Art adds sophistication and intrigue to a home. It can alter the mood of a room, provide a focal point for the rest of the space, and can stimulate meditation as well as remembrance. Still, buying a piece of art for your home can be more intimidating than buying the home itself. So, how do you select a timeless piece that compliments your current decor and that fits in your available space (and your budget)?

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Forget what everyone else thinks

The most important thing to remember when shopping for art is that everyone interprets a piece of work differently. It’s no good hanging a luminous Rothko on the wall if his geometric shapes don’t strike a powerful chord in your soul.

Aim to satisfy yourself by only purchasing something that strikes you in an undeniable way.


2. Know your own style

There’s a lot of art in the world, and knowing your general style preferences may help you narrow the field so that you can select work from an artist whose tastes reflect your own. To do this, look around the rest of your home.

Does the decor feel contemporary? Modern and clean? Are you edgy? Sassy? Maybe a Warhol is right for your space. Do you love macrame and wicker? Can’t have enough succulents and flowing drapes? Consider a Mucha. Using this method can save a lot of time and heartache.

3. Learn about new artists

While Monets and Picassos are timeless and impressive, exposing yourself to a broad variety of art is the best way to know for certain what you like most. There are artists living today who create pieces every bit as vibrant and inspiring as the classics from centuries ago, so attend museums and galleries in kind to assure you have a broad understanding of what’s available.

4. Avoid trends

It’s so tempting to think you want something because your favorite character on Mad Men has one in her boudoir, but buying art is the wrong time to fall victim to a trend. Art trends are as fleeting as their counterparts in fashion–in one day, out the next.

So, seek out art work that has depth and meaning beyond its superficial beauty, for you. Consider the artist’s vision, their balance of composition, and technical ability. These things can help the discerning buyer differentiate long lasting quality from a passing fancy.

5. Consider location

Where you will hang any given art piece can help determine many things. Primarily: size and shape. Beyond that, the room a piece is in can dictate the tenor and intention of the art you hang there.

A living room or dining room is where you will receive guests. These locations are generally reserved for a home’s most impressive works, and keeping it tasteful and non controversial is usually preferred. In the bedroom is where a piece that speaks to you intimately should be hung, regardless of content or the mood it evokes. The kitchen and bathroom shouldn’t house expensive art because the temperature and humidity levels in these rooms are inconsistent and can cause irreparable damage.