Professional Tips for Choosing Art

What do interior designers know that you don’t for choosing and hanging artwork?  They always seem to be able to choose just the right art for just the right spot.  Do they have some sixth sense when it comes to choosing art?

They may have an excellent design sense, but they usually know what they’re looking for within a room when they choose art.  They have a piece in mind based on certain design concepts and then present acceptable options to you to choose which best expresses your personality and style.

What do they consider?


The main consideration in choosing any artwork in any room is a relationship between the art and the room itself or the relationship between the art and the homeowner.  The perfect pick is usually artwork that is able to pull all three together, the room, the art and the homeowner.  For example, if your family room has a Mediterranean, rustic feel, a grouping of photos taken by the you while on vacation in Greece would be a very obvious example.  The subject matter relates to the style of the room, and the personal touch of the photos relates it to you as well.


The decorator is usually looking for artwork for a particular place in the room, not a piece that will hang in the living room, but for a piece to hang over the couch in the living room.  That’s going to help them pare down choices to the appropriate sizes.  What you don’t want is a piece that’s larger than the couch in this instance.  A wider, rather than longer piece of art, or a grouping hung in that form will bring the couch and the art together in lines and shape.

Floating Art

One of the most common problems with artwork is hanging a single painting or print on a blank wall.  What is the relationship of the art to the room or to any furnishings in the room?  It doesn’t have any, that’s the problem. 

On the other hand, if it’s hung over a side table, the two pieces can relate and pull together the look.  How?  By considering the size, again, the artwork shouldn’t be larger than the furnishing, and also by considering the subject, frame or matting in relating to the table.  Perhaps a mahogany frame over a mahogany table, or a yellow silk matting that relates to a yellow vase on the table.  Make sure the artwork is hung low enough to the make the connection between the table and the art, if there’s too much space in between, even colors or frames won’t bring the relationship together.

Choosing art is an art form in and of itself.  Have a specific place in mind for the artwork to help you make your selection.  If buying from a gallery or store, ask if it can be tried out in the space before purchasing or if it can be returned.  You’ll know the right piece in the right spot when you see it!