Art in Interior Design: No Fear to Integrate it at Home
When decorating, always place a controversial piece. This will give your guests a topic of conversation (Dorothy Draper). Do you agree with the thinking of this famous American interior designer, icon of boldness and style from the 30s to the 60s?
The works of art, whether or not controversial, make us reflect about their role at home. The interior design implies an aesthetic and coherent arrangement of the space, in quite a democratic way. There is no issue to include elements of diverse origin and functionality.
However, when art sneaks into our decoration or design, it can create many (and valid) doubts about its integration.
Art is often revered and instils a certain fear as to how it should be treated. Especially if we are not in a museum, gallery, or church.
No need to worry. I can anticipate there is no universal rule or insurmountable sin. What we get is different perspectives, opinions, and advice, and you must take them just for what they are. And then, act as your own inspiration dictates.
Are Works of Art Decorative? What is Their Function?
I would love to simplify the answer and be as direct as I am in my everyday conversations. But when it comes to art, it´s not possible. Defining the role of works in general is not an easy answer. Throughout history, the human being has self-expressed through artistic creations. Influenced by personal, social, and political contexts, or by any other factor, we managed to materialize our imagination.
The artist is able to communicate his inner world and transform reality, expressing it through his particular point of view and feelings. It is pure magic!
One of the most obvious functions is the search for aesthetic emotion, which prevails over its utility aspect. This does not mean, however, that they are superfluous or unnecessary objects.
On the contrary, art is the tangible reflection of its author´s deepest aspects of individuality, touching the soul of those who know how to perceive it. Even if each person comes to his/her own interpretation.
In the world of art, reducing art pieces to decorative elements tends to cause resentment, as if they were guardians jealous of their true value.
Their displeasure is understandable if we do not perceive what decoration or interior design really is, and if the ornamental intention of many works through the ages is disdained. I consider it a misunderstanding of concepts.
The moment we remember that the design of a space gives it meaning and harmony, considering all its aspects (aesthetics, well-being, functionality, and sustainability), we discover that art also contributes to making memorable the spaces where it inhabits. And that both elements share the nexus of limitless creativity.
In my conclusion, a piece that is being used to decorate a space does not become less; what it does is turning the place where it sits into a magnificent one.
The Chicken or Egg dilemma with Pieces of Art
Should you let yourself be carried away by the love affair you suddenly felt for a piece of art, trusting that its perfect place will reveal itself?
Or, on the contrary, should you reserve a space whose only aim is to accommodate a piece which fits in like a glove?
Eternal dilemma in the dynamics arising between art and decoration. Perhaps you have already had to face it, or you have considered it. Once again, you will find a diversity of opinions.
I am in favour of simplifying things and not deviating from the purpose of owning an artistic work: the emotion emerging from it, either because of its beauty, its background and history, or its master technique. Based on this, let it flow as you see fit, keeping yourself open to the unfolding options.
I have no doubt, if a piece of art speaks directly to your heart when imagining it in your home, you will be able to find the ideal space for it. Because that connection between you and the object evokes something deeper than simple and interchangeable beauty. It is unique.
The same happens when a certain space can only be visualized with a piece still waiting to be discovered. It is not about filling in a space, it is the need to give prominence and create a type of dialogue at a designated point.
And it will come, either after an active search or leaving it to chance. In the meantime, you can opt for something temporary to honour its emptiness.
3 Keys to Exhibit your Art Pieces at Home
Fortunately, there are no fix rules to enjoy art in your home. I am driven by intuition, and I always get satisfaction from working or acting in this way. This translates into unrepeatable spaces holding their own personality.
But it is worth knowing some keystones to facilitate the process of integrating these pieces.
Playing with sizes, shapes, and height
Art comes in all shapes and sizes. But if we talk about proportions, it is true that some of them demand more space, even to dazzle in a single room. Others, meanwhile, allow to form a harmonious array among them.
Try playing with different locations and combinations. Separately, you may get an idea of how they will look. But together, their silhouettes and dimensions can offer you other nuances and possibilities.
When hanging a piece of work, it is said that the perfect height must be around the eye level, although it all depends on the type of work, the space where it will be, whether it will be alone or accompanied, and the desired effect. If you leave a bit more space at the bottom than at the top, the perceived proportion is favourably altered.
In any case, just be flexible and always be guided by the feeling of harmony in the composition. And don’t forget, a good goal is the blessed and beautiful imperfection.
Mix styles or follow a line: it´s up to you!
The decision to mix (or not) different styles of art is, once again, yours alone.
How many times have you seen sublime spaces merging objects from different periods, movements, and styles? Imagine a Victorian lamp, a modern collage of photographs, a Tudor armchair, and nature-carved sculptures. Everything is possible under a prism which harmonically combines them all.
In contrast, another possibility are those rooms where serenity and balance reign, following the same line with hardly any contrast. It doesn´t have to be boring, any style gives you a lot of scope to play with, but your personal stamp must be present.
If you need to choose, just think about what makes you feel better, what reflects best your lifestyle and what effect you want to achieve.
Para elegir, piensa en qué te hace sentir mejor, qué refleja con mayor acierto tu estilo de vida y el efecto que deseas obtener.
Synergy between the artistic works and the rest of the decoration
What should you value for a piece of work to seem as created for the space it holds?
To start with, look at the colour and characteristics of your walls and lighting. Does the light coming through the window fall directly or sideways on them? Are the shades appropriate?
Of course, the accesses and the furniture can either help enhancing your art pieces or, on the contrary, making them go unnoticed.
Finally, think about the role you would like to assign to your pieces: being a welcome element, admiring them from a specific point, or setting the character of a room.
Are you up for incorporating art into your decoration?
My hope is that, from now on, you do not limit yourself without a proper reason when choosing your art pieces. This is not an exclusive right of collectors and experts.
Art only makes sense when you enjoy it and get excited about it. And it does not have to be different in your own home. Surrender to the sensation it provokes in you and try to integrate it seeking to fit it in harmony with the rest of the elements.
If you have any questions or would like to get personalized advice, I will be happy to share my experience and passion for art with you.
Escrito por: Itzel Navarro