"Oh my gosh I LOVE THOSE BLUES!! I feel so good when I see your art!" These gushing words came from a zoom meeting attendee. The piece she was looking at over my shoulder hung over my couch and was a powerful piece in green and blue of the inside of a wave curling over.
Yeah, I love it, too. That piece had been hanging there for the past two years, but she hadn't seen it before because I had my laptop camera pointing elsewhere.
This got me thinking about art and where to put it.
First: Get Art
Classic Design rules – and all great interior designers from Ethan Allen to @BobbyBerk – state that first of all great design includes art!
And we mean real art. Art isn't meant to "match the couch" and sit quietly on the wall. It should reach out and touch your heart and give you a little "zing" every time you see it.
Original is best because it has an energy, power, and life of its own that can do WONDERS for even the most basic of beige rooms. Even if your budget says "squeak" you can get prints of original pieces.
Now that you have some pieces, it might sound obvious, but you want to put your art where people can see it.
Revolutionary, I know. Well what does that mean, exactly?
Classic Design Rules
Again let's look at classic design rules.
Unless you're doing a gallery wall (a wall intentionally covered from high to low in a bunch of different pieces) classic design says hang that art at "eye level." That's code for 60" (152.4 cm) which is the eye level of the average American woman.
That's cool if that's who you and your peeps are. But we're betting a lot of you aren't as classic as that.
Know Your Audience
We gotta know who the "people" that are going to be seeing our art are.
My family is above average in the height department. We come in at about 6 feet tall so eye height for us is about 67”.
Of course we have guests of varying heights popping by all the time (I think they're in it for the baked goods) and we want them to enjoy the artwork, too. We handle that by hanging artwork about 6” higher than the rules.
Does this work? It does indeed. We get to see the pieces that we love and feel like our home is really about us.
One day I had a much shorter friend over who said “I love that you hang your art higher than most people do! I feel like I can really see it!” It wasn't so high that she had to crane her to see it.
If someone in your home or a frequent guest is in a wheelchair adjust a few of their favorite pieces or use longer pieces that are more vertical. The eye level for wheelchair seated people is 43-51”
When decorating a public space remember to vary the height of pieces. Assume that someone in a wheelchair will use the space. Hang some pieces for their delight.
Change with Changes
That’s great for my home right now but we know that life never stays the same for long. Adjust for your household as it changes.
When my kids were younger, for example, I placed some fun art at whatever their eye level was. (It changed yearly because they were always growing.)
I also made art bigger and more colorful. I did murals on the base of the walls and let them help, too.
That was appropriate art for that time.
Now my art at home reflects my love of blues, greens, golds, and the ocean and it's up high where I can enjoy it.
Also adjust as you grow. As your tastes evolve, you discover new artists, travel to new places, and as your household changes you'll add art to your life.
Adjust for the Room
I also hang art a bit differently based on the room.
For hallways, I tend to hang a bit higher.
In the bedrooms I hang art lower since I am always viewing the pieces from bed. The piece I have of the beach surf greets me as I awaken and the gold catches the light. It's a delightful way to start the day even when I can't see the Pacific from my place.
The dining room hosts seated dinners so I have a very large piece in there (we're talking 48" high and 60" wide) that catches the eye from both a seated and standing position.
Art is about YOUR JOY!
Showing your house some love by putting artwork in every room is a fast and easy way to bring color, light, and something close to your heart on the wall.
Whether you’re in a rented apartment or house you own, art makes the place yours, and delights your eyes and mind.
Having spent the past few years staring at people's offices, bedrooms, nooks, living rooms, and cars through their zoom, I can tell you that there is a serious shortage of art on American walls.
Get some art going and get it out there for people to see! Hang it the way you and yours can really see and enjoy it.
Leave me a note to let me know your greatest challenges in hanging art. I love to hear from you!
Sleep...it's so beautiful and delicious, isn't it? From new parents to busy teens to those recovering from COVID-19 to essential workers and healthcare heroes not to mention the everyday superheroes juggling life, family, work, and the pandemic, every single person is on the search for improving their chances of getting a good night's sleep every single night. In the constant quest to have beauty and function intersect there's a trend of painting bedroom walls BLACK to create that cozy cave.
Black absorbs light and can give you that snuggled in bear feeling, but in the interest of beauty and avoiding a depressive feeling, especially in winter, you definitely need to add other elements to the room. So how do you decorate a black bedroom?
1) Add COLOR
In a white walled bedroom you can afford austere undecorated or minimally decorated walls. There's so much light available and reflected, that it's not always necessary to add anything to bring in light and entertain the eye.
