Top Tips For Buying Art For Your Home

Moving into a new home is a really exciting time. The artwork you choose to display can have a real impact on the atmosphere of the space and can make it distinctively yours. That’s why we asked Catherine Hay, co-founder and co-director at our partners over at Saul Hay Gallery in Castlefield, Manchester to give us a few top tips on buying original art.

You want your new space to look great and to reflect your unique personality. Catherine enjoys helping customers find the perfect artwork. She understands that for some of us who haven’t bought original art before the process can be a little daunting. Here are her tips on making the right choice.

Original is best

An original work of art is unique, no one else has it, this is part of the joy of owning original art rather than an off the shelf piece from a major retailer. So if you see a work of art that you absolutely love it’s best to buy as soon as possible before someone else takes it away. Don’t let that idea rush you into making a rash decision though. If you are not absolutely sure to ask the gallerist about reserving the work for a short time whilst you think about it or talk to your partner. One of our regular clients always likes to sleep on it before making a major purchase and we are happy to put a green dot on the wall next to the painting to reserve it until the next day.

A word about prints; some original works of art are made using a printing technique, woodcut, Lino or screen print for example and there are more than one of the same image. Purchasing a print can be an economical way of beginning an art collection.

Confusingly to the uninitiated, copies of original works of art are also called prints. These can be of varying quality and produced in editions of just a few or hundreds of copies all which affects the price. If in doubt ask the gallerist.

Choose Something You Love

An original work of art often speaks to you on a personal, emotional level. If you choose a piece that you absolutely love rather than something that will match your new curtains you will cherish it for years and years to come.

Art is very subjective, and tastes differ considerably. Often a certain piece may remind someone of a wonderful holiday or event in their lives, give a feeling of peace or excitement or might trigger some subconscious feeling that is difficult to articulate. Whatever the reason you love the artwork is the right reason.

If you are a couple choosing for your home, it can be a bit trickier to find something you both love but the process of looking together can be fun and you might even find out something new about each other’s taste.

Once you have found your perfect painting or sculpture it’s worth taking some time to decide where to put it to achieve the best impact. The space needs to be big enough but think carefully before you put a small work in a big space where it can seem lost.

Think about the juxtaposition: If you have different paintings next to each other will they complement one another because of a theme or colour, or will they distract from each other? Does the other decor in the room help the painting to stand out or will its subtlety be lost by being hung on a coloured wall? Having a helper to hold up a painting where you want it or setting a group of artworks out on the floor before committing to putting holes in the wall is really useful.

The frame of artwork can make a big difference in how it looks in-situ. The gallerist will usually work closely with a framer and will be able to offer advice. Take ideas from magazines or Pinterest. A painting doesn’t always have to go in the middle of the wall, group work in a salon style or arrange art on a shelf. Be bold, have fun, express yourself.

Here is a quick note on looking after your artwork. Purchasing an original work of art can be a significant investment and you will want to ensure it remains in good condition. For example, you wouldn’t want to put a watercolour painting in a steamy bathroom or a delicate ceramic sculpture on your bedside table if you like having pillow fights.

As a rule, a quality work of original art, well cared for, shouldn’t depreciate in worth and the value could, with a little luck, increase significantly over a period of time.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy

Some people feel a little intimidated by a contemporary art gallery and are worried about saying the wrong thing or not understanding the artwork and therefore feeling stupid. There is really no need to worry; if you know what you like and don’t like that is enough. There is no need to have any knowledge of art history or technical terms and it is fine to ask lots of questions. On the other hand, if you do have the knowledge it can be really fun to discuss the work in more depth.

Gallerists love to build up a relationship with customers over time and to learn about their preferences. There may be opportunities to meet artists in person at preview evenings and talks which can all add to the pleasure of finding your perfect piece. Galleries like to keep in touch with customers to invite them to events and tell them about new art so ask to join their mailing list.

Why not go to the Saul Hay Gallery website and join their mailing list or have a browse of some of the art?