Five key things to consider when buying art

FOCAL POINT: Take cues from a favourite artwork to tie the room together. Photo: Shutterstock.
FOCAL POINT: Take cues from a favourite artwork to tie the room together. Photo: Shutterstock.

It was The Castle's Darryl Kerrigan who famously said, "It's not a house, it's a home". Interior designer Emily MacAlpine passionately believes art is the icing on the cake that creates this differentiation.

"Buying artwork can be an overwhelming experience for many and is often met with decision paralysis, whether that be based on choosing the piece itself, how much to spend on the artwork and framing, or how to hang it and tie it in into your home," says Emily.

As choosing art is a personal choice that no interior designer can make for you, the founder of MARG. Studio has curated an art buyers course to provide people with the tools required to make these choices and enjoy the process.

Here are five things Emily says you should consider when buying art:

Choosing art.

Emily suggests you choose art that has a little depth to it that reflects both your personality and your home.

"Artwork should have some element of sentimental value to you, whether it reminds you of a person or a place for example, as well as being aesthetically pleasing," she says. "I'd always encourage people to invest in pieces that hold emotional significance - you are far less likely to tire of them."

Placement.

"The way in which you display your piece is almost as important as the piece you pick," says Emily.

"While not all artworks need to be hung and some may look great displayed on a shelf or leaning up against a wall, the height at which your artwork is positioned does influence the amount of enjoyment you can extract. The centreline of your artwork should be hung at eye level (or approximately 1.5 metres) from the ground to ensure maximum gratification."

ART LOVER: Interior designer and founder of MARG. Studio, Emily MacAlpine. Photo: Supplied.

ART LOVER: Interior designer and founder of MARG. Studio, Emily MacAlpine. Photo: Supplied.

Cost.

"People often ask me how much they should be spending on artwork and this is where I'd encourage them to be a bit clever," says Emily.

"While I don't recommend buying a whole lot of cheaper things you will get sick of, I do believe there is an opportunity to balance cheap and cheerful pieces like posters and kid's artworks with a bigger investment.

"It is important to spend time to understand what sort of art you like to make sure that you are making an investment in the right pieces."

Interior schemes.

"If you have a favourite artwork, this can be a great departure point to design your room around," says Emily. "Take cues from colour, shapes or subject matter from the artwork to tie a room together.

"To use a personal example, two of my favourite artworks are from different Australian cities I have lived in and despite their differences in size and frames, the subject matter and similar use of colour means I love having them in the same room.

"The complementary overlap of colours in the artworks has acted as an anchor for finding soft furnishings like cushions and throws to unify them.

"There is great scope for artworks like these to provide a starting point to inspire the rest of a rooms design when it directly links to something personal to the artworks owner," she adds.

Framing.

Emily advises you to make sure your framing matches the investment you've made to your artwork.

"If you are framing a piece of your kid's artwork or a poster, you can find a great range of readymade, cost effective frames," she says. "If you have saved up for a more costly piece of art, I would recommend finding a professional framer who can do justice to your special piece."