What should you consider when selecting a photo print for your home? Are those elements different if the piece is for an office? How important is the frame choice? And how do you know which frame is right for the image?
I spend my days thinking about various design principles to create the right balance in an interior. Part of my job is understanding how to select the right wall adornment for a space, and how to create that space in in the first place. There’s so much out there to choose from, so even once you’ve nailed down a photo you love, there are still more questions, and more decisions.
Here are my tips for choosing the right print for your home or office, and what to do once you get it there.
1. Choose something that you feel an emotional connection to – something you can’t stop thinking about once you’ve seen it.
This rule applies whether it’s for the home or the office.
Artwork, especially photography and prints, is particularly meaningful if it holds sentimental value. Pieces could be purchased on your travels or from galleries after seeing an exhibition you loved, or they could remind you of a great holiday. I’ve often added to my collection while travelling – most recently I bought two figurative sketches from Musee Rodin in Paris.
Be patient and open minded. If you feel your eye won’t tire of it in a decade, go for it.
Like furniture, photography and other works for your wall should be collected over years. This will make your collection more authentic, layered and in time, sentimental.
2. Think about the space and how the piece will work with your decor and other objects.
In a master bedroom, for example, I prefer something neutral, which is easy to wake up and unwind with. Earthy and moody tones tend to bode well in the boudoir. You could also opt for an understated, tonal palette, or cleverly contrast the tones of a print with those of your furniture or bed linen.
Powder rooms and stairwells provide an opportunity to be a little more adventurous. As you only have a fleeting moment to enjoy it, prints in these spaces can be a little more intense in colour or subject.
In an office, a print should reflect the spirit of the company. It may need to be energising and aspirational or it may need to evoke a sense of calm and reflection. Pieces that reference travel or nature often work well in workspaces.
3. Carefully consider your frame choice.
Frame selection is essential in setting the tone of your print. A dark, fine frame can sharpen a print, especially complementing a monochrome or architectural work. In contrast a blonde timber frame can be used to soften and mellow. To enhance small-scale works, consider a large shadow box frame. By having a large shadow box around the print you’re creating more negative space, which in turn makes the print stand out more.
4. Once you get it home, think carefully about placement.
Photographic works can get damaged from exposure to sunlight, so take this into consideration before you hang your print.
When hanging your piece, experiment with unexpected arrangements. For example, try a large photographic print next to a small textured painting.
5. If you’re looking at purchasing a limited edition print, or photograph that holds value, ensure that you do you your research ahead of buying.
Consider the secondary market to make these purchases. Auction house Leonard Joel, for example, has a quarterly auction dedicated to specialty prints and multiples. You can pick up a significant piece at a great price and you get the thrill of buying at auction.
If you’re going down this path, art advisors can assist in both the due diligence and the purchase of the piece, which can all be quite overwhelming. My preferred consultants are Five Fifty Art Advisory and Creative Chase.
6. If you can’t yet afford a print, postcards or gift cards can be a charming and inexpensive option with the right choice of frame.
I have a great collection purchased from the Serpentine Gallery as they made my walls happy whilst living in London on a budget. My Yayoi Kasama cards from a gallery gift store are also favourites.
Thinking of buying a print for someone – or yourself – for Christmas? Order your Broadsheet Edition by midnight on December 8 for guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. Gift cards are also available.