wall.
  4. The art industry has professionals who we would be silly to ignore. I didn’t know that there were jobs in sourcing art for clients! I also didn’t realise how much of a craft there is to mounting and framing pieces OR to hanging them. Find professionals who have a passion for art and bring their expertise to really make your pieces sing.
  5. Consider the subject matter in the art. Some pieces will have a sense of movement that carry the eye to the left or right, or up or down. Keep this in mind when choosing where to hang these pieces – perhaps you want the eye to be lead out of the door, or to the next piece or art, or inside a room. Also keep in mind the emotion in each piece – is it a sombre, pensive piece of art or is it jolly and quirky? By giving consideration to the arrangement of all pieces, you will allow them space to ‘breathe’ and speak for themselves, without competing for attention or clashing.

A big thank you to the International School of Colour and Design for having me. I LOVED the day! And I look forward to attending another fun, interactive and informative Melbourne interiors workshop soon.

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