The curated home: How to choose art for your space - Lifestyle NZ
The curated home: How to choose art for your space

The curated home: How to choose art for your space

Art adds a certain soul to your home that can’t be achieved with architecture and furniture alone – a special quality that comes from thoughtful, handcrafted pieces. With so many wonderful works out there to choose from, where do you start and how do you know what’s right for your space?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

From canvas paintings to ceramics and glass sculptures, there is no limit of art from local creatives to choose from, but thinking about all of the possibilities can be a little overwhelming.

This is where the talented team at the award-winning Black Door Gallery come in – where behind the gallery’s signature black doors, you’ll find a beautiful and ever-changing selection of contemporary New Zealand paintings, wall art, sculptures and glass works. Nestled in a charming, historical villa in the heart of Parnell, it’s the perfect environment to explore what’s available and work with the Black Door Gallery team to find the perfect piece that you connect with and that adds meaning and inspiration to your home.

We asked the team some questions about adding art to the home…

A colour original artwork by Richard Ponder in a private residence.

ArchiPro: What’s your advice for placing art in the home?

Black Door Gallery: We believe that selecting art for your home is a balance between finding a piece that you connect with emotionally and is reflective of your personal taste and story; but that also works well within the unique requirements of your space. Artworks will look their best in your home when they are the correct proportion and reflect the tone and mood of your home. The great thing is there is such a range of quality contemporary art available that you can find a piece that strikes this balance.

AP: What is a good size for wall art in the home?

BDG: For paintings, prints and photographs, we recommend reflecting on which walls in your home call for an artwork – you don’t need to fill every wall. Instead, focus on those select walls that you can create a focal point with, such as above the sideboard, couch, fireplace, or your entry wall.

It pays to measure the wall and take those dimensions with you when viewing artworks at a gallery so you can focus on the right sized pieces. As a guide, you can use the furniture the artwork will hang above to determine the size of the art, with around two-thirds to three-quarters of the width of the furniture being a good proportion. Artworks that are too small can have the effect of making the wall look smaller, so scale is important. As an alternative to one large piece, you can cluster together a selection of smaller artworks in a ‘salon style’ configuration to fill a larger space.

A fine art portrait by Harry Moores centred above a lounge using the proportion rule of thumb.

AP: What’s your advice when choosing sculpture art?

BDG: Adding sculptures to your home is something that is often forgotten with many focusing on the walls only. Works of three-dimensional art can be a fantastic way to break up your space with artful touches, creating a layered environment. From collections of objects on sideboards, to a statement platter on the centre of a table, to a freestanding sculpture on the floor or in the garden. Sculptures come in a range of materials including ceramic, glass, metal, bronze and mixed media.

Wall sculptures are also a great option to break up a space that has lots of paintings, photos and mirrors on the walls. Break away from another square or rectangle and instead, hang a 3D form. In place of a painting, install a beautiful display of glass birds on the wall, wooden sculptural forms, metal branches or even pop replicas of iconic New Zealand lollies.

The colourful Candymen Ceramic Sculptures by Simon Lewis-Wards are inspired by nostalgia unique to New Zealand.

AP: How much art should a home have?

BDG: The number of artworks one should have is a matter of taste. Sometimes just having one key piece in the heart of the home is transformative and all you need, while other homes with a number of large blank walls might call for some more pieces. When budget is a factor, you might like to focus on investing more into one quality original art piece for your main living space, and then find prints, photos and other collectables for your secondary spaces.

AP: When should homeowners select art for their space?

BDG: There are advantages to beginning your search for art while you are designing your space as you can start gaining a sense of what style of art you like, how it will work with your interior design, and how much you might need to spend to secure the art you love.

It is important to keep in mind that some artists can take many months to create their work, so finding out when an artist is releasing new work and planning to attend an exhibition is useful to research in advance. Leaving selecting art to the end is also an option as this allows you to see the space completed and you can decide where you might need some artful pieces. In either case, we would advise setting aside some budget allowance for art.

Lukeke Design creates quality handmade cast and blown glass artworks that are beautiful, accessible and affordable, such as these Cast Glass Native Birds.

AP: How do you decide what art goes together well?

BDG: Choosing a theme to run through your artwork collection can create a sense of continuity in your home, whether this be a colour scheme that runs through your artworks, or a mood (pop, urban, expressive, etc.). However, we would suggest avoiding choosing artworks exclusively for their match to a rug or curtain pattern for example, as this can result in a home looking staged. Instead, look for links across artworks and consider how this will set the mood and tone of your home. Most of all, choose artworks that you genuinely love, connect with and enjoy looking at, as this will bring you joy for years to come.

AP: How do people know if you’ve selected the right artwork for their home?

BDG: Choosing the right piece can feel daunting, so we recommend using the services and expertise of a gallery to make the process easier. At Black Door Gallery, we offer in-home consultations where we bring artworks to your home and show you how they look before you commit, or we can Photoshop works on your wall so you can visualise them in-situ.

We’ve also developed an app where you can lay artworks on top of your camera function, giving you the ability to walk around your home and see how various artworks might look on your wall. Such services or a simple chat to a gallery about option, style or even the investment potential of your art, can give you the confidence that you have selected an artwork that is right for your home.

Technology allows homeowners to view an artwork in their own home without it physically being there.

Black Door Gallery reminds us though, to have fun: “Be open to your creative side when choosing your artwork. When it comes to adding art, this is the time to embrace your personal, emotional, playful and imaginative side. Art is a way to reflect who you are without speaking, so select artworks that connect to your story.”

If you are looking for the perfect piece of art to display in your home, visit Black Door Gallery to discover your options.

Thank you to Neala Glass from the Black Door Gallery team for taking the time to sit down and discuss art in the home with ArchiPro.

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