7 Tips for Picking a Painting
The subject of paintings in a home is not easy, but we are going to make you familiar with these 7 tips. Let's get started!
Raphael - The School of Athens
#1 - Room Style
Let's start with the most important tip for picking a painting. It is essential to know what design style home you have. If you have a Farmhouse home, a farm scene painting is going to be great for you. Farmhouse paintings can include a field of lavender, farm equipment and barns, and pictures of livestock. Contemporary homes usually have abstract paintings, surreal paintings, and colorful pop art paintings (Think Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein). Traditional homes are known to have classical art like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus, and Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino's (Raphael's) School of Athens. Transitional homes make use of more modernized abstract, wildlife, or floral paintings. Bohemian homes are known for paintings of many cultures and are best when they look vintage. When it comes to Coastal homes, seashell or nautical images of a ship at sea can do the job. Mediterranean homes can have café paintings, scenes of Greek alleyways, or Venetian canals. Modern homes call for Modern art, which means bold or outrageous art, or even traditional Japanese Minimalist art. You may be asking, "why Japanese Minimalist art? Well, Modern homes are commonly clean and minimalist. Depending on whether you want a calm and subdued look (Japanese Minimalism Painting) vs. a bold vision (bold Abstract art), you have options.
What if you don't know what kind of design style your home is? We have a fantastic quiz here to help you find that out.
#2 - Color
As you may already know, paintings vary in many colors. But what you may not know is that color is remarkably significant in that it has psychological and sociological impacts. The study of these impacts is called Color Theory, and it is one of the most underrated tools in the interior design game. Want to know more about Color Theory? Click here. If you would like to know about each style's color palettes, here is a list of interior design blogs where you can find out more:
#3 - Scale
Painting size is an exciting concept, as it may have more impact than you think. Artists refer to the art's size as scale. Large scale works of art can cause a person to be immersed in the painting compared to a small painting that may draw focus. Simple abstract pieces are better suited for a large format, whereas detailed works may benefit from an average to smaller frame.
#4 - Medium
Does the paint type (medium) matter? In this case, yes. It's interesting how paint type can influence the authenticity of a painting. Abstract paintings can sometimes be oil-based, but most of the time, they are acrylic. The vibrancy of the color matters and that is affected by painting pigments. The more pure the color pigment, the more valuable the paint is, which may influence the painting's appreciation in both cost and enjoyment. Acrylic usually has an energetic sense, whereas a sophisticated spirit can come from oil-based paints.
Raphael - The School of Athens (with golden ratio superimposed)
#5 - Composition
The composition of a painting has an impact as well. Where objects are positioned in a scene can be the difference between a good painting and a bad one. Look to the rule-of-thirds or golden ratio, an artist's mathematical secret to beauty. Rule-of-Thirds breaks an image into nine sections and creates a composition where there is negative space. This negative space creates a journey for the eyes to explore the piece, making it exciting and abnormal vs. the main object being the center of a work of art. Used by photographers everywhere, the Rule-of-Thirds can create a more interesting composition. The Golden Ratio is a tried and true secret that possibly pre-dated Alexander the Great's time. It's a ratio that produced the Parthenon, Leonardo da Vinci's many artworks, modern logos, and has been found throughout the human body, plants, and universe! The ratio is 1 to 1.618. Using proportion math, you can find out if certain paintings contain this ratio. Often called "The standard of beauty," the Golden Ratio can be used to design anything. Find beautiful paintings that use this ratio, and you will hear compliments.
#6 - Meaning
The meaning of a painting can carry significant weight in your home design. It's all about the message that you want to convey. The painting doesn't have to mean anything, as it is up to the viewer to generate meaning. This method is the standard approach by abstract paintings, but Traditional art can carry a heavy meaning. Artworks can revive the pain of war, like in Pablo Picasso's Guernica, or show a transformation in a person's life, like in Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. You get to choose the meaning of the art your home will provide.
#7 - Placement
Placement is best on a blank wall unobstructed by other things like shelves or family photos. Paintings deserve a space of their own, and if obstructed with surrounding objects, it can create a scenery of clutter. Above the fireplace is an excellent choice for a painting's location as it most often is the focal point of a room.