How to choose art for your home – curate a collection of beautiful artwork

Displaying favourite pieces of art can add a uniquely personal touch to an interior.

Do you know how to choose art for your home? When it comes to designing interiors and outdoor spaces too often artwork is treated as an afterthought. When chosen thoughtfully, art has the ability to transform a space and infuse it with personality. From minimalist contemporary sculpture to traditional Old Masters, Opera Gallery’s matchmaking service offers buyers a bespoke service to help them find the perfect fit for their homes and gardens.

Opera Gallery takes into consideration the wall space, function of the room and colour scheme as well as individual tastes when helping clients to find the perfect piece of art. Opera Gallery represents artists ranging from Andy Warhol, Damian Hirst and Anish Kapoor, through to modern masters including Picasso, Renoir and Chagall.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Brent Darby)


Here Federica Barretta Director of Opera Gallery London talks about how to select an artwork for your home.


Lots of things can transform a room or make it unique – and art is certainly one of them. Collecting art can be considered a lifetime journey and living with it is a thoroughly enriching experience. Over the last few months, with museums and galleries being forced to close due to COVID-19, we have come to realise how crucial personal collections are if you want to experience art in real life, but don’t have access to public artworks. Choosing an artwork for your home gives you the chance to add a new twist to an old space, as well as giving voice to your creativity and personality. And if the choice is supported by an advisor, who can provide useful guidance to make the most of your selection, the experience is all the more enjoyable.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

See:Where to buy art – essential guide to collecting art


Here’s my first tip when choosing a work of art: just fall in love with it. A work of art needs to speak to you, to move you, to make you dream, to inspire you every day – you need to feel it. I have seen many clients fall in love with a work, who then go on to explore other works by different artists, but always come back to their first love (a first love is never forgotten – if it is still available!). I also recommend conducting due diligence duties on an artwork: your advisor needs check that the paperwork, provenance, and dating of the work are immaculate. Everything can be bought online nowadays, including works of art, but the offline shopping experience will always have an additional value, due to the physicality of the object, and the way it can speak to you in the flesh and can shape the surrounding space. That said, if collectors are familiar with the artist and trust the gallery, then acquiring the piece online might prove more practical in some cases, as well as allowing a more thorough comparison of different options.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)


Knowing what overall ambiance you are aiming to achieve in your home helps when creating a bespoke selection, and the relationship between the artwork and its surroundings plays a central role when designing the desired atmosphere. Think about the architectural features of the room you are buying for, from ceiling height to the house’s colour scheme and lighting, when choosing a work of art. The function of the room hosting the artwork is something I always consider. For instance, it is quite common for collectors to display the main pieces of their collections in the living room. Since the birth of the modern home, living rooms are where the family gets together and were guests are entertained, making them the best places to showcase the richness and eclecticism of one’s art collection. For the bedroom, more intimate works are advisable, such as pieces that have a special connection with the couple or the individual sleeping there – perhaps a souvenir from an unforgettable journey, or a gift for a special occasion.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)


What atmosphere do you want to create for your space? Dramatic, neutral or harmonious? The artwork’s palette can either match, contrast or redefine the tones of is surroundings, through endless bespoke combinations that can really make a place unique. If you are not sure about what to choose, I suggest visiting other gallery or museum spaces, to be inspired by the arrangement of their collections.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Damien Russell)

See:Clever ways to display artwork


Firstly, consider the medium of the artwork: is it a painting, photograph, sculpture, or multi-media installation? Depending on the light’s intensity, it is generally recommended to consider glazing both paintings and photographic work with a UV protective and antireflective glass or perspex. Whatever you do, keep the artwork away from natural light, as this can cause the colours to fade over time. If you have a bright room that you want to buy art for, consider prints that are less expensive and less likely to fade. For sculptures, try positioning a few lights around it: shapes and details can be better appreciated from different angles, if the light comes from different sides.

How to choose art

(Image credit: Damien Russell)


I always recommending having artworks framed as they provide essential protection to a work of art. Whether you choose a dominant colour in the artwork to match the frame, or goes for a contrasting colour to let the work to stand out, artworks and frames should always be complementary. A good rule to keep in mind is to hang paintings or photos so that the midpoint is between 1.50cm and 1.60cm from the floor.

How to choose art

(Image credit: David Cleveland)