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Artwork 101: The basics, from scale to subject matter

Have you ever looked at a painting and been mesmerized, without really knowing why? Art is subjective. What one person loves, another loathes. This can become an issue when choosing art for shared living spaces, like a kitchen or living room.

The problem of personal preferences is not unique, nor is it difficult to overcome. As an interior stylist, I have some tried and true methods to satisfy a range of different style preferences, all under one roof.

First, size up the space you have to work with. Oversized art will overwhelm, while undersized pieces will look insignificant.

If you’re working in a particularly large space with high ceilings, you can choose one huge artwork, or alternately, you can create a collection. When planning your gallery wall, ensure your pieces have something in common – a theme, matching frames, or a repetition of colour.

Next, consider your subject matter. To avoid offending, keep your art pieces neutral. This is particularly important if you share a home with diverging tastes, or if you’re styling your home prior to sale. This means no nudes, no religious or politically themed pieces, no family photos.

TIP: Colour is my favourite way to make a bold statement. Choose a piece of art that you love, and let its colour palette inspire your wall paint, upholstery, pillows, rugs, and other decor elements.

Whether you’re letting your art inspire your space or vice versa, ensure that your selections complement your home’s overall aesthetic. A room that is full of antiques, for example, would look wonderful with antique-style frames – even if the paintings themselves are more modern.

Last but not least, practice some restraint. Don’t fill every wall. Negative space gives the eye a place to rest, it calms the senses and makes the art more impactful.

About the Author: Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging and interior styling services.

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