Curating art for your home is a big investment, and a lifelong journey. The first step in that journey is finding an art style that resonates with you. That art style will ultimately set the stage for the artists that you gravitate toward, the mediums that you prefer, and the overall tone that each room in your home will have.
But how do you determine which art style you love when there are so many talented artists out there? It starts with spending time with art before ever making the first purchase.
The Different Types of Art Styles
Walk into any art gallery or art museum and you’ll see myriad art styles. An expert would be able to immediately note the nuances in brush strokes, the relevancy of the time period, or the backstory of the art that makes it so powerful. But for those of us who simply want to curate an aesthetically pleasing and uniquely styled home, here are the primary art styles you can focus on.
Abstract art is an art style in which an artist uses shapes, colors, and textures to create an image that’s not based on reality. Abstract art can take the form of a painting, sculpture, photography, design, or any other art form that doesn’t accurately represent a subject or object.
One of the most unique aspects of abstract art is that it’s always open to interpretation. A viewer doesn’t always immediately know what the piece is about—it is abstract after all—but over time, certain emotional or intellectual qualities can be seen in the piece that can make it uniquely special to the viewer.
In short, contemporary art is art that’s made today by living artists. Because of that broad sweeping definition, it’s an art style that is ever-evolving and often reflects the complex issues that shape our diverse and rapidly changing world.
While the art world is still debating what eras technically define the contemporary art style, most can agree that the starting point is the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Within the contemporary art style, more niche movements can be found. Pop art, photo realism, conceptualism, minimalism, and street art are all styles that can be explored if you want your home’s art style to make a statement.
Fine art is artwork that has been created for the sole purpose of being appreciated for its beauty and intellectual or emotional influence, rather than its function. Of course, with art being so subjective, what distinguishes something as “fine art” can be left to the interpretation of the viewer.
Within the fine art style, painting, sculpture, and photography can all be explored for your home. And while there are countless fine artists across different mediums and centuries, a few examples of visual fine artists are Rembrandt, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas.
Determining Your Home’s Art Style
Your goal is to create a stylish and cohesive home, so it’s important to choose not only an art style that resonates with you, but also to find an art style that accents your existing home furnishings.
When you walk into an art gallery or store, have the space you’re hoping to find art for in mind. Maybe even have a photo or two on your phone to use as a reference. Know what the dimensions of the wall are, and the existing color palette of the wall paint, furnishings, and rugs.
From there, slowly walk through the art selections and pay careful attention to the art that evokes an immediate reaction. The old adage “I’ll know it when I see it” has never been more true when it comes to choosing art for your home. If you see a piece of art and it creates a feeling of excitement or positive emotion, it may be something you can work with.
This feeling of excitement and emotion may even help you eliminate the art styles that aren’t quite for you, making your future art shopping trips even easier.
After you’ve narrowed your selections down to the pieces that resonate with you, pull out your handy reference photos and measurements and consider how the piece will work within your existing space. Consider how the colors will play with each other, or how much wall space the piece may occupy. Consider the frame that it’s currently in—if it’s framed at all—and whether the style suits your tastes or if you’ll have to budget for a reframe.
It’s important at this stage to avoid talking yourself into an art purchase. Remember, art is a big investment in and of itself, so if you have to completely rework the rest of your space to accommodate your new purchase, it may not be worth it.
Your art style is a way to express your personality within your home. And just like with any other personal style, opinions can change over time. Allow yourself to continuously explore art of all styles by supporting local art galleries and artists. Learn the colors that strike an emotion, or the details that draw you in. Over time, your home’s art style will become even more honed and beautiful.