Making a unique statement with art and wall decor

Photo by Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune The fish in this Asian-inspired art piece are made of silk thread.
Photo by Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune
The fish in this Asian-inspired art piece are made of silk thread.
Shoshanah Siegel

Because I am an artist, I know that the key to creating harmonious and wonderful places where we love to spend time is to include artwork in your home and business.
Novelist Jerzy Kosinski once said, “The principals of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” No matter where and what artwork you get or are given, make sure you like it before you hang it. Purchase art that makes you happy or has a special meaning. Unless you love it, never purchase art because it is expensive, an investment, or was done by a prestigious artist. We use art to set a mood. It can uncover feelings of happiness, joy, love, sadness and thoughtfulness. Choosing the right artwork for your home or business adds personality and color to your space. You can use art to bring out your room’s best features or reflect who you are and your interests.
While I respect and encourage owners of certain architectural styles to add décor that is in keeping to that style, adding contemporary art to a traditional scheme can add a great impact to a room. Artwork should be chosen carefully to achieve the right balance and design for your space.

Changing it up
A few years back, when we painted our living room, I had a chance to really look at all the artwork I had on the walls. It gave me a chance to mindfully select the pieces that I really wanted to feature. There may be other reasons why your space may change. These might include inheriting or buying new art pieces, moving, seasonal changes or purchasing new furniture. Maybe the kids have gone off to college, and you want to repurpose the room. It might be as simple as updating and/or creating a different mood, theme and style.

Where to find art
In addition to museums, galleries, local outdoor exhibitions or fairs, there are other venues as well. The Internet is a great way to find a large variety of fine art available worldwide. One advantage of using the Internet is that you can search for the specific kinds of art that you might be interested in, whether it’s photography, bronze sculpture or abstract painting. Be sure to check out local artists and student art shows. The creativity is great, the art is reasonably priced, and you are supporting a budding artist.

The artist within
Maybe you are the budding artist. Some of my clients have taken photos or have created pieces while taking art classes. Most people are very humble about their work and tell themselves that their pieces are not worthy. I have been guilty of that as well. It may not be the Mona Lisa, but it’s your creation. Last year, while working with a client on her new guest room, we determined that a horizontal picture over the bed could also serve as a visual headboard. She had recently taken some photos at the Grand Canyon, and it turned out that the colors were perfect to go with the now earthy colors of the room. We selected one of her digital photos. I cropped it, sized it and had the image printed onto canvas and then framed. I had this done through Costco, but there are many vendors who do this as well. For $99, she had a one-of-a-kind piece of art, with a bonus of it being one of her photos.

Shop at home
I find more times than not that my clients already have some wonderful pieces. The art might be already hanging in another room, not framed to its best advantage, or stored away because they didn’t know where to place it. Art may take on many forms. For interest, it is important to vary the texture, size, and shapes of the pieces in your room. Art for the wall need not be one that is only one-dimensional and flat. I love using shelves and 3D objects. Recently, when I asked my client about any artwork they had, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some beautiful, large weavings from their travels. The best part is that they really loved the pieces but didn’t know what to do with them. I suggest that they mount them inside plexiglass boxes and put them in a prominent place in their home. The question of what color to paint the walls was now inspired by the weavings.

What’s cookin’ with art in the kitchen
Here are some items that can be created by you or purchased. Etsy and Artfire are online sites that feature great items that are often handmade and artsy. On these sites I found some great artwork for the kitchen. There were large cast-iron spoons and forks, as well as large letters made of wood and metal, spelling out words that would be great in a kitchen. These include words like “chow,” “good eats,” “what’s cookin.” Chalkboards are now one of the hot items for the kitchen. They can easily be created by using Ann Sloan or Benjamin Moore’s chalk paints. The paint comes in a variety of colors and can be painted on most surfaces. What a great way to inspire and leave messages. If you love vintage, have fun grouping like items such as “Swedish Jello Molds.” I also love grouping plates on a wall. These can either be mounted directly to the wall or featured in a frame. Actually, any picture that features food, or inspires the goodness of the kitchen and its bounty, would be frame-worthy. It can be as simple as a still-life watercolor of fruit, or, for a more modern look, a silhouette of a fork with type that says, “Fork It.” You can also frame vintage food ads or vintage menus from restaurants. Whatever your décor, traditional or modern, there are many options.

Art for the room where you sleep
Start with the mood you want to create, then determine your décor. Sometimes a favorite bedspread may inspire the color and subject, or vice versa. For example, a distinctive botanical pattern of browns and earth tones in a bedspread can then be paired with framed sepia prints of botanicals. Artwork or pictures are the perfect place to feature a color without making a commitment for an entire room. For continuity, be sure to include that splash of color in other accessories such as quilts, pillows, rugs or lampshades. Bedrooms are a great place for family pictures. Look for ways to crop photos so that they create interest. Try converting them to black and white. One of the biggest trends is decals. To view some of these, just type into your browser the words “decal artwork.” You will be amazed at the options and the variety.

Enhance your living and family spaces

Unless it is a very large picture, grouping items on a wall creates interest and cohesiveness. Once again, the sky is the limit. Create the mood you would like by selecting items by subject, color or texture. In my next article, I will write more about grouping and sizing. Some of my favorite places to get great deals are Cost Plus, Ross Dress for Less, Home Goods, Ikea and antique and consignment stores, as well as yard sales. Online, check out or for great items sold at a discount.

You spend a lot of time in this room, so make it inviting
What better place to put a unique mirror than in the bathroom. Mirrors reflect light and add a touch of bling. Truth be told, I put mirrors in almost every room. Check out Pottery Barn, Ikea, Home Goods and Cost Plus for unique and awesome finds. Depending on the style of your room, look for pictures and items that enhance the feel and theme. I suggest typing the words “wall décor for your bathroom” into your search engine. You will find endless items that can be viewed and ordered online and in various stores.

What to hang on one’s wall is only limited by the imagination. The possibilities are endless.
In my next article, I will give you ideas on what art matches the wall’s shape, framing, lighting and grouping. I will also give you tips on where and how to mount your art. Until then, happy hunting and, most of all, make it fun and enjoy the process.

Shoshanah Siegel provides color consulting as well as space planning, remodeling, upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be contacted at (562) 427-0440, shoshanah.siegel, . Also, check out her ideabooks and portfolio at: .