How to Choose the Perfect Wall Art - Our Pro Tips

July 18, 2022

Wall art in the home is a must. It adds soul and personality, and helps tell the story of who you are. And let’s face it, blank walls are boring.

If, like me, you've ever renovated or built a home and you've run out of money at the end, you'll now how disappointing it is when things fall flat. The finishing touches - artwork, cushions, rugs, lamps and accessories - are so, so  important. They add colour, texture and style to the space, and pull the whole scheme together. Wall art in a home is like the jewellery you choose for your outfit, and it really is worth keeping some of your budget aside to make sure you can add those perfect art pieces.

To help you choose the perfect wall art for your space, I’ve put together some tips to remember so you can get the designer look - without the designer. 

 

Hampton style Blue and white ginger jar wall art prints over console

Our Ginger Jar Iand Ginger Jar III Prints in Denim Blue are perfect for a Hampton Style Interior

 

Our Pro Tips on Choosing the Perfect Wall Art

 

Choosing Wall Art by Style

Before you choose your wall art, the first step is to decide how you want your home to feel. Are you going for a relaxed and casual vibe, or is your home more traditional and formal? Are you drawn to bright colours, or is dark and moody your thing? Are you going for a classic Hampton style interior, or do you love a neutral Scandi/boho style?

The interior style of your home will play a huge role in the pieces you go for, and it's probably the most important thing to consider when choosing new wall art pieces. If you have an overall style in mind and stick to pieces that fit within this theme, you can't go wrong.

So for example, if you love a coastal, beachy look, then contemporary artwork in primary colours or bold, mid-century modern posters just won't work. Instead, opt for light, neutral or whitewashed designs with touches of blues and greens. Your wall art should reflect the look & feel of the coastal theme, so opt for whites, creams and beiges with lots of texture, coral prints and frames in light colours or whitewashed timber. 

Whatever you choose, you need to keep this decor theme mind when selecting your wall art. Prints framed in light colours, whites and natural oaks give off a casual feel, whereas wall art framed in dark timber, or gold leaf, will set a more formal tone. 

 

Blue and yellow wall art prints by Kerri Shipp in Spring toned living room

Designer Erin Hedrick featured our Coral and Seaweed Prints in pretty springtime hues in this project. These soft colours give a relaxed, beachy vibe to the space.

 

Choose wall art you'll love to live with

Choosing the perfect wall art is a very personal choice, and my advice is always take your time to find the perfect piece. Don't rush into it. Ask yourself what appeals about it. Is it the colour? The subject? Or does it just have that special something that you loved as soon as you saw it? And lastly, is it something you'll love looking at day in and day out? For me, that's a really important consideration. 

Great art should evoke emotion so make sure whatever artwork you choose brings you joy. No matter how valuable or exclusive an artwork is, if it's not something you truly love, then it's not for you.

I honestly believe that if you love an artwork, you'll find a place for it so don't second guess yourself too much. One caveat: If you love a piece of wall art that's the polar opposite to the style of your home, it might be best to take a step back and think about it for a day or two. But if you still love it, then go for it - you'll make it work.

 

 

Flower Wall Art Prints timber frames in Hampton Style Bedroom by Kerri Shipp Driftwood Interiors
My Grevillea and Waratah wall art prints in simple timber frames compliment this otherwise neutral room perfectly. Flower & Botanical artwork is easy to live with and versatile too - they work really well in many different interior styles.

 

Choosing Wall Art by Colour

Now to the practical - and very important - side of choosing wall art. The colour of an artwork, even more than the subject itself, sets the tone for the look and feel of the whole room. Here are a few ways to make sure you get it right.

There are a couple of tried & true approaches to selecting wall art by colour and one is to use accent hues. Pick out one or two colours that are already in the room and let this be your guide when choosing wall art. This creates consistency and it's an easy way to make sure your art works nicely in the room. Play with shades and tones of these accent colours to add interest if you don't want everything too "matchy-matchy".

Secondly, if you want the wall art to be the star of the show, then choose complimentary colours for everything else in the space to support it. For example, if the artwork’s main colour is a cool blue, then make sure you have other pieces in the room in warmer colours to make the art pop. Or, you could pick out a colour from the artwork and add cushions, throws and rugs in that colour to create a cohesive colour story. 

Don't forget to leave some clear space in a room to let the elements breathe. Cluttering a space with too many objects can feel disjointed. It's a bit like putting together an outfit - a few great pieces is often all you need.

 

Blue Parterre Garden wall art print in bedroom - Driftwood Interiors

Designer Tonka Andjelkovic has created a stunning bedroom by choosing a main colour and building the scheme around it. My Vendeuvre Parterre Garden print in Indigo, and the matching wall colour and cushions, all in cool blues, combine beautifully with the warmer tones of the timber console and jute basket.

 

Choosing Wall Art by Size

We all know the old saying, but when it comes to wall art, size really does matter! Without a doubt, most people choose artwork that's too small and it really can make or break a room.

