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The Art of Decorating Starts with Art 

By Rosemary Martin

Confused about where to begin decorating your new home environment? It is simple. Start with Art! Whether you prefer black and white photographs, abstract art prints, or landscape oil paintings, artwork can be the baseline for other decorating decisions.

So often after moving into a new home and selecting furnishings it becomes a challenge to find the right artwork. Start With Art suggests that you select your artwork first and make home decorating a lot easier by using the artwork to help determine how to paint, furnish and accentuate your home reflecting on your own personal tastes.

This advice from an art consultant is what galleries have been saying all along. Galleries know all too well the problems created by waiting until everything else is in place and then trying to find the right artwork for a space. They have witnessed customers, paint chips and fabric swatches in hand, in a frantic last minute search for the painting to go over the chintz-covered sofa or grace the glaringly blank space over the mantle. Galleries know that art pulls everything together and provides a focal point for decorating

By putting art at the end of the decorating decision list, the selection parameters are greatly compromised. The furniture already in place now dictates size and choices of art–palettes are restricted to one that complements the existing decor. In addition to these limiting factors, there are others involving personal taste with regard to subject, remaining funds in the decorating budget and securing the approval of others involved, such as spouse or a decorator.

How much easier do you think it would have been if you found a great piece of art for the space and let its colors and mood set the tone before selecting the other furnishings?

Although the problems cited are cause enough, there is an even more compelling reason to start with art. When entering a room, the first things seen are not the rug on the floor, the matching love seats on either side of a fireplace or an elegant chandelier hanging from the ceiling, but those objects that are at eye level, which for most people is 62-68 inches from the floor. This is where our pictures, paintings and other wall accessories are hung. Art gives that all-important first impression to visitors and says so much about you.

Think of the rooms you’ve entered where the art immediately captured your attention. Perhaps you felt a depth or a soulfulness about the person living there—you experienced something about the owner, their expression and what they valued. The art reflected their presence of style and taste and appeared to tell a story about them.

In your next furnishing opportunity, try this mantra: “Start with Art.” Begin by looking at artistic works that resonate with you when you look at them. Imagine living with the piece of art as daily inspiration. When you walk through the rooms of your home imagine how good you could feel seeing the art pulling everything together—providing a focal point for your home and selfexpression.

When you retain the services of an art consultant, you can examine an incredible variety of art with very little effort. With portfolio collections, you can avoid a gazillion trips to design centers or to the internet just to get “inspiration”. Nor do you need to “imagine what this will look like when it’s finished.” An art consultant makes the process easier to Start with Art.