Not so in a black walled bedroom.
You will ALWAYS need to add color to black bedroom walls to avoid the dungeon look and the feel of heaviness. Even if you have high ceilings and a loft space with incredible skylights, the walls will need help.
You can opt for neutrals in your paintings if you'd like to keep things simple, but this black walled bedroom is the most amazing opportunity to come in with bright, bold colors on canvas. No framing necessary (though I never think frames are needed on a canvas) makes it even simpler to decorate.
2) Add TEXTURE
Some people might choose to add texture to the walls themselves by adding some wood and creating patterns on the walls before painting them dark.
And yes of course you'll be putting accent texture all over the place this with your throw blankets, throw pillows, and fabric on chairs and window coverings but don't miss out on the best place to add texture: paintings!
Yes, art can have LOTS of texture and it's practically edible when they do. You can have a fabric artwork/sculpture, but many people don't love that retro look enough to go that route.
There are also those who don't like a lot of fabric (or pillows) or may not be able to add a chair or window covering.
Rely on that original artwork to add depth to the situation. (Here's a moment where you don't want to use a print for a centerpiece because there won't be any texture to it. See previous post here on using prints and originals to decorate.)
I love to add a lot of texture to my paintings both with heavy paint and with a layer of texture underneath.
3) Add LIGHT
Yes the whole point of painting the walls dark is that you want to create a cozy little hibernation situation, but there are still plenty of times you will want some brilliance in the bedroom, especially in the winter.
Aside from the overhead lights (that many apartments or older homes do not have) and bedside lamps you may need some corner stand lamps. But light can come from more than a lighting fixture! Use light catching items to make the glow go further. Think mirrors and metallics used sparingly.
I love using metallic paints - especially gold - in my paintings so that they catch the light and add more to the piece. I absolutely smile to see the way the paint can catch a subtle winter sunrise light and expand that little glow as I am gently coming into my day.
Carefully chosen Art is the Perfect Solution!
So there you have it, the top three things you need to know about decorating a black walled bedroom. The great news is that ALL of these top moments can be addressed by choosing the right piece of original art!
If you need help choosing the right size, color, or piece please reach out in the comments or the contact us page and let us know! We'd love to help you decorate your home to easily and beautifully reflect your true and gorgeous self!
It can be overwhelming to try to figure out how to decorate your home so that it feels beautiful and relaxing, like an oasis, when you are just starting out. A lot of people tell me they can't decorate because they don't "know about art" or know "about color." Woah! Take it easy! You don't actually need to have a degree in interior design in order to make your place beautiful beyond your dreams and reflecting who you truly are. You just need to know and trust yourself and your heart.
Interior Designers are Great
We LOVE our friends who are interior designers. They have mad skills and we just can't get enough of how they make stunning choices with color, texture, and shapes. There are wonderful designers out there and we're all about hiring them and using their expertise. AND...we know that there are a lot of times when we can't work with an expert.
There are some great blogs, videos, and shows with all kinds of tips and tricks from the designers that you can do for your studios, apartments, houses, and vacation homes. From DIY floor painting projects to some simple shopping there are many things you can do to add some WOW to your rooms.
You don't have to know all about design, but you DO need to know all about yourself, or at least know what you like. Start simple: start with what what makes you feel good. Not what others say is pretty, nice, cool, or interesting, but what YOU like. (We have some great tips in our blog post here if you're decorating as a couple.) Don't make it complicated, but what makes you happy in a simple way inside.
Don't be scared! Choose colors that make you feel lighter and happy. Also choose colors that complement you, your skin, your eyes, your hair. If you are afraid to paint walls, can't paint them for one reason or another, or choosing colors feels overwhelming don't worry. Art to the rescue!
Art Is The Solution
One strong piece of art in a room can create energy, a focal point, a good feeling to share with others, and – very importantly – a connection to yourself. It can override a lot of shortcomings in a room, especially things that are beyond your control, true but it lets you know every time you see it that this is YOUR place and it's of you.
You are from Spirit, your core self, your true you is from the Universe, from God, from Mother Nature. Decorating with you and your love at the heart of it all is a way to honor Spirit.
If you like to keep it natural, choose a large piece of art with an horizon or a view that you love, or an abstract piece that helps you feel good.
If you want a more urban vibe or just want things to feel a little more flowing/nebulous go for abstracts that can be different every time you look at them, but that always feel good.
It's That Simple!
A piece of art in every room (see this post for when to use original and when to use prints) is a simple, fast way to make your home glow with you and who you are. No skills or degree needed!
Let me know what your favorite colors are! I'd love to hear from you.
