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Wall Art 101: Choosing Art That Speaks to You and Your Space

Color Eyes diptych

Wall artwork is one of the most impactful tools we can use to transform our interiors. Whether it’s a lively portrait, a sweeping landscape, or an intriguing abstract work, art is a mode of expression that allows us to convey who we are, what we think, how we feel, and more. With the near-infinite variety of artwork that exists, it can be hard to narrow down our choices for what we want to display in our homes. That’s why Copenhagen offers not only a large collection of contemporary wall art, but also knowledgeable associates and designers who can help you choose what works best – like Jenny Haevischer, a sales associate (and art enthusiast) working at Copenhagen Austin. Haevischer says, “When selecting wall art, some of the most important considerations are a personal connection with the art, the quality and materials of the piece, and your budget – but what comes foremost in this process is first deciding that you genuinely love an artwork.” If you’re wondering how to choose art that truly speaks to you, check out the following tips for choosing wall art you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Think about your desired mood or vibe.

Haevischer says, “Using emotion as a guide can help you pick artwork that enhances your mood or promotes positive feelings, creating spaces that uplift you in your day-to-day life.” Thinking about specific emotions you’d like to feel, and that you’d like your guests to feel, within different rooms in your house is a great starting point. For instance, you may want a calm and relaxed mood in your bedroom or bathroom; a more social or joyful mood in your living or dining room; and a focused, thoughtful, or motivated mood in your office. From there, you can narrow down artwork that encapsulates your desired ambiance.

Explore the world of color.

Intricately linked with emotion, color can strategically breathe life into any space. Consider using a favorite color or color palette as a guide for choosing wall art, while also remaining aware of the emotional effects of varying hues. According to color psychology, shades of blue and green (like those in the Petals Soft Touch wall art) are perceived as more soothing, while reds, oranges, and yellows (like those in Burning Out) are more energizing. But there are also exceptions: for example, electric blue can be stimulating (think of the blue light from electronic screens), while a dark burgundy red can be more sedate. In the end, it’s less about following rules than about being true to how you feel about colors.

As a pragmatic note, gravitating toward color schemes you enjoy that also complement existing furniture, accessories, and/or wall colors can bring a cohesive feel to the space. Haevischer says, “It’s important to consider the existing color scheme of the room when choosing art, so the overall effect of a space stays in harmony. Matching or contrasting colors can be used to achieve your desired effect.” For instance, the warm brown leather of the Evan Sofa pairs well with the orange and rust tones of the Deep Sediment wall art, while the rainbow hues of Flourish III add a lively counterpoint to the dark grey Bari Sectional.

Identify aesthetic movements that catch your eye.

These can be historical art movements like Impressionism, Art Deco, or Surrealism — or contemporary, more internet-based aesthetics like dark academia or cottagecore. Flip through some art books, take a quiz or several, or search for aesthetic moodboards on places like Pinterest or your preferred social media site for inspiration. Once you pinpoint your preferred aesthetics, you can use those terms as a jumping-off point to search for art that has traits you’ll like.

Embracing multiple aesthetics and taking an eclectic approach can also be key in cultivating a look and feel that you’ll love. Art preferences don’t always fit one label, so choosing something that genuinely appeals to you and that you can envision in your own home may yield better results than choosing something that looks impressive but doesn’t speak to you in the same way. After all, a combination of unique traits and tastes is what makes you, you – just like your art!

Reflect on your passions, values, and life goals.

Curating art that reflects or validates what is important to us can help support our passions and serve as a motivator. “For example,” Haevischer says, “a music lover may enjoy artwork featuring famous musicians or musical instruments, like Blues Tempo. An artist may gravitate toward pieces that make them feel inspired to create, like the Color Eyes Quadriptych. If your goal is to travel, you might like pieces with landmarks from around the world, or pieces that spark your sense of wanderlust, like the Going Places wall art.”

Wall art can also connect us to treasured memories. Haevischer continues, “I love Carefree because it reminds me of when I was a child and would sit in the grass fields, playing with dandelions.” In a similar vein, your walls can be the ideal place to display photographs of memorable times spent with family and friends, or to show off artwork your children make as they grow.

Select the best size for your space.

Haevischer says, “Deciding on the best size of wall art for a space involves factors like the dimensions of the wall, the overall layout and design of the room, the desired visual impact, and your personal preferences.” Large artworks like New World, or Waking Up III and IV, can make a powerful statement in spacious rooms, but too large can overwhelm a space, while too small can be hard to notice. If you have several smaller works, consider grouping them together in a gallery wall to multiply their effect and create a larger whole. In any case, it’s key that art arrangements are proportionate to the room and the furniture within it.

For some helpful guidelines – artwork hung over furniture pieces like a sofa or bed should be roughly 75% the width of the furniture, approximately at eye level, and with about one foot of space between the bottom of the art and the top of the furniture. However, if visual intuition feels like a better guide, finding the place on the wall that looks “just right” will work too!

Pick your favorite finish.

The two most common finishes wall art will come in are glossy and matte. Decide if you like a sleek and shiny surface, like that of Amplified, or one that’s more muted, like that of Aquaduct. Glossy finishes are popular due to their eye-catching effect that can intensify the colors in an artwork, while matte finishes have a more understated look that can make them ideal for a room where relaxation is the goal. When choosing your preferred finish, be attentive to light sources in the room at different times of day, and how they interact with glossy vs. matte finishes.

Maximize the effect of mixing and matching.

To keep multiple pieces of art from clashing with each other or with furniture, Haevischer’s primary tip is to “establish a common color palette or similar palettes.” For example, two artworks of different mediums, like Sunny Day and Red Flower, can still coordinate because they use a similar shade of red. For more mixing and matching tips, Haevischer recommends “having styles and themes that echo each other across artworks, balancing contrasting items, paying attention to textures and materials, and creating focal points.” As parting words of advice, she says, “Don’t be afraid to experiment with different arrangements – and trust your instincts.”

If you’re ready to spruce up your interior with amazing artwork, stop in at Copenhagen to browse our collection of contemporary pieces including abstract works, portraits, landscapes, photography, and more. If you’d like to see what certain artworks will look like in your space, try the AR feature on our website, or work with an associate or designer to create a virtual mockup of your room with our floorplanning software. Our team is prepared to help you make any space into a gallery that speaks to your soul.