lesson in design :: using original artwork in your home
Saturday, July 27, 2013 by {darlene}

Do you avoid using original artwork in your home because it seems like an intimidating design feat?

You can do it.

I believe there are not really any rules to incorporating gorgeous, real art into your home.

But if you are a rule person, here is the one rule I would like to propose {no surprise here!}:

*** The only rule ***

Pick what you Love! Use it.

Truly. that is it. Really, and truly.

And the fact of the matter is, the greatest designers select pieces that wow them, and find a spot where their goodness can be enjoyed. Then somehow, ‘magically’, everything seems to work and flow together; I believe the reason for this is that when you choose what you love, there is a flow of design.

But if you are hoping for a bit more guidance, here are a few tips for using original artwork in your home:

original artwork


1. Go real. or at least go very close to real.

Not all of the art in our homes can be, or needs to be, original. Prints are also wonderful {especially behind glass}. But, if you can ever purchase an original, real painting…. a real piece of art that you LOVE… DO IT!  It will instantly elevate your interior design, and the original art will bring much joy to your daily life. It is especially wonderful to support an artist you know and/or love, knowing that you have an original piece of art that no one else has.

original artwork

{via Fieldstone Hill Design}


2. Don’t be afraid to go BIG.

Huge art makes a huge impact. Huge, gorgeous, original art makes a huge, gorgeous, original impact. The end.

original artwork {via Remodelista}

3. Hang your art “en masse”

You have heard me talk about this before. But it’s true: hanging lots of smaller art pieces ‘en masse’ is a very affordable way to take affordable original art, and multiply its impact and wall space.

original artwork {via Charles Spada Interiors}

4. Mix up your subject matter {but only if you love it!}

Don’t get stuck in one subject area. “I only like landscapes.” “I only like nudes.” If you verbally limit yourself, you may never open your eyes to other original art gorgeousness; Art gorgeousness that could become a love affair. Keep your options open, and yet, at the end of the day: buy what you love.

original artwork {via Elle Decor}

5. Find good, accessible, original art

Local colleges, street fairs and flea markets are great places to score original art. I also love that there are now lots of great online resources to help you balance a room with original artwork, and shop from your own living room. For my clients who desire original art {HOORAY!}, I have the most success with Saatchi online and Serena & Lily, but I also use Etsy a lot, and occasionally Buysomedamnart.com, and even less occasionally Artistrising.com.

original artwork {art © Jessica Rae Sommer, via Saatchionline.com}


6. Frame ‘real art’ that you already own

Think outside of the paintbrush, and be willing to frame other types of ‘art,’ such as handcrafted fabric, handmade paper, antique or handmade clothing… anything that is from an era of handcrafted loveliness. Items with texture are particularly wonderful hung as original art.

original artwork {via Tara Guerard}

7. Paint yourself something.

No, seriously. Just give it a try! Or, let your kids do it!! Channel your inner child, and hear the words of your old art teacher telling you to just let-it-go. Have fun with your favorite colors. Can’t find your inner child? Be sure to read Angela’s post. Next thing you know, you will be creating masterpieces.

original artwork

 {via The Painted House}

Using original artwork in your home is worth the effort. It will transform your rooms, and elevate your interiors.

For more visual ideas on incorporating art into your design, check out my Pinboard Inspiration Art in Design.

Do you need to add more art in your home? Or, have you found that original art has transformed your home?

Which of these bite-size steps do you find most helpful in adding original artwork to your home?




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This post is sponsored by Saatchi Online

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Labeled: en masse, lessons in design


  • We pretty much only use original art. I haven’t actually pitot on the wall, though, because I don’t know what to put where. But I have a stack in my studio, framed and unframed, just waiting. I bet hidden stacks of real art weren’t what you had in mind!

    But I completely agree with the original art idea. It’s fresher and livelier than a print, IMO. Prints have their place, but I love the heart of something with its actual physical paint or fabric or ink on it.

  • Julia @cuckoo4design

    Love your post and I couldn’t agree with you more. Huge, gorgeous, original art makes a huge, gorgeous, original impact is so true and I love painting my own as well. And that chicka with the wine glass is so fabulous!

  • So many great ideas, Darlene! I only buy art that I love. If it’s inexpensive and I love it, then I buy it. If it’s pricey and I love it, I’ll save up for it. That pays off so much down the road, I’ve never regretted that! I’ve also framed souveniers like a pillow sham my sister brought back from Turkmenistan. I was free, original, and beautiful– I’ve learned fine art doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

  • Love this article!! We make original paintings at our Wine and Canvas classes and can attest that even art you made looks amazing in your home. It gives your home that personal touch!

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