A while back I was visiting the beautiful mountains of Colorado and wanted to bring back some gifts for friends. I needed them to be relatively small so they could fit inside my suitcase but I wanted to share the joy and beauty and LOVE that I was feeling in the mountains.
I went to five different stores and found lots of lightweight things to bring back but my heart sank looking at them. They were kitschy, not in a cool way, and had just about nothing to do with the real Colorado. But worst of all to me, they were all Made in China. Nothing could be less Colorado than that!
I realized that people faced the same dilemma when visiting my beautiful home of Santa Monica. You've come to Los Angeles and seen iconic beaches and piers. You've taken in the breathtaking beauty of the bay. You want to share the golden sunlight and feeling of the waves. You want to give a little SoCal to the people you love. You go into the shops and find...Made in China. Ugh.
We can do better than that!
Art doesn't have to be fancy, but it's always best if it touches your heart and that's what gifts are all about.
I pride myself on making pieces of what can seem fairly everyday and easy to take for granted. Iconic horizons and visions of the beauty surrounding this gorgeous area. I create paintings that carry love, meditation, prayer, and energy in them.
The best thing is that these are all available to order as little prints that you can share with people you love. Order several of one print that is close to your heart, or mix it up.
Great news! The prints are also made in the U.S. so you are giving someone a taste of what you visited: an American beauty.
Even if your decor is "#coastal," "#lakehouse," "#beachy," "#patriotic," " #campcabin" or "#summer," and not #surf or #socal these can still make the perfect gifts and souvenirs for you!
It can be overwhelming to try to figure out how to buy art online when you are just a homeowner starting on a decorating journey. You may be thinking "I don't know anything about art! How do I know I'm going to pick the right piece that reflects me? What if I don't like it?" Hold on...stop the stress and don't worry! It's easier and safer than you think to invest in original art online! Here are the top five tricks to making buying art fun and simple and turning your home into a beautiful place that feels good and others will be awed by.
You don't need to "know about art"
I hear this ALL the time from people, "I don't know anything about art." As if "art" can't be owned 'til it's understood. Says who?! (Imagine if we felt this way about computers or smart phones! We'd still be back in the 80's and not in a good way.) I tell people every day "sure you do...you know what you like." The main - and only - requirement for getting art "right" is if it's right for you. That comes down to one main question: do you like the way it makes you feel? Art speaks to you. That's the flat out truth and it's why we like it. I write a whole blog post about this, but here's the quick version: only hang art that makes you feel a little better having seen it. Of course we want those colors to flow easily in your home (see this post on choosing colors for couples) but other than that, go by your intuition and emotion. Feel your way.
Pick one large piece per wall
Yes there are some really fun things you can do with small pieces lined up or clustered. When it comes to larger pieces, though, don't try to turn your home into a museum, just use one large piece per wall unless you have an exceptionally large wallspace to fill. The art becomes a focal point of energy, just like a window, and you don't want it to have to compete for attention. That can leave the viewer feeling tired or overwhelmed instead of peaceful. That's not what we want! You can hang art with beautiful results over a fireplace or television, and if you have a large wall with windows on either side the art can have pride of place.
If you fall in love with a piece that is smaller but you have a big space to fill, there are ways to make it work. Check this post out here.
See where else the Artist is available
Artist's rarely offer returns or refunds because original art runs a high risk of damage every time it is shipped or even leaves a studio or home. However, most artists would rather sell to you directly so they can make sure you're getting the piece you love and to avoid the middleman. If you're too anxious about buying directly from the artist, however, there are sites like Saatchiart that you can purchase from which offer you more purchase guarantees. Saatchi is a large company can offer protections that individual artists simply can't afford to.
Use the Pay Over Time feature
One concern people have about buying artwork is that it's an investment. It can feel scary or hard to invest a few thousand dollars all at once. Pay over time helps make it simple and affordable. If you don't like to use credit cards or don't currently have sufficient credit to get a card or the credit limit you want, there are ways to pay over time for a larger purchase like original art. Affirm is a service that offers you the ability to pay for an original artwork over a series of payments with prearranged amounts for each payment. All of the pieces on my site LauraKowalski.com are available with Affirm.
ASK the Artist for help
Whether it's just to talk to the artist before making the investment or to answer clarifying questions, artists enjoy helping people access their art. I know I LOVE helping people find the right piece of art for their home or office. As the creator of all the artwork, I know what work is available – including some that may not be listed on the site – and what might work in your space very easily. When I create a piece I see how it can look in a home in my mind. As a visitor it's not always easy to tell about an artwork from the site. I'm happy to help make recommendations, clarify colors, and even help you make multiple piece purchases for a discount (three pieces or more). Also, custom pieces are far more affordable and easy than you might think. Simply reach out and we can have a video chat to connect and dissolve any of your stress.
