For most collectors, the love of fine art is big; but for many, the space available for display can be small. As such, York Fine Arts offers some guidance for making the most of your fine art collection within the confines of small spaces.
Think about the intention of the space. When you don’t have much area to work with, thinking ahead about how you want to use or feel in a space is paramount. It is also important to remember that what works for one small space can be totally wrong for another, simply for the reason that the spaces serve completely different purposes. For example, while in a social or working space a gallery wall could create an inspiring, ecclectic feel, in a space intended for relaxation, it could be distracting and actually make a space feel smaller.
Displaying your fine art collection in a way that satisfies your style yet also suits your space is certainly a balance. But by thinking about your intention for a space beforehand, your fine art collection can serve your purposes in even the smallest of spaces. Here are a few ideas to get started:
In a living or dining area, let a large statement painting or print take centre stage. The understated simplicity will lend itself to a relaxed mood, and the piece itself could very likely be a conversation-starter in these social spaces.
Energise and inspire a home office or workspace with a gallery wall of paintings, framed prints or a mixture of both.
Use watercolours, engravings, linocuts or other detailed paintings in small spaces such as hallways, as these often look their best when viewed up-close.
Buy Big. While first instinct may be to pick smaller pieces for a small space, ironically enough, large artwork can actually make a space feel bigger. A single statement piece that absorbs a space creates long, clean lines that elongate and give the illusion of more space. Large, portrait-orientation paintings or prints can also accentuate high ceilings (or help make shorter ceilings appear taller) by drawing the eye upwards.
Utilise the furniture. The available space to display your fine art collection dramatically increases when you take into account the various pieces of furniture throughout your home. Bookcases, shelving units, sideboards and the like are all perfect platforms on which to display sculpture; and with the help of miniature easels or picture stands, small paintings and prints can also look effortlessly at home. Open shelving room dividers are particularly well-suited for displaying sculpture, as they allow a sculpture to be admired from various angles, as well as draw the eye through the space and provide a sense of continuity.
Consider frame choices. Much like choosing to paint a wall and woodwork similar tones, a more seamless blend between wall and frame will make the two work together and give the illusion of more space. If you love an artwork but worry the frame might be too harsh of a contrast with the rest of the space, ask what other framing options might be available.
Break the rules. Ultimately, the size of your space shouldn’t dictate what fine art you choose to collect or how you choose to display it. Even the smallest of spaces is a reflection of your own style and taste, so don’t be afraid to go against decorating ‘rules’ or advice.