Handle with Care - Part 1
A Step-by-Step Guide for Selecting Art for Your Space
You know you want a new piece of artwork for your space, but you’re looking for just the right piece. Where do you even begin? Whether you just moved into a new space and need to fill your bare walls or you’re seeking the ideal piece for a carefully curated room to tie everything together, the perfect work for your room is out there.
By taking a step-by-step approach, you can source a piece that is everything you need and want. Here, we’ll share some of artist, Julia Contacessi’s 3 foolproof steps for selecting the perfect art for your home.
1. Measure your space
2. Analyze the best layout and number of pieces
3. Select your art
Step 1: Measure your space
If you have a location that you’re looking to fill with art, the first step is to measure your space to determine the size of artwork (or artworks) it can accommodate. You don’t want to overwhelm a small space with a larger-than-life artwork or, alternatively, select something you like that is too small for the space you have.
With a tape measure, measure the size of your available wall space. This is the width and height of your wall that is not obscured by windows, doorways or furniture.
If it’s a new space and you haven’t decided on your furniture layout yet, you have more options (lucky you!). Measure each of your wall spaces as potential art walls and walk through steps 2 and 3 with each wall, ultimately determining the best option.
Take note of the lighting of your space. Avoid selecting locations that are overly-sunny, as UV rays may damage your artwork over time.
Step 2: Analyze your space
A simple guideline for determining how large your art should be is to allow art to fill between 2/3 and 3/4 of your dedicated art wall. This allows the art to be substantial, but not overcrowded.
As an example, if you have a wall above the mantle that is 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall (remember, we aren’t measuring the wall space that is already covered by furniture or another wall feature, such as a fireplace). This means your art should be between 5 and 6 feet wide, and 4 and 4.5 feet high.
One you have these measurements, decide which arrangement of art works best for you. One option is a single, bold, large-format **statement piece** that commands attention both in composition and in proportions. You could also use sets of **related art pieces** (pairs look very pleasing and balanced, but sets of three or four can also be effective and attractive) for a different effect, which can help break up a large space into more manageable pieces. A third option is a gallery wall, which can consist of different pieces of varying sizes, arranged in a pleasing way.
A gallery wall is a classic way to showcase many different pieces at once, but it can come across cluttered and distracting if not done carefully. Unless you’re confident in your ability to select and arrange different pieces, we recommend choosing a single statement piece or a set of related pieces to bring a cohesive element to your space.
Note that a number of Contacessi’s pieces can be hung either vertically or horizontally, and prints can be made in a variety of sizes, adding a lovely flexibility and customization to your art selection!
Read **this blog post** for more information about deciding between originals and prints.
Make a statement!
Large statement artworks are seeing a resurgence in popularity, especially among more minimalist designers: a large image anchors a room, grounding the space and centering visual interest on a single focal point. Contacessi often recommends selecting the largest piece that will fill a space. Although gallery walls can be lovely (and we have tips if you go that route, too!), there is nothing quite like the impact of a statement piece of art.
In addition to original offerings for the dedicated collector, we create **custom print reproductions** in sizes as large as 55” x 100” (just over 4.5’ x 8.3’!), meaning that high-quality, large-format artworks are accessible to people who enjoy large-scale art but prefer owning prints to originals. The finishing details of our prints are fully customizable as well, allowing you to order just what you need to fill that wall in your favorite room, breathing new life into your space.
Although Contacessi is enamored with statement pieces, a well-curated gallery wall has a special place in many home décor designs.
To enable you to select a number of prints that work well together, we encourage you to browse Contacessi’s collection of sets. These print sets have been curated to work well together.
You can also create your own collections. With prints available in sizes as small as 9x12, you can easily create an inspiring gallery wall. Select images from the same collection and select the same finish for a unifying look.
View art in spaces
When shopping, it can be helpful to view similar works of art in real locations. That’s why we created the in-situ gallery, which is a collection of photographs of Contacessi’s work in homes.
You can also view photos on Instagram for inspiration. Follow @fineartcontacessi for a range of glorious images.
Step 3: Select your art (and trust your gut!)
This is the fun part! Don’t be intimidated. Contacessi says, “When you are moved by a piece of art, it’s thrilling and so very special. Don’t ignore your instincts. Your gut will never steer you wrong.”
Consider which pieces speak to you. What draws you in? What do you connect with? It’s perfectly okay not to know all the answers right now. Take some time to browse some art -- any art -- and start saving examples of the things that resonate with you (tip: a Pinterest board is a great way to do this). Your collection can help you discern what styles, colors, and textures you tend to gravitate toward. Again, trust your gut here. Your connection to the art, not its “correctness,” is what makes it meaningful.
Are there colors you are consistently drawn to? Color and tone can really set the mood of a room, so selecting a piece that reflects your color palette will go a long way toward making sure that your art feels right in your space. You’ll also want to think about the material your art will be made of. If you aren’t sure, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide:
1 | How do you want to display the art? Framed paper prints can suit some spaces, but canvas prints or originals will be more durable in the long term. Our canvas prints and originals do not require any additional protection for display, as they include a UVB protectant that will shield the colors from fading or losing their vibrancy.
2 | Is it important to you that the art be framed? If not, then canvas is definitely the way to go. It can easily be mounted over stretcher bars, then hung without a frame at all. A paper print will require framing under an acrylic protector. We tend to prefer the look of canvas, but if a frame is important to you then paper may be preferable.
3 | Do you want to add blank wall space, or “air,” around your art? This can be accomplished through matting and framing! If you’re a fan of the matted look and the visual border it creates around the art, a paper print would be the ideal choice.
It’s easy to get stuck second-guessing and over-analyzing your choice. Of course, it’s a piece you’ll look at every day, so you want to be sure it’s the right one! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back. Come at the choices again the next day with fresh eyes. You may be surprised that a certain piece leaps off the screen.