I was working on a project for our house and looking at modern art prints, when I began to think about how art can be key in striking the right balance in a room. Some of my favorite designs are ones where at first glance the art and the room appear to be opposites. Opposites can create an intense chemistry. Great designers know how to confidently punctuate a room with art. In her Book Decorate Fearlessly Susanna Salk explains that the key element in great rooms is whimsy. It’s those “personal touches where there is no fear, only confidence.” It’s that moment where you begin to see the personality in a room, and some of my favorite rooms create that whimsy with art. By playing with the level of formality between the furnishings and art, you can create a personal and very memorable room.
Traditional Design with Modern Art
Color plays a significant role in pulling these elements together. In some cases it is clear that the artwork has inspired the color palate. The fabrics and furniture lines may be traditional, but the artwork and its colors are what drive the room.
Other times the artwork is the focal point of the room. It may relate to the color in the room, but the art is what draws you in. It commands your attention and begs you to stay.
Modern Design and Formal Art.
Art can also create that same friction and interest in a more contemporary room. In some modern designs colors might be repeated in accents, but it’s the art that grounds the space and gives it weight.
Other times modern groupings of these formal pieces keeps the eyes moving and interested. The clean lines of contemporary furniture let the art shine and stand on its own. Arranging the paintings in a contemporary manner catches the eye and plays with expectations.
So the next time a space feels a little flat or you want to give a room a refresh, think about the difference that a piece of art could make.