A stunning piece of art on your living room wall is a great conversation starter for your guests. It is also an extension of your personality and can nail the vibe of your interior style. This means selecting the right piece can be a big deal.

"Art on the wall brings the much-needed character to a space and evokes feelings. A lot of the selection process, therefore, depends on each home owner’s choice, style and mood they want to create," points out interior designer Leen Vandaele, founder and CEO of Squisito, Dubai.

Leen Vandaele says art on the wall brings the much needed character to a space

Given the wide variety of choices available today, selecting an art piece can be an overwhelming experience for homeowners. What would work for the living room would not look classy in the bedroom. Should you pick a large work of art or make a gallery wall? Does size matter and how does one care for the paintings? Our interior experts guide you to make an informed decision.

When you are choosing a piece of art for a certain space you need to consider what the space is used for and what type of vibe you want to create.

Living room

This is an important and, at times, intimidating room to decorate. The living room is where we receive our guests and it is most often a reflection of the family’s tastes and personality. Dubai-based interior designer Emma Hutton says one should take the colour palette strongly into consideration here.

Matching your living room's decor to the colour palette of the art is on trend

"If you have a neutral room and want to create some drama, then opt for a splash of colour while selecting art, make it an eye-catching focal point of your room," she says. And if you want to keep it neutral use a strong frame, she suggests, such as black as it highlights what is in the frame. For a more colourful palette, our experts advise choosing art depending on the colours in your soft furnishings and to have an anchor colour to work with.

A large piece of art, interior experts say, will never date. "Bigger is definitely better to maximise the statement," says Emma. Gallery walls, too, she says, are trending. In the past they were used on stairwells and bathrooms, but now are increasingly being showcased in all areas of the home. A gallery wall can be created from an assortment of framed and canvas quotes, fun photo art and abstract prints.

Home office

The workspace reflects one’s personality and should be inspirational and positive. The artwork can be paired to showcase the homeowner’s career requirements too. "I share an office with my husband, who is a lawyer, and each side of the room reflects what we do. My side is awash with colour and abstract art and my husband’s side of the room is all inspirational quotes and sports memorabilia mounted and framed," shares Emma.

A frame in neutral colours, such as black, highlights the art in it


We use the bedroom to sleep and relax, so the artwork in the room should also be soothing to the mind. Avoid strong subjects or colours that could distract your mind. Calming greens, blues and neutral shades work best in a bedroom. Hang art directly over the bed or over the wall opposite the bed.

Size and lighting

The size of artwork is very important – you don’t want it to be too small and get lost in the room or too big and be overpowering. A general rule to remember is to have the painting cover two thirds to three fourth of your wall. "For instance if you are looking to place a piece of art over your sofa or a console table, the art should be roughly three-fourths the width of the furniture piece," suggests Emma.

If your living room is neutral in colour, then the art should be the focal point, says Emma Hutton

Another important factor is the lighting. "An artwork with the correct lighting comes alive, gives a depth to the piece and very often intensifies the colours," says Leen. Get a picture light fitted over the artwork, or hang it below the spotlights. You can also frame the artworks on either side of a table lamp placed over a console table.

Taking care

Always place art as much as possible away from direct sunlight and in a room with low humidity. "If you have an expensive or sentimental piece of art, it is best to use UV Plexiglas, it protects your artwork from harsh sunlight and is much lighter and less prone to breaking. With the Dubai sun this is a good idea for certain pieces," shares Emma.

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