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Artwork plays an important role in home design

June 12, 2014

Just as solid oak floors like those in Anderson's Vintage hardwood collection add warmth to a room, art plays an aesthetic role unlike other elements in room design. Including art among your accessories can determine a focal point for a room, express a sense of place or create a conversation starter when guests visit.

Many designers tell their clients there are no hard and fast rules regarding the selection of art for their homes, except one - choose what you love. Whether it's an oil painting depicting a foreign landscape or a high-quality black-and-white photograph, your personal choices in what to display in your home say a lot about you and your artistic leanings, the Lake Michigan Shore newspaper reported.

How these selections dovetail with your existing home design is another issue. Photography, for instance, is often a great complement to contemporary furnishings with simple design lines and an angular quality. Modern art varies enormously as photos do, but the introduction of bold colors also works best in the context of uncluttered rooms where there's nothing to take attention from a vivid painting or other art form.

Landscapes, on the other hand, often work best in a traditional design scheme. Wood floors and furniture are a natural complement and darker room colors offer a backdrop that allows the subtle hues of nature take center stage.

The key to display
According to House Beautiful magazine, New York City interior designer Eric Cohler likes to bring focus to artwork by using bright, colored frames around a white mat, or a white frame around a colored mat. By hanging them in an under-used part of a room or a dark corner, they'll draw attention to that spot. Homeowners may also want to consider hanging art in an unexpected location – hung above a door or leaning against a wall. 

White space should also be considered as part of the presentation because it helps define and enhance the prominence of the artwork. That includes not only the space between a mat and the art, but the amount of white space between different framed pieces in a wall collage. Three inches between each piece, particularly in an asymmetrical wall display, is a good rule of thumb.

Finally, homeowners' special interests should be reflected in the art they choose to showcase in their homes. The personal value of an art piece may outweigh its economic value, and should be embraced for the meaning it brings to its owner.