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Art for the Home: 5 Foolproof Tips & Tricks

Sassy speaks to our founder Eve Mercier about how to make art work for your home.

Buying and hanging art can be a bewildering experience. So, to help you make the right decisions when choosing art for your interiors, two art and design experts share their know-how on art for residential interiors!

Eve Mercier, founder of Insight School of Interior Design (who worked for Christie’s in their modern art department before moving into interiors for the likes of Candy & Candy!), offers practical insights into hanging and lighting art in any space. Meanwhile, Côme Remy is an art consultant and historian who teaches at Insight School. Years of experience working for Sotheby’s and Christie’s means he’s just the man to advise you on how to make the right buying decisions!

Buy what you love

“Buy art that resonates with you,” says Eve, and Côme agrees. “I always say that pieces come to you, and not the other way around,” he says. “Wait until you really find the piece. Remember that it is hard to get rid of a piece. And also, don’t forget that money is findable… a really good piece is much harder to find again, if not impossible. You will remember the pieces that you missed, not the money you spent.”

Longevity is important here: buy pieces you know you will love for a long time. “I think people should grow old with their art,” says Eve. Remember, girls, you should be able to look at it and not get bored of it. Don’t buy something just because it’s fashionable, or because it’s a good investment.

And, says Côme, educate yourself. “Visit fairs and art exhibitions, attend art classes, read and discuss. When you’re looking at art, you should always be considering, ‘What will I be pleased to bring home?’”

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"Don’t forget that money is findable - a really good piece is much harder to find again, if not impossible. You will remember the pieces that you missed, not the money you spent.”
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White is right

The best way to showcase art in your home is by hanging it against a plain, white backdrop. If you think about it, it makes sense: most galleries hang art against white walls. The minute you have some kind of paneling it becomes challenging, and the same goes for wallpaper. The whiter and flatter your walls, the easier it is.

White is right

Consider your colour palette

Hang each piece with precision

Light it right

Sassy Hong Kong

Consider your colour palette

Your art shouldn’t clash with your interiors, and here’s how to make sure it doesn’t. If your art work is grey and blue, for example, you’re going to make sure that the palette and the rug you’re going to use are all in this blue grey palette, so you have a monochrome effect. “Likewise, if you have a work of art with lots of colours, it would be nice to pack all the colours into your interiors, so your eyes can travel from your artwork to the other pieces of furniture” suggests Eve.

Or you could go in the opposite direction and choose contrasting colours for your space. Let’s say you have a very neutral background. If your interiors are, say, beige and grey and white, and you want to lighten everything up, you can bring a very warm colour in with your art. It could be a shot of yellow or a shot of pink, for example.

“If the idea you’re going for with your décor is to create the feeling of going to see an old friend, don’t be afraid to make a real and personal choice when it comes to colour or style of the art you go for,” adds Côme.

Hang each piece with precision

A good rule of thumb to follow when hanging your art is to place the centre of your work 1.45 metres from the floor.

It’s also a handy place to start when you’re hanging a group of works together or when you’re creating a picture wall. “Figure out where the centre of the group is, and place this point at 1.45 metres from the floor,” advises Eve.

In addition, you should hang the heaviest, darkest works in the bottom left corner, with the lightest and brightest pieces of art in the top right corner. Your eye naturally travels from bottom left to top right.

Light it right

So you’ve chosen your art and figured out where and how to hang it. Now for the finishing touch: present it in the best possible light by using the right type of lighting, as well as the right tone. “Halogen light is great for commercial spaces, but for a home, it’s too bright, too harsh and too white. It’s better to use incandescent bulbs or LEDs,” says Eve. Plus LEDs don’t generate the heat halogen does, and that heat can cause damage to your art.

But remember to pay attention to the colour of your LED, because if it’s very cold and white it’s going to affect the look and feel of your piece of art!

For much more on art for the home, check out Insight School’s special one-day course on Art and Interiors, which includes a lecture on how to use art in your interior décor followed by a guided tour of Art Basel (in March) and Affordable Art Fair (in May) in Hong Kong. Find out more here.

This blog was originally published by Sassy HK on 2 May 2017.