Design Inspiration

5 Ways Art Can Improve Your Design

As an interior designer with a fine arts background and an active painter, I find artwork to be the most important element of a room. An equal part of what I do, along with construction, project management and furniture design, is curate art and antiques collections for my clients. Artwork can often make or break a space. Below are five things artwork can do for your room.

1. Add movement

Ian Stallings

Artwork can be used to introduce movement into a room. Movement is used in the art world as a way for the artist to direct where the viewer’s eye goes and to influence the viewer’s perception. Using a piece of art that conveys a lot of movement can help create a rhythm between the art and your furniture, with the lines creating the type of movement that translates into a story.

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The conveyed movement within a piece of art can be reflected in your furniture choices to create an imaginative and original design. In the room here, the form in the ink drawing by Topher Delaney relates to the vintage driftwood cocktail table, keeping the eye moving through the space.

2. Provide color


Artwork can be used to dictate or enhance a color palette. If you’re feeling stuck with your design, try selecting a piece of artwork that fits the space and create a color palette influenced by the work. Pull accent colors for decorative objects from the secondary, or less seen, colors in the work to enhance different elements of the piece.

3. Balance scale and texture

Kyle Bunting

If you have high ceilings but prefer modern, low furniture, a piece of artwork can help draw the eye upward and will make the room feel more balanced.

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The texture of a piece of art can be useful in building a more dynamic design. The patterns, textures and colors in this room are pulled together by the painting.

4. Introduce a rotating gallery

J Witzel interior Design

If you’re feeling bored with your space and need a change, switching up your artwork can be a quick and easy way to bring a new perspective. Different artwork will highlight different elements in your space and can help to make the room feel fresh and revived. Try bringing a lovely cool-toned photograph like the one seen here into the dining room every spring, and change it to one with a burst of red or orange for fall.

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An all-white reading alcove is an excellent place for revolving works of art. This colorful painting stirs up excitement in this space while keeping the overall environment relaxing enough for reading and napping.

5. Make a statement (big or small)

Robert Granoff

Artwork doesn’t always need to be the focal point of a room. While artwork can be used to influence a design or color palette and create bold statements, it can also be used in subtler ways to add sophistication.

Spotlight to Your Masterpiece

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