June 2, 2011 in Interiors
Art and the use of colour should be fun and used as a way of expressing yourself without following set regulations and guidelines of what goes where and what goes with what. The aim here is not to give you rules but just some helpful tips and pointers to consider and think about to make the most out of your art and create an environment that inspires you.
Choosing your art is a very personal decision and in most cases depends heavily on a relationship and understanding that you develop with a particular piece. Let’s face it, most of us will buy a piece because it really leaps out at us or we connect with it in some special way, not just because it fits precisely into a room’s décor. Colour can also be a very personal thing, so it’s important to choose what fits you.
Part of the beauty of understanding established practice is the ability to break it and make a real statement in a room.
The Colour Wheel
It may seem very basic, but to help you decide on what colours might be best for you, let’s take a look at the colour wheel.
The colour wheel explains how to balance the use of colour to create what is known as a harmonious effect. There are three main colour schemes using the colour wheel that are used by professional designers and artists. These are:
This is where your major colour is used not only as the predominant colour but also as the accent. This is accomplished by using different tones and textures of the same colour, for example using red as your major colour and a tint of red for the accent.
This where colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel are used, for example red as a major colour and orange as an accent.
This is where colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel are used, for example red as a major colour (and therefore set a warm mood) and green as an accent.
You will find that most pieces of art have a dominant colour that draws your eye and it could be this colour in particular that you will want to match with other elements of your room.
It’s easy to forget when buying art that you also need to consider the frame. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking around a contemporary art gallery, then you’ll probably recognise the concept of displaying art in as minimal a context as possible. In an art gallery this means lots of white wall space but few of us either have pristine white walls or the luxury of space that your average gallery would enjoy.
Bearing this in mind, there are other ways that we can help to give our chosen art a little more space. The most important being the frame selected to house the piece.
At Curator, we put a lot of time and effort into carefully selecting a concise group of framing options for each piece available. Largely for us this is about carefully considering how colour elements within each piece might match with their respective frame, but other factors do come in to play like how the size and level of decoration might affect how a piece is viewed when hung.
It’s probably stating the obvious but a frame stands between your artwork and its surrounding, so it can be used both to embellish a piece and to reset the eye. Sometimes a mounting board, normally very neutral in colour can even be placed between the piece and its frame so both the art and the frame itself can create a statement without visual conflict between the two.
I’m a big fan of large dominant pieces, particularly in my front room. If you’re buying a really big piece then colour is going to be pretty critical to your decision because it’s going to stand out so much in the room. Selecting a bold and bright colour in this case can make a really impressive and dramatic statement when placed in a room with relatively muted or neutral décor.
In contrast colour selection in small pieces might not be so critical especially if you intend to hang several pieces on a wall together. Then again, don’t be afraid to pick something that’s small but really stands out, because it can really catch someone’s eye and draw them in for a closer look.
Because colour choices are so personal, I always find that following strict rules is difficult or at odds with my own personal taste, but ultimately thinking through some of these aspects always helps me when I pick something new for my home.
For further inspiration, colour combinations that occur in the natural world are often really great to transfer into the home. But if you are still stuck for ideas then maybe check out Adobe’s Kuler website which has stacks of really beautiful colour palettes to give you a head start.