The artwork a person chooses to hang on their walls can actually reveal quite a bit about their home decor style as a whole. This is key as art pieces should complement the furnishings in a room, or, as interior stylist McCall Dulkys says, they should “feel cohesive with the rest of the design.” Dulkys explained that “artwork can invoke emotion and tell stories so if it’s not supporting the overall feel or mood that we’re trying to convey, it may be necessary to reselect.”
Art is so personal and is something that designers pay significant attention to when working with homeowners who have an existing gallery of pieces. “We often take cues from our client’s art collections to design their home,” designer Michelle Gage explains. “We look at the color, style, and composition to create spaces that work with that vibe. At the end of the day, we want the home to reflect the people who live inside of it.”
Mimi Meacham of Marian Louise Designs agrees that “in most cases the art you are drawn to speaks volumes about the design style you like to see in your home as well.”
And if you’re still trying to identify your aesthetic, taking a closer look at your most loved art pieces may help you better understand the design styles that speak to you. Outlined below are a few common styles of art as well as the interior styles with which they most closely correspond.
You may think of art-filled walls and envision a maximalist display bursting with color, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple if that’s more your speed.
Line drawings, black and white geometric art, and Scandinavian-inspired work “fit in well with a minimalist style of home decor,” explains Meacham. Whether you choose to group prints together and construct a gallery wall or instead would prefer to opt for one oversized statement piece, you can’t go wrong.
Looking for further inspiration? Figure drawings are also increasingly popular and also look wonderful in a minimalist home—they make an especially nice addition to the bathroom.
Some people are drawn toward sophisticated nature scenes—think oil paintings that are reminiscent of something you might see in a fancy gallery or museum.
Landscape lovers often err on the traditional side design-wise, Meacham suggests. Additionally, such individuals “may prefer softer colors and less busy patterns,” designer Kerri Pilchik explains. She also noted that people who are drawn to portraits likely also prefer classic furnishings.
Fortunately, such works come in all sizes and at a range of price points and can be styled in any room of the house—for example, a small outdoor scene can look beautiful when displayed on open shelving in the kitchen.
Pieces that are vibrant and frilly aren’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love them, odds are that you’re a fan of the granny chic aesthetic. “A preppy, colorful, floral piece can be the perfect addition to a grand millennial-styled space,” Meacham noted. The same goes for artwork with a chinoiserie touch.
Pilchik added that people who appreciate botanicals or Asian art “may want to incorporate feminine details, such as floral prints, scalloped edges or fringed trim into the design.” This can be done in the form of wallpaper, bedding, curtains, and other textile additions.
Love abstract, mixed media, or sculptures? Pilchik says that, in this case, one might also “tend to gravitate toward bolder colors and usually will be open to a mix of different patterns, in terms of scale, motif, and color.”
That said, designer Cami Weinstein suggests that modern pieces can also look lovely when hung in more traditional spaces. “This is a wonderful way of keeping traditional rooms from becoming static," she explains. "Large pieces of artwork can make a dramatic impact on the room and become an instant focal point.”
If you have opted for a large, bold piece, then the rest of the room needs to have quieter, less busy furnishings and fabrics.
Still unsure what types of pieces strike your fancy? “Art is very personal and finding the right piece can be a challenge,” says Pilchik. What’s most important is that whatever pieces you do choose serves as a source of joy and inspiration. As Meacham explains, “art is truly the cherry on the top of your home design and should catch your attention every time you walk past it, even on your busiest days.”