26th September 2018 Art & Interior Design

Choosing art for your classic or modern home [insider tips]

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This article was featured in the The Foxley Docket

Emily-Clarey-Avatar-Profile-Pic.jpg#asset:31016:icon114by Emily Clarey & Daniel-Lee-Jacobs-Avatar-Round.jpg#asset:12383:icon114By Daniel Lee-Jacobs

Choosing artwork to match your style, your budget and your home can be a difficult business. And although it shouldn't be the deciding factor, buying art for your home often means taking into consideration your existing furnishings and decor style. Whilst you shouldn’t feel restricted or hold back from buying artwork that you simply love; it can be important to know where to look and what to look out for if you’re searching for artwork which will ultimately compliment your home.

That’s why we’ve pulled together some expert advice to help you on your hunt for the perfect artwork. Ranging from the traditional to the modern, in décor and artwork styles, read on for some insider tips on what to consider if you want to create a stunning interior.

The classic or traditional home:


Featured artwork: Island Light by Philip Raskin. Painting, acrylic on canvas, £275

If you own a traditional family home (think classic, calm and comfortable) it often makes sense to look for art which brings this same air of quiet tranquillity. Landscapes have for centuries featured in stately homes, making them arguably the most classic subject matter in a painting. A classic landscape adds an air of escapism allowing your mind to wander to faraway places, or simply away from the rigmarole of daily life. Choose from landscapes executed in the ‘impressionist’ style – recognisable for their visible brushstrokes, fluid nature and focus on changing light; or ‘realist’ landscapes which aim to accurately depict gritty reality and often urban cityscapes.

Portraiture comes a close second in terms of classic subject matter. Portrait painting has a historical legacy - with aristocracy commissioning paintings of themselves to hang in their manors; portraiture still resonates with class and sophistication.


‘A pilgrimage’ by Stephen Lindsay. Painting – Oil, £3,750.

In terms of artwork medium, in the above instances you’ll note that we have featured paintings over prints. Although original prints can be a fantastic asset to traditional homes, oil paintings in particular offer a rich colour and unique textured quality which can make them a perfect match for the textured and warm tones of classic furnishings. Accompanying oil or acrylic paintings with other rich accessories such as velvets or thick pile carpets creates a layered look which adds depth and comfort.

Whether you’re hanging paintings or prints, a final element of your artwork to consider is the frame in which it is displayed. Traditionally, classic artworks are accompanied by an antique gold frame. An old tradition, but a classic for a reason. This, or a dark wood, will really make the most of your artwork and fit well with creams or browns in your furnishings.


Image Source: Kathryn MacDonald Photography - Image adapted by ArtsHaus with artwork ‘Vase of Red Roses’ by Parastoo Ganjei – Oil painting on canvas, £750

Classic home with a modern twist:

A lot of people living in classic homes may feel restricted as to what style they can decorate in. Incorporating artwork into a room is the perfect way to delicately shift the balance towards a more contemporary style, whilst injecting a bit of your personality onto the walls!

Combining the best of classic vintage and a modern feel is a very current trend and can be achieved by incorporating modern artwork styles. e.g. abstraction. Abstract or expressionist landscapes are a popular choice and by sticking to this traditional subject, but one that is painted in an abstract manner, the work of combining the two eras is done for you!


Great Bridgewater Street’ by Ian Mood – Acrylic Painting £795

Similarly modern art movements such as ‘fauvism’ (which incorporate vibrant colour into traditional painting) or ‘cubism’ (which features multiple angular perspectives) can be great alternatives. The below example shows how well a cubist/figurative artwork can blend with, yet accentuate the existing interior. It lifts and brightens the neutral colour palette but doesn’t come across as overwhelming.


Featured artwork: Seated Girl by Geoffrey Key, painting, oil on canvas, £6,250

The modern home with traditional class:

On the other hand, you may have a modern home which you’d like to make more warm and comforting by bringing in some classic styling. This is arguably harder to do than the other way around; but again, there are simple things to consider.

When in doubt, stick with the 80:20 rule, meaning that 80 percent of your interior should suit the style/ age of your home, whilst 20 percent can be a little more off-piste! With this is mind, choose mainly modern furnishings and simply go for a statement, classic piece of artwork. With the artwork being the statement or focal point of the room it doesn’t need to blend into the rest of the interior, it can have an identity of its own.

Some would assume still lives, such as fruit bowls and vases of flowers are outdated; however in contemporary art, still life works have been resurrected in a big way. The below interior features a modern take on a still life, which offers a great blend of classic and contemporary styles, very much befitting of this interior and its colour scheme.


Image source: Avenue Lifestyle – Adapted by ArtsHaus with artwork: ‘Still life with yellow table and jug’ by Nigel Sharman, painting, oil on canvas, £1,425

Modern Chic:

As effective as juxtaposition is in interior design, sometimes incorporating modern art into a modern home is the simplest way to achieve a clean, crisp style. If you have a minimalist modern interior (lots of plain walls and clean lines) then you’re in luck, it provides the perfect backdrop to house most contemporary styled pieces. From neon art to abstract sculpture, nothing is off limits. It’s no coincidence that galleries often consist of white walls and sparse spaces, it really is the cleanest environment to showcase artwork. It provides a blank canvas for you to include a pop of colour into an otherwise simply decorated room.


‘Bitch Tart’ by Tony Spink – Neon Installation £2,450


‘Californication’ by Gareth Griffiths – Bronze and Tulip Wood, £1,800

Whilst minimalism is closely associated with modern homes, a new breed of ‘maximalism’ is also proving popular – think dark walls, heavy textures and rich colour. The below image demonstrates how an abstract work can really ‘pop’ when placed on a dark wall. The textured nature of the artwork mirrors the throw on the bed creating a wonderful balance from floor to ceiling. Here subtlety isn’t the aim, and large scale works can be the key to creating true wow factor against a simple backdrop.


Featured artwork: Truth lies in the Hidden Realms by Suzi Morris, painting, oil on canvas, £28,000

Whatever the style of your home, we believe artwork is an essential ingredient. It’s an extension of you and your personality unlike anything else, and whether you want it to add to your surroundings or be the focal point of a room, we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect piece!