The art that you have in your home tells your story to anyone who’s looking – it shows who you are, where you’ve been, and where you aspire to go. Sometimes that can feel intimidating, and it certainly isn’t always easy to find art that resonates with you all of the time. But there’s something so beautiful about the myriad of artwork in your home that comes together to tell your story, and it is so worth being intentional about in order to help cultivate that feeling.
Why is it so hard to pick out art for your home?
The problem is, right now the options for buying art do not make it easy to make choices that you love about what to hang on your walls. Like, have you ever thought about how much Art.com really stinks? Scrolling through art online when it feels like there’s a fifty-fifty chance that you’re picking out something good or something you might hate in a year – that is not a good feeling. And that feeling defines Art.com for me. And then of course there’s Etsy, where you could scroll for hours and still come up with nothing because of how hard it is to find a curated selection of something actually good. Seriously, I love Etsy when I find the gems on there, but it can take hours upon hours to get there, even if you’re just looking for a new pair of earrings. But back to art. There’s also the issue where you’re in a rush to make a guest room look gorgeous right before someone arrives, and given these options, you’re stuck with getting something last minute from West Elm. Not the worst thing in the world, but I cringe a little bit every time, because mass produced art can lack the uniqueness and originality that art brings to a home. It can easily fall flat or feel sterile.
So to break down the problem – the options right now make it harder to support local artists, find original art that you really love, and force you into settling for something your neighbor might have from a mass produced brand. That’s not a super fun customer experience. And we’re talking about art! We’re talking about something that could be super fun! Art is supposed to make life better, not worse.
This unsatisfying customer experience is one of the many reasons that I started Garland Collections. I really believe that art makes life better. I believe that it can uplift us and bring joy to our day to day lives, if only we could find art for our homes that feels beautiful and special, rather than like something you settled for (cough cough West Elm!). My dream is to curate collections of art for you showcasing work from emerging artists, and that will all come soon. I can’t wait to share our very own collections with you and tell you all about the artists. But you deserve a solution now, and I’m here to help with that, too. So read on and keep the faith! I have five fluid steps to help you with this process.
5 steps to help you find art for your home that you love!
Here are 5 steps that can take you from not knowing where to start on your journey of finding beautiful art to fill your home, to actually finding works of art that you will love for years to come. You can use these steps to help you fill your entire home with art, or to simply to fill one room – whatever scale project you are working on, this process has your back. Here it is!
- Define how you want to feel in your space with one or two (or even three) keywords that describe the feeling you are looking for. Coming up with one or two words to describe how you want to feel in your home will give you direction on what type of art to look for. I find that everyone has a slightly different vibe that they are going for in their home. Some people like a more monochrome design look, and want all of their artwork to follow that color palette very closely. The other side of that is a more eclectic and artsy look, but there are a lot of different ways to have that effect. Do you want dark and moody? Are you looking for a way to add brightness and energy to your space? Each room might vary a little bit, but determining what your overall theme is for your home will give it a cohesive feel from room to room, and help you in your search for the right art for you.
- Determine what colors and artistic styles give you the feeling you are looking for. Say hello to Pinterest boards with this step because you are going to need some visual references for yourself here to get a sense of what you like in art. If you aren’t sure where to start on Pinterest, you can follow me @garlandcollections and check out my Pinterest board titled “Art inspiration.” Then you can ask yourself the question: what style of art gives me the feeling I want? Personally, if I am looking to feel calm, I need soft, muted colors that give me a peaceful sense of serenity. Think gray, tan, or a dusty rose. On the other hand, a more playful look might have brighter colors like royal blue, mustard, or a peachy orange. You’ll also want to explore some different mediums of art and mix them together to get a multi-dimensional feel for your home, but unlike color you can follow more of a formula here. I recommend mixing paintings, prints, and photographs – they are like the holy trinity of artwork, and they will not disappoint you. Luckily, these all come at a range of price points, which brings me to the next step.
- Decide on your price range and how strictly you want to stick to it. The reason this is necessary is because you can find beautiful art at a whole range of prices, but if you don’t determine your willingness to spend, then you’re going to be looking at an overwhelming amount of options. I understand that everyone approaches budgeting and money in their own way, and that’s why I say decide how strictly you want to stick to it, because there is nothing wrong with a ballpark estimate (saying that as someone who is not the best with numbers). What I typically recommend is to start with the top of your budget – if you are willing to buy a few pieces of art for $1,500 then you should find two or three of those pieces before you buy everything else. That way, the other artwork that you buy can compliment what you spent the most on, and you can feel like everything is working together. Most people have tiers when they are buying art for their home – you might be willing to splurge on something for your dining room or primary bedroom, but want to be more cost effective when making a gallery wall for a hallway, and that’s totally doable. Stay organized by writing down what spaces you want to spend the most on and how much you are willing to spend. You can rinse and repeat with this method as you move from the top of your budget to the bottom.
- Explore your options of where to buy art and discover a few places you really like. Searching for art to buy is where this process can get challenging, but I have a trick that never fails. Start local! And take your time. This is not something you want to rush through. It’s totally understandable if you want certain areas of your home decorated right now and right away, but rushing to buy things you don’t really love just means wasted time and money. Taking the time to explore what local artists are near you will help you discover what makes you excited about art – is it the aesthetic, the story, the symbolism, the artist, the seller, or the community around it? Or all of those things? If you said all of those things, you’re just like me, and I like you the best. But seriously, starting local never fails and will help bring more character to whatever you buy. If you don’t want to check out places in person, searching for local artists on social media has become a lot easier, and you can find some really wonderful artists that way.
- Start buying what you are drawn to the most! Yay! It’s finally time to buy that art you have been eyeing. This is an exciting moment for you and your home because you are filling it with gorgeous artwork that will last you years, and provide daily inspiration and uplift for you in so many small moments to come. As you select your favorite works of art and bring them into your space, you’ll start to notice the joy that art can bring and you’re going to want more. This is always such an exciting time! But remind yourself that there is no rush, and you have many beautiful moments at your disposal that you can use to compliment and contrast with the artwork that you just bought. Framing family photos and kid’s doodles from art class are a few very cost effective ways to bring more of yourself to your home. Having layers of professional, original art and your own special family moments adds so much personality and depth to your home.
Woo! You’re so prepared right now. Now you can think through this process in a way that isn’t so overwhelming, and you can have some fun finding beautiful art for your home. If you’re curious about where to shop, what sizes work best in different spaces, and beautiful color combinations, stay tuned! I will be sharing new blog posts every week with you to help you through the process of buying art for your home that makes your interiors your happy place. I’m so excited for the day when I can share the first ever Garland Collections curated collection of artwork, but until then I’ll be here to encourage you and inspire you here on the blog and on Instagram and Pinterest. Can’t wait to talk more about art with you soon!