It actually is that simple
It's just that easy. Gone are the days of having to be well-connected, hold an art degree, and live in a major city to invest in artwork. Now simply knowing what you like and being willing to reach out to artists, we can all have beautiful original art with some easy steps all designed to help get the home you love.
Soon others will say to you "hey, could you help me buy art online? I'd love my home to feel as good as yours does.”
What's harder than creating beautiful design for your home? Decorating for a home that you share with someone else! From disagreements about colors, to style differences, to using the rooms in different ways, home decor can be a challenge, especially if you're both working from home or you're in a small space. Don't worry there IS a solution! Even if you're in an apartment home or renting a room, you don't have to settle for a boring space that doesn't truly reflect who you are. Keep reading to find out the top three ways you can easily decorate for two different people and still love your home.
Use Neutral on Walls
Over 70% of men prefer neutral colors in home decor and 70% of women prefer color. Guess what? No matter what camp you fall into everyone can win in this situation. Choose light neutral colors for the walls that have a slightly warm tint to them. This lets you have an organic but bright background. When you choose a white, go for one that has more pink or brown rather than green or blue in it. (NO hospital whites here!) It will be softer when lights hit it and be easier on the eyes. It will let you use the room for reading, work, play, cooking, sleep, sex, or whatever you want to do. Bonus is that if you are renting a space or living in room in a shared house, a gentle white on the walls will be easy to negotiate.
Use BLUES in your accents
Over 60% of men have some level of color blindness. That means that reds and greens are not going to work well for them, and also why many tend towards grays in decorating. While I have a lot of love for every color of the rainbow, I can say that blues top the list especially in decorating because they are SO versatile. Blues are universally appealing. Because it's an organic color, and indicate water - an essential element to life - blues please our eyes. Shades of blue look good on everyone no matter how light or dark their skin tone, so you can have a home that looks as good ON you as it looks TO you. You can layer a variety of shades of blue together to add depth and interest and find blues each person loves. Blues can also be calming (for bedrooms), soothing (for bathrooms), yet pleasant, energizing, and open for living areas. It's a perfect default color for everyone!
Use ART as a centerpiece
When you are adding blue to your space think fabric (sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, rugs), glass (dishware, glasses and especially vases), and ART. Let the artwork be a centerpiece and a fast, easy, simple way to change the energy of a whole room and pull it together by keeping the focus on beauty. Choosing artwork of organic beauty - like the ocean or beach - is something everyone can agree on. In the living area a piece of art showing inside a wave or beach activity will bring energy and light. In the bedroom an artwork with calm seas or a view of the horizon helps create a peaceful focus. Avoid using cookie cutter prints that have no soul to them. You, your home, and your partner deserve a beautiful place the reflects who you really are.
Remember to have fun and enjoy!
Have a piece of art in mind you would like to have created especially for you? Let me know what you are imagining!
When it comes to a larger wall space most people think they have to fill the space with a large artwork. They spend hours and hours searching for a piece based on size and bypass art they prefer to look at and really speaks to their heart because it's too small. Big mistake!
Small Can be Made Big
While many people think of paintings on canvas as something to hang "raw" (meaning without a frame) this is not an absolute. Remember one of the great things about art is that there are no rules! Paintings on canvas can not only be framed but matted and framed like a work done on paper. And there is the secret to making small be as big as you like. A mat (the wide, flat cardboard edge between the wooden or metal outer frame) can be as big as you like it to be. Using a wide frame and a wide mat can make a small piece go from 10x12 inches to 30x36 or more.
Add Drama to Your Art
Not only do mats and frames add size to your favorite art, they add controlled drama. They can capture the eye with bigger overall size, and then pull it in to focus on the smaller piece or art itself.
Instead of the drama of large art with big colors which might overpower your space or simply not be the energy you want in a articular room, matting and framing a painting can allow you to have strong colors that are highlighted and featured instead of simply dominating a room.
And mats and frames can add texture variety to a piece as well, adding in another dimension and building on the art itself without detracting from it.
Remember it's About Love
The most important thing about the art you choose for your space is how it makes you feel. You want art with energy that matches your vision for the room and matches who you are deep inside.
Art is an ancient language that speaks to you and stays in your heart and mind, so don't let size dictate what you bring into your life and share with others. Find your perfect piece and make it shine in the space you choose.
For help with this or other ways to showcase art, feel free to contact Laura!
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