Scientists aren’t exactly sure why people are so attached to art and music. It doesn’t seem necessary for survival but, at the same time, it’s an inseparable part of life. A single photograph has the power to transport you to another time and place. The colours and textures of a beautiful piece of art touch emotions. It’s no surprise then that, when you want to make a big impact in interior design, artwork is hard to beat. At west elm, we offer stunning photographs and prints that are easy to adore. At the same time, we want to keep the focus on you and your sense of individuality. After all, art and photography are all about expressing yourself creatively. A wide variety of different pieces gives you endlessly customizable decor possibilities.
First and foremost, always follow your instincts. Art is a very personal thing, and everyone experiences it a little differently. What you consider to be energetic or inspiring might be relaxing to someone else – and both of you are right. If you’re passionate about a piece, go for it. That excitement has a big effect when decorating because your enthusiasm shows through in the way you highlight those room accents. This also means that any suggestion that you read about or notice is always open to negotiation, including the ones we offer here. Feel free to put your spin on any style or idea.
Eclectic decor takes this idea of personal expression to its maximum potential. It’s bright, bold and unafraid of making a statement. If that describes your personality pretty well, then this might be the style for you. What kind of photographs and prints fall into the realm of the eclectic? There are virtually no limits. Photographs with slogans, wild colour combinations and even things not usually considered artistic are all fair game. The idea is to give people a good idea of who you are and what you stand for. If you’re into fashion, for example, some possibilities might be close-ups of eyes and eye shadow, clothing sketches and abstract art with mirrored and metallic surfaces.
Where can you position art and photography in a room? Almost anywhere is ideal. One thing to consider is what you want that particular piece to accomplish. Is it a showstopper, your favourite masterpiece? Then, you probably want it somewhere it gets noticed immediately, such as in the centre of an accent wall. Above a fireplace is another spot where people tend to look right away when they walk into a room. Other artwork is complementary in nature. Each painting works together to create a harmonious arrangement in the whole room. These vignettes look beautiful on top of console tables, on bookshelves or hanging above furniture.
What size of artwork is correct for different kinds of furniture? That’s totally up to your design vision. As a general guideline, however, many interior decorators recommend shooting for art that occupies about two-thirds to three-quarters the size of your furniture. Large art tends to get noticed more than smaller pieces. What if you have a long sofa or sectional and can’t find any art that’s big enough? One idea is to create an art grouping. Two or three similarly-sized photographs feel like a single unit. When it comes to height, it’s customary to hang art at eye-level. That’s usually between 5 and 6 feet from the floor, although you can feel free to place it lower if it feels more natural for the space. That’s often the case in dining rooms.
Large, open areas are a terrific opportunity to add a gallery wall to a room. What’s that? It’s a grouping of art or photographs that contains many different pieces. There are tons of different configurations so that you can improvise a lot. It’s usually easier to start by placing the centre photo and then work out from there. Arrangements vary from square to horizontal and everything in-between with as many pieces as you want. They can feature different sizes, colours, frames and styles. You decide what element ties them all together.