To give a bit of context when it comes to size & scale, here are a few common wall art sizes:

 

  1. Oversized Wall Art: anything around a metre or more in length is considered to be oversized. These artworks are the focal points in the room and look fantastic above a sofa, bed, or sideboard. They're perfect for the living room and areas with large, blank walls.
  2. Large Wall Art: With an overall size between 80cm & 100cm in length, large wall art pieces look great in pairs or sets of three, depending on the size of your wall. They also look fantastic when they're leaning against the wall on a buffet or chest of drawers. They can also work as the centrepiece in a gallery wall, with smaller artworks placed around them.
  3. Medium Wall Art: This category of wall art is around 60cm - 80cm long, and it's probably the most versatile size you can choose. Display them in a group, a grid (a set of four prints, hung two over two for example) or place these on smaller walls to add interest to otherwise dead space. 
  4. Small Wall Art: Small artwork is around 45cm - 60cm long, and it works perfectly in a grouping - either in a gallery wall, or used as a series. Combine multiple small pieces of wall art for an eclectic display.
  5. Mini Wall Art: Mini wall art (between 25cm - 45cm or so) looks best when displayed with other prints. They can be added to gallery walls, displayed on consoles or bedside tables or grouped together in a grid pattern.

 

Depending on where you're displaying your art, you can almost always go bigger than you think. The only exception to that rule is when you're hanging your wall art over a furniture piece; if that's the case, you need to go for art that's a little smaller than the width of your furniture.

For example, if you're hanging wall art over a dining room console that's 1800mm wide, you should keep the width of your print - or prints if you're hanging a collection - to around 1500mm or so. That way, the pieces work as a whole and the console will anchor the artwork. 

 

Set of 8 tropical wall art prints in charcoal in white frames - Driftwood Interiors

 In my dining room shown above, I've opted for a neutral, monochromatic scheme. I've combined eight Tropical Leaf Wall Art Prints in Charcoal and framed them all in simple white frames. Hung close together, they give the feeling of one large artwork and it's a great way of using smaller prints in a large area. This console is 3m wide, and the artwork combined is 2.4m wide. The lamps on either side act as a frame for the prints and the wider console anchors the space perfectly.

 

Choosing Wall Art by Theme

If size isn't the main consideration, then let's focus on how we make most decorating decisions - our home's decor style. More than likely, you have an established design style so when it comes to selecting wall art, you need to make sure that whatever you choose reflects your personal taste. 

Whether you love Hampton Style, Traditional, Coastal Style or Boho/Scandi, the wall art you choose can really compliment your decor and create a home that looks polished & stylish. And with themes from dreamy abstracts to calming coastal subjects or minimalist, black & white prints, there’s something for every taste and theme - if you know where (and how) to find it. 

Here are some pro tips on choosing the right wall art for your design theme: 

  • The way your home feels should be reflected in the wall art you choose. If you want to feel like you're always on holiday (and who doesn't?) then you could opt for bright, Tropical Wall Art. Or if Hamptons Style is more your thing, opt for wall art in soft blues, greens and naturals. The theme of your wall art should work with the style of your decor, not against it.
  • Don't fight the natural style of your home. Contemporary black & white prints look great in modern homes, whereas a cute cottage by the coast would look perfect with a selection of Ocean themed artworks. Think about the colours in your furnishings and the natural landscape outside, and find wall art that compliments these elements.
  • If you think the art you've chosen should work but something just doesn't feel right, it might just be the frame. A sleek, metallic frame would look silly on a Boho style print, so by swapping it out for a frame in natural oak you'd match the tone of the print perfectly. 
  • Scale also comes into play when working to a theme. If you have a cozy cottage, then a huge canvas would probably overwhelm it. On the flip size, a modern contemporary home with high ceilings and walls of windows wouldn't be the place to go with a collection of small flower prints. Work with the size of your room and wall area, and choose art that's of a similar scale.

 Boho scandi style palm wall art prints in living room - Driftwood Interiors

These Sepia Palm Boho Wall Art Prints are great pieces that work in many styles and rooms. If you have a Boho or Scandi theme, stick to neutral colours for the perfect bohemian look.

 

Choosing a frame to compliment your Wall Art

Last, but definitely not least, the frame you choose for your wall art is a big factor in how that artwork will look and the style it'll portray.

Generally, black and white picture frames are timeless classics and are always in style. Silver and gold and also stylish alternatives and can really elevate your wall art to the next level. Our signature Faux Bamboo frames are perennial favourites, adding an extra layer of texture and interest. Depending on the artwork, all it may need is a slimline frame to let the art shine.

One thing to note when choosing timber frames - try to stick to similar tones of timber if you have a lot of timber furniture, or timber floors. If you have jarrah or mahogany floors or furniture, a blond oak frame will clash with the other wood tones. In this case, you'd be best to stick with black or white to be safe. Or go for a metallic gold or silver frame to give the room a bit of shine. 

 

blue feather prints over timber console kerri shipp driftwood Interiors

Here, designer Melinda Boundy has chosen simple black frames for my Kingfisher Feather prints. By choosing black, the frame doesn't clash with the timber console and wood floors - rather, it lets the wall art shine and the black frames reference the chevron ginger jars.

 

All in all, the right wall art can make a huge difference to your home and how it feels. It sets the tone for your space, showing your flair, style & taste. It also adds depth & dimension to a room, and lets you add pops of colour or layers of texture in a considered way.

No matter how you go about the process of choosing the right wall art, it doesn’t have to be hard, and remember - if you don’t love it, forget it! Keep it on point style-wise, have a bit of fun and and let your personality shine through. 

We have a great range of wall art at Driftwood Interiors, and you'll be sure to find the perfect pieces for any style of home. And don't forget, we offer free Australia wide shipping on all of our wall art pieces.

Lastly, if you're still not sure which wall art is right for you? We can help with that too! Just email us at design@driftwoodinteriors.com.au and we'll help you find the perfect artwork for your space :)

Hope that helps your search for the perfect artwork, and happy decorating!

Kerri


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