Should my Art match my Sofa?

[written by Joan Philip]

Well, the short answer is No.

Or, not necessarily.

Or, it depends!

There are designers, decorators and stagers who actually make decisions about art based on the overall design considerations of a space — including the sofa. If the furniture is contemporary, blue and green, with a touch of yellow, then voila! — an abstract with blue, green and yellow is on the wall.

This is fine when the circumstances are right.

But most people don’t live that way. Our homes evolve over a period of time, and so does our knowledge of and taste in art. As we learn more about art, and study the kinds of art and the work of various artists that we like, we develop our own “art personalities” in much the same way that every other aspect of our personality develops.

Just as we don’t pick our friends based on whether they enjoy eating Thai food with us, we don’t pick the art that we live with based on whether it matches the décor. Of course, it’s often the case that in fact our friends do share our love of Thai food. Similarly, the chances good that the art we love will suit our décor, since it was also likely chosen by us with the same kind of thought and attention as we lavished on the choice of the art.

In short, if your art suits you — if you love it — it will likely suit the way you live. If you buy a painting because you can’t stop looking at it and thinking about it, then you will find ways to incorporate it into your life, whether or not it appears to match your existing environment.

Sometimes,however, it can be worthwhile to make adjustments to the immediate surroundings of a painting to make the art more harmonious with the environment in which it lives. The matting and framing of a piece of art can dramatically affect how comfortably it settles in a space. Also, the colour and texture of the wall surface on which a painting is hung might need adjustment.

At the end of the day, sofas change. Houses change. Tastes change. But, a piece of art which has been chosen for the right reasons —- that it tells a story that speaks to you, even if only to you — will still be “right” no matter what.