If you're anything like me and struggle to contain your excitement when faced with the cushion aisle in a homeware shop ... both in real life and online ... it's so hard to see beyond the soft furnishings sometimes and think about other things which can make a huge impact to the look and feel of your home. And I'm not talking about my other obsession, tea cups, either. Or blankets ... I've been known to buy way too many of those. And vases. And most definitely bedding ... amazing bedding is high up on my 'must buy' list, as well.
But what about the walls?
Being somewhat petrified of wallpaper and prone to spending hours (and hours and hours) dithering over the best shade of white only to then opt for 'pure brilliant' EVERY TIME, by the time I've painted a room, I have a tendency to walk away from the walls congratulating myself on a job eventually well done. I stand back and admire my handiwork for a fair few weeks before finally admitting that something's missing. I love clean, white walls but they definitely better serve as a backdrop for something more marvellous rather than being the standout feature themselves.
Artwork of some sort is nearly always the answer. Paintings, prints, photographs, postcards, all are amazing for adding that finishing touch to a room ... the last little bit of personality to transform a house in to a home. But it's not always easy to select the perfect piece, is it? It's something that I used to really struggle with and have got wrong so many times - wrong colour, wrong size, wrong style, wrong medium, wrong era, or just plain wrong.
I'm not saying that I get it right every time now, but here are my top tips/things I think about when buying beautiful artwork ... with a little bit of help from Rise Art who invited me to choose a a piece that made my heart skip a beat from their incredible collection:
Spend time browsing
Of course it will save you time if you start your search with something in mind. But, it could also mean that you discount the perfect piece. It's so easy to be influenced by what you see on social media channels these days that your brain can head in a particular direction without your heart having a say. Instagram had me convinced that I love typography prints above all else for a while, but taking a step back and browsing the Rise Art website reminded me that abstract art is undoubtably the style that speaks to me the most. So grab a cup of tea or glass of wine and spend an hour shortlisting all the pieces that catch your eye. You might surprise yourself.
Think about where you want to place your artwork ...
Look at the room where you want to place your artwork and be mindful of the atmosphere you want to create. There are pieces of art to match nearly every space, mood and colour scheme so think about the look and feel that you're trying to achieve - perhaps it's a creative working environment, a bright, bold playroom, a calm and serene sleep retreat, or a dramatic dining room. If you love a piece of art, you will always find a place for it, but if it's to finish off a room and complement an existing colour scheme or style, why not sit in that room while you're narrowing down your search.
... and how
Artwork doesn't necessarily have to be hung in a frame upon a wall. I prop prints up against walls or on top of our sideboard, I use pinch clips to display photos and postcards, washi tape is wonderful for more creative spaces, and picture shelves are brilliant for displaying artwork nail-free (and great if you want to be able to move artwork around your home without worrying about filling and painting over holes in a wall). Think of your home as a mini art gallery and cultivate a collection that you can use in many different rooms and spaces, and display in different ways.
Colour is everything ... in moderation
As well as nearly always opting for abstract art, you can pretty much count on me to choose paintings, pictures or prints that contain teal or fuchsia. I can't help myself. But other than art and a few home accessories, I keep everything in our home quite plain. White walls, pale flooring, walnut furniture. They act as the perfect backdrop ... the stage ... for my more vibrant, colourful choices. My advice would be to consider how the larger items of furniture in your home - the walls, floors, tables, sofas, etc. - set the scene and whether you want your art to stand out against them, complement them, or perhaps completely contrast for added wow factor.
Try before you buy
If you're finding it difficult to decide whether something you've seen online will work in your home, Rise Art offers a rental service. You can try before you buy. And if you decide that you want to keep it, they will offset some of the rental costs against the outright purchase. They also offer help and advice on choosing the perfect piece, no matter what your budget is - there's an amazing selection under £100!
Do none of the above
To contradict all of the advice I've given you, one of the best tips for buying artwork is to simply buy what you love. Buy what touches your heart. Buy the painting that you can't help but stare at. Buy the print that you keep coming back to and spotting new things in. Buy the photo that makes you study every centimetre of it. Even if you don't have a place for it, I can guarantee you'll find one. Above all else, art should be a complete and utter treat and a joy to own.
And the artwork I chose for myself? Well, I couldn't resist Ferry Road by Harriet Hoult (abstract, tick ... teal, tick ... fuchsia, tick ... I am nothing but predictable). It's a limited edition print of the original painting making it a lot more affordable but equally as stunning. I love it.
Have you got any advice or tips when it comes to choosing artwork? Let me know what adorns your walls.
This post was written in collaboration with Rise Art.