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5 Tips: How to Create a Minimalist Interior Look with Art

by | Mar 30, 2019

Emotional value is as important as color schemes. In 5 Tips: Buying Artwork for a Minimalist Interior we show you how not to be intimidated by a minimalist room when decorating. If you’re staring at a blank wall and think it needs “something” then let’s guide you through the maze of starting your own home collection of art and wall decor.  

You’ve moved into your new apartment or house – or room – and the furniture is in place alongside the curtains and the shelves, but there’s something missing. The big space on the wall needs something, but you’re not sure what exactly. Art would be a good idea. It is easy to get it right with a work of art, because it is so subjective it is bound to please and disappoint in equal measure. And that is the beauty of art.

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There are so many factors that play in: its visual appeal, its value, the message it conveys and how it fits in with the rest of the decor. You almost cannot get it wrong. There are so many ways to get it right, but first let’s list the few ways you could get it wrong when choosing a work of art for your living room:

  • Don’t feel intimidated by the art market’s reputation for elitism
  • Don’t let the decor of the living room decide what piece you should buy – a painting is more than an accessory designed to complement the curtains or the rug
  • Don’t be put off by fear of what others might think about your piece
  • Don’t let others (including gallerists or dealers) try to persuade you that a piece is just right for you or your space – only you will know what’s right

If your style veers towards minimalism and you prefer the Scandinavian clean, bright and functional look, then choosing art could seem an even more daunting task than normal.

The 5 Tips – Buying Artwork for a minimalist Interior

darren macpherson acrylic of Francis Bacon
David Bowie

Whatever painting you buy will stand out like a sore thumb against the white space, but it is the white space that allows the painting to thrive and come into its own regardless of colours or patterns.

Think with your heart first – then your head.
– When you see a painting or a sculpture for the first time, what is your first impression? Your gut instinct? Feeling good or not so good?
– Intrigued? Repulsed? Indifferent?
– Irrespective of the price, would you spend money on it? Could you look at it every day for years?
– How invested are you in the piece?

Are you seeking a visual experience or aiming to make a statement with your purchase?
– What are you looking for when buying a work of art? What do you – hope to achieve? Is it pleasure and a peaceful feeling?
– Or are you wishing to make a statement with a provocative piece? Is it the artist’s message that is key?
– Is it a piece that brings back memories of somewhere you’ve visited, a special person or a particular time in your life?
– Something aspirational, like a painting of an idol that you want to show? Old, original photos and sketches of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, David Bowie and John Lennon are frequently used by artists as the basis of their pop art portraits.

What kind of art do you put in a bright minimalist room where the main colour is white?
– Unlike curtains, carpets and sofas which ought to match or blend together to create a whole, art is different. A painting is not there to complement the carpet or pick up on a colour scheme in the curtains. It is an entity in itself, a stand alone piece and no matter what the
If the painting is a reminder of a person or a place, an heirloom even, then that fact alone overrides any colour scheme. Memories and emotional value drawn from a work of art is more important than whether it matches the curtains.
– The advantage of minimalism, or Scandinavian decor is that, because of the light, bright colour scheme, it lends itself fantastically to art. Galleries are pure white for a reason. The colour white reflects the light brilliantly and reduces the “noise” level, ie fewer distractions.
– But there are almost no wrong ways to decorate with art. A painting or sculpture has its own story to tell which is separate from what else it going on in the living room.

Original or Print?
– Short answer, original. But it isn’s as simple as that. There are many different kinds of print of differing value.
– Some are simple copies – mainly of iconic paintings or posters.– Others are limited edition and the lower the number of prints available (they come with a certificate to prove its provenance) the higher the value.
– Some still are part prints and part hand painted over. In a sculpture, edition means a piece is made from a mould, ie not hand made by the artist. A part print is almost as good as an original because the hand painting or sketching over the copy makes it unique, if similar to the others.
– One reason for buying prints as opposed to a unique original painting is economy. A print is so much cheaper and for most of us it’s the only way we’ll ever own a Picasso or a Banksy. The pop art scene thrives on prints. But a limited edition print can still turn out to be a smart investment. A Banksy print has shot up in value and even they have become unaffordable to most people.

The Budget and where to buy?
– You’ll note the Budget is last on our list. A that costs $25 (or £20) can be as valuable to a person as a painting costing $5,000. Value is a relative term.
– But is is still important to know how much you have and will want to spent on a work of art and to stick to that figure. That almost goes without saying, but the monetary value of the piece is not the most important thing.
– Should you decide not to buy a painting simply because it’s $50 (or say £40) outside your budget? That’s a judgement call. But if it then shoots up in value, which it could do because of unforeseen circumstances or other outside factors, you might kick yourself for not having stretched your finances a bit more.
– Art fairs and street markets are perfect for talent spotting and snapping up a bargain. There are even affordable art fairs where first time buyers and renters could study rising stars in the art world and get a feel for what the future might look like, as well as buy pieces by future top artists before they rise in value. This of course requires both luck and talent and is for another blog.
– Friends and family are great sources of art. Having a drawing by a loved one or a friend on the wall is rewarding and cosy. DuYourHome once spoke to the late Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen – a business man who could afford an original Leonardo da Vinci – about this ideal Christmas present. His answer was something handmade like a painting by his niece.
– Going back to our first point, work out what you have to spend on a painting or a sculpture, and then think with your heart first and then really use your head.
– Read also our blog on Buying Art as a Millennial Homeowner, which takes you thorough how to buy art at private view, what to look out for and how to do your research before negotiations start.

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