You’re all about the midcentury sofa and the reclaimed-wood table you scored at the Brooklyn Flea. But the perfect framed print would really tie your place together—it’s just hard to know where to start. Not to worry: You’ll be upgrading your walls in no time with these tips for buying art at any budget.
SCOPE OUT THE LOCATION
First, think about the energy you want in a room: Expansive landscapes and abstractions create a calming effect in a bedroom, while the kitchen is a great place for something bright or cheeky.
KEEP YOUR COLOR SCHEME IN MIND
If you have non-white walls or a lot of distinctive colors in your furniture, choose something that either sticks to the same palette or is neutral enough that it won’t compete. (Black and white is always a good bet if you’re not sure.)
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE
As a general rule of thumb, artwork shouldn’t be wider than the piece of furniture it hangs over—you don’t want it to swallow up the room (unless that’s the effect you’re going for). Conversely, you don’t want one tiny print on an otherwise bare wall.
THINK OUTSIDE THE FRAME
Framed photos or prints are always a solid choice, but paintings on canvas or wood can add unexpected texture. (Or if there’s already a piece you love, you can have it custom-printed onto canvas.)
GET ONLINE INSPIRATION
There are dozens of sites dedicated to high-quality wall art, ranging from inexpensive to more high-end. A few we love are 20×200, Paper Collective, Tiny Showcase, Leif, Minted and Tappan Collective.
BROWSE IN PERSON
Sometimes you just don’t know what you want until you’re standing in front of it. New York’s Affordable Art Fair (September 28 to October 2) and Bushwick Open Studios (October 1 and 2) are great opportunities to scope out hundreds of options. Don’t forget to bring measurements and photos of the rooms in your apartment so you can visualize how the art will look in your space.
ASK FOR HELP
Still feeling clueless? Some online galleries, like Saatchi Art and Uprise Art, include personalized advising services to help you pick the perfect piece.
WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW OUT THE RULES
When it comes down to it, you’re the one who’s going to be seeing it every day, so if competing color schemes or something flashy in your bedroom feels good to you, do it. Rules were made to be broken, people.