What is art? That’s a question for another time, but how to select and hang art? We’ve got the answers thanks to interior designer and art consultant Anna Hackathorn of Arts & Homes. Anna already had background in commercial and residential design when she did a Tastemaker Tagsale with One Kings Lane. That evolved into a permanent shop in their Vintage & Market Finds section where she found the vintage art was a consistent bestseller — and also where she found the most joy. She says, “It’s just one of those things that brings me constant happiness. I love beautiful rugs, curtains, paint colors and all of the important elements in creating a lovely space, but, in my opinion, there are very few of those things that can stir the soul like an amazing work of art.”
As a result, Anna has focused her work on helping others find the perfect art for their space, through in-person and online consulting, selling art with One Kings Lane and her own site, and continuing her personal interiors practice.
Anna says selecting the right art all comes down to three things: knowing where to shop, knowing what to buy, and knowing where to hang it.
Okay, so that may not sound so simple, but luckily Anna has shared six steps to success with us below and walks through some great examples in the slideshow. Let’s go buy some art!
How to Select the Right Art for Your Space:
Look for inspirational photos in magazines, the Internet, and social media. My favorite way to keep track of all of these images is Pinterest. Pin everything that inspires you in terms of style, color, subject matter, size, or how it’s hung. Further edit the pins into boards for various rooms or various styles, and you may start to see some themes that will give you more confidence in knowing your own taste.
From there, research sources for the styles that you like both on the Internet and in brick and mortar shops near you. If you are still unsure of your choices, try finding places that have generous return policies so you can hang something on your wall before making a final decision. And don’t forget about flea markets. They are one of my favorite places to find original paintings and drawings at very low prices. You often have to sort through a lot of bad art to find them, but they’re there! I regularly find excellent pieces that I use in high-end projects.
Come up with an overall plan of the types of things that you’ll need for each location in your house. As you start shopping, you will most likely need to adjust this plan a bit based on what you find, and that’s not a bad thing. Make sure your plan includes a mix of mediums and sizes. For example, you could include a bright abstract oil painting, some softer watercolor landscapes, and some black and white photos.
Don’t be afraid to buy a giant painting or a series that fills up an entire wall… it can be fantastically dramatic. Quite often I’ll see one small painting on a fairly large wall and it just seems lost.
Buy what appeals to you, and don’t worry too much about what other people think is “good art”. I think a lot of people feel like they are “supposed” to buy something that’s “right”, but it’s a very subjective process. It does not need to be expensive or fancy to be perfect for you and your house. For a past client on a budget I once took photos out of a vintage coffee table book, put them in 12 matching ready-made frames and hung them in 3 rows above her sofa. It was very impactful and cost very little.
When it comes time to hang don’t be scared. You just have to dive in. The worst thing that can happen is you have to touch up a little nail hole with paint. Plus, there are so many tutorials about how to hang, and some sites even have easy software to actually help lay out your own walls. One tip- start lower than you may think. The bottom of the painting should be just a few inches above the top of whatever it’s hanging over — a sofa, table, mantel, etc.