May 29, 2018

How to design a space around Art

Cover image by Toa Heftiba.

We’ve all been there; having just moved into your new penthouse apartment in the heart of Chelsea, you try to fathom which drapes would compliment the shark suspended in a 12ft formaldehyde tank you purchased last week from Sotheby’s. Ok, perhaps not everyone…. but the problem of ensuring your favourite piece of Art does not look out of place in your home is actually much more common. When starting from scratch, many designers will start with the Art to get the pallet for the room. In the 3rd of 5 guest posts from Beatrice Holland, Beatrice gives some excellent guidance around this very issue. rather than seeing this as an issue, starting with the art first can be a fantastic opportunity. 

Art plays a major role in the process of designing any space. It has the power to set the colour scheme, change the mood or even act as the focal point of the room. Interior designers are often met with the challenge of incorporating their clients art collection into their interior design scheme, in a way that compliments the painting yet sits harmoniously within the design of the room.

Many interior designers, often when starting out, select some key art pieces before even beginning on the interior design scheme and this allows them to ensure a balanced and coordinated final outcome. So, when introducing a new piece of art into your home, you want to find a coordinated middle ground, where the art compliments the room and the room compliments the art, here are some things to consider when finding that balance;

  1. Colour


Colour theory is a key topic in the study of interior design and it’s only until you’re faced with the challenge of introducing art to a space that you realise why. Going back to basics, we know that colour can often play a major role in an optical illusion and thats because our perception of colour is affected by the colours and tones surrounding it. It’s important to carefully consider the colours you’re choosing to surround your art with, because it can transform the way you and others see it.


Image by Orlova maria.

Something I often recommend is keeping a neutral wall behind a multi toned, multi coloured piece, off white, creamy greys are all good options, you can dare to go a little bolder with your wall paints if your art has a neutral or single toned theme. A way to highlight a certain colour in a piece is to take it and use it for accent cushions on a sofa or accessories in a kitchen or study, its also possible to pick a more neutral colour from your piece and use to it to paint on things such as kitchen cabinets or mirrors. Trial and error is key so taking home colour cards from your local paint shop is one of the best ways to start and gradually start picking out the colours you want to use and compliment it with the styling you surround it with.

  1. Theme


Image by Alexandra Gorn.

After colour, theme is another key factor to consider when arranging your interior space according to your new art piece. For example, something such as a landscape water-colour might have a clear theme of serenity and calmness so its important to carry that through in your decor and styling. Using fabrics and accessories is a great way to continue a theme.


Image by Breather.

Another example could be something much more minimalist, this allows you to play with textured fabrics, patterns and rugs to act as contrast against these pieces while using simple styling and accessories to continue the minimalist theme.

There are so many great ways to pull themes and textures from a piece of art and present them in various styling accents. Lighting, rugs, upholstery, styling accessories, candles, fresh flowers, woods and fabrics, they’re all there to act as non permanent ways of incorporating your piece into your home seamlessly while giving you the freedom to evolve with your art collection.


By Beatrice Holland