Selecting Art: How to Choose the Right Painting for Your Living Room

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Choose the right combination of color and size with your wall and furniture

It all depends on your personality. Your trait defines the character of your living room which in turn reflects who you are. A painting on a wall is a small escape window to your inner soul. My name is Ziad, i'm not a painter but i appreciate Art in all its forms. Painting is probably the most inspiring visual medium ever created. A painting makes you ask questions about the artist, the emotions he/she had when creating it and mostly it emanates feelings and ideas that triggers subliminal reactions that move us.

First you need to ask yourself this: Do i want my painting to communicate a message, a theme, express a feeling? or do i just need a complimentary color fill for a large empty wall? What's my budget? and how much time do i have? When you answer all these key questions you'll easily filter out your options and focus on what really works for you.

For example you might be the dreamy romantic type, tight on budget and time, and you just moved into your new dwelling. You quickly browse the net for cheap painting prints and have found a website that offers affordable painting posters. You're not interested in framing because you believe it'll take out from the visual impact and opt-out from expensive shipped paintings on canvas. You spent hundreds of dollars on packing and shipping, your decoration budget is down to a minimum and you've invited friends over for a house warming gathering this weekend. Relax, there's lots of options for you out there that fit your budget and get you great value for money. But first you want to make sure you're choosing the right color:

  1. What's the main prominent color of your sofa or curtain? Try matching these with your painting to create a visual link.
  2. Experiment with complimentary colors to create a striking contrast. If your sofa is green choose a painting with a red overall theme. Match blue with orange, violet with yellow.
  3. Choose from shades of colors. If your table, lamp cover or flower vase is orange choose from the wide range of warm colors from red to yellow. Or from dark brown to beige. To create an atmosphere be consistent with colors as these infuse a sense of artistic touch to your otherwise cluttered living room.
  4. Avoid clashing colors that do not go together like dark blue and black, red and purple, magenta and brown. These confuse the eye and do not flow naturally.
  5. Avoid ugly colors like greenish yellow, faded red or blueish pink. These are regarded as ambiguous colors.
  6. Avoid bright colors when you can. They are too distracting and flashy. Unless it's you're style of course.

Size comes in second. Do you have a large empty wall just above your TV set? A small side column or an empty hallway? The size of your wall is important. Choosing the right size might be a daunting task, too big a painting and it'll suffocate your space, too small and it might get unnoticed. The more you leave empty space around the painting the more it creates a feeling of serenity and relaxation. The size relationship between your painting and your wall is proportional. But a disproportionate balance might be quite satisfying. Try hanging a small painting on a large wall, alone without any distracting plants, frames or shelves around it. This way you're breaking the silence, creating a striking contrast and conveying a sense of freedom. A large painting hung on one side of a hallway is very cumbersome. Leave enough eyesight distance between yourself and the painting. The larger the painting of course the more distance you need to appreciate the layout and maximize the overall visual impact.

The Genre of a painting is crucial to the visual impact you're after. Let's say you're a graffiti gothic artist and your back is full of tattoos. I highly doubt you'll be after a serene abstract painting with lots of curves or a ballet dancer print for instance. Match your persona with your painting. Express yourself, stretch your limits and don't be afraid to experiment. If you're the classical romantic type, choose a famous portrait reproduction, a landscape or an abstract painting. If you're the creative type choose surrealist and impressionist artists. A photographer might be after nude paintings. Personalities and paintings always match in one way or another because there is an artist in each one of us, we appreciate art by instinct because Art after all is the expression of the soul. Match your soul with your painting and it'll live on your wall for long.

Budget is another major determining factor. Unless you have of course thousands of dollars to spend on a Monet, a Matisse or a Van Gogh, the majority of the middle class today have limited cash to spend on interior design. Now of course canvas paintings are the most genuine but major technological advances in scanning, printing and framing have lowered the threshold. Try different ways, experiment with formats and choose the right combination. Few today have the time and budget to buy real paintings from half way across the globe and pay extra for shipping and insurance. Some online stores offer great deals on beautiful paintings for as little as 40-50$. But you still need to add a few for shipping and while you may have started at 30$ your cost slowly builds up. You might want this particular painting but it's only available as print on giclee or photo paper. Not the genuine look you're looking for. You're still limited with the size you chose, the print material and cost. Breaking down all those barriers new online galleries like offers today very cheap canvas paintings on file. This means you only buy the scanned file in different sizes and it's sent to your inbox instantly. You download it, take it to your preferred supplier and print it yourself. This also expands the ways you can use it. You may print the same painting in different sizes, find creative ways for display and avoid shipping time and cost altogether. A great way to save and get the most out of your purchase.

These are the major key points to keep in mind the next time you're buying a painting to design your living room. The living room is just that, the most intimate part of your home, the place you spend most of your time, unless you're one of those lucky freelancers, in which case it'll be... your bedroom. Whatever it is paint it with care, choose the right colors for your eyes, the right size for your wall, the genre that reflects who you are, and keep a close look on what best fits your available budget.

Thanks for taking the time to read through. I hope this article was useful and don't forget to leave your comments, i'd love to know you passed by.


Yulia Zhylyayeva
Posted on May 10, 2016
Shirley Stonoker
Posted on Oct 13, 2009