How to choose a painting for the interior?

How to choose a painting for the interior?

How to choose a painting for the interior?


  • Why art in the interior

  • Three basic rules from our expert when choosing a painting

    • 1. Sensitivity and attention

    • 2. Interior VS emotional picture

    • 3. Quantity and size

  • When the picture is out of place

  • From the gallery owner’s personal experience

  • The main secret is the selection of paintings for the interior

  • Hodeys tips: how to choose a painting

Olesya Kunitsa, art critic, founder of the O.ART online gallery

Art makes any interior more meaningful, deep and personal. How to choose a painting depending on the style of the interior? Are there strict rules to follow? Can you handle the task yourself? Olesya Kunitsa, art critic and founder of the O.ART online gallery, shares practical advice.

Why art in the interior

Interior paintings fulfill several important tasks – both aesthetic and functional. As a decor, they decorate and enliven the space, give it individuality, set the mood and atmosphere. In addition to these visual effects, a function plays an important role: the picture is able to cope with both basic elementary tasks (to close some flaw on the wall), and with complex manipulations with space: combine different styles, shift accents, add final touches.

In addition, works of art add status to the interior: experts call investing in a canvas by a famous artist one of the best types of investment.

Interior designed by Malene Birger.  Source:

Three basic rules from our expert when choosing a painting

1. Sensitivity and attention

If you are a designer, gallery owner or art consultant, and a client asked you for help in choosing a picture, you should listen very carefully to his opinion. Your task is to get as much input from the client as possible about the plot, budget, location and size of the hanging. The same approach is applied in the case when a painting is acquired without intermediaries, on its own.

A delicate approach to choosing a painting for the interior.  Source:

2. Interior VS emotional picture

This is followed by a fundamental question: which is more important – the interior or the painting itself? In this regard, there is a life hack: to divide the paintings into two types – interior and emotional. Interior paintings include abstraction, graphics, minimalism or an uncomplicated still life. Everything that easily fits into any interior: sometimes it merges with it or, conversely, emphasizes individual parts, without distracting attention from the overall concept.

An example of an interior painting from the collection of the O.ART gallery

Emotional pictures speak for themselves. As a rule, these are familiar or unusual subjects, for example, an old portrait or a landscape of extraordinary beauty. Such pictures return a person to past emotions and experiences. They will easily fit into ready-made interior spaces, revive a little outdated or boring design and complement an interior that was not originally created using design solutions. In other words, an emotional picture will grab your attention as soon as you walk into the room – if it is really interesting work.

An example of an interior painting, which, as if by default, enters into a harmonious symbiosis with the environment.  Project author: Pyotr Yushin.  Source:

Examples of emotional paintings from the O.ART gallery collection

3. Quantity and size

The next step is to determine how many paintings need to be placed in the selected location. One painting (solo) or a composition of several works (gallery style)? A selection of ready-made completed projects, or the advice of a designer, will help you make a decision.

Solo placement example (from the O.ART gallery collection) and gallery style placement example

It makes sense to associate the size of the picture with the area of ​​the room, as well as with the dimensions of the furniture, which will be in the same field of view with the work. Large vertical canvases should not be placed in spaces with low ceilings – in small spaces it is better to use medium-sized paintings or miniatures. In spacious rooms, on the contrary, large paintings will look more advantageous. They can be arranged in massive frames and baguettes, or left without frames at all.

Compact jobs are more likely to get lost in large spaces.

Diptychs and triptychs look very impressive: two or three paintings from one series, located side by side. They themselves create a complete composition, making it easier for the landlord or decorator.

Triptych by artist Nicola Grellier in the interior.  Source:

When the picture is out of place

Recently, there has been a tendency to use very beautiful, spectacular and charismatic wallpapers in interiors. Looking at the wallpaper designs of the world’s leading factories (WallPepper, Wall & Deco, Designers Guild, Cole & Son), it seems that these are ready-made works of art. In spaces with such wallpaper, pictures will not be entirely appropriate, since the wallpaper here acts as an independent (and sometimes even the main) design decision.

Wallpaper from the Ambiente 2020 collection of the Italian factory WallPepper.  Source:

However, there are a number of exceptions to any rule. Sometimes the combination of bright, contrasting wallpaper with paintings looks extremely impressive and charming. An example of such a magnificent tandem can be seen in the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry boutique in Petrovsky Passage: the French artist Alexander Benjamin Naveh presented a very bright and natural picture there, placing it against the background of an equally bright and colorful wall. You can try to implement a similar solution at home.

Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in Petrovsky Passage.  Source:

From the gallery owner’s personal experience

“I have a beloved client (also a beloved friend) who, like me, is in love with art and has been collecting paintings at home for a long time. With the help of my gallery, its stock has been replenished, and as a result, an impressive collection of works in different styles and techniques has been assembled. We were not afraid of difficulties and found a way to properly integrate the work into the interior – the right framing came to the rescue ”.

“Another case was related to an individual order and a clear task: to choose paintings with a seascape strictly in a classical style. After evaluating the customer’s interior, I dared to suggest several alternative works that are far from the classics. For clarity, I used a special computer program that allows you to “place” images into finished interiors. It turned out to be the right decision: often we keep in our head one idea of ​​a plot or a picture, not knowing that there are alternative and more interesting options. ”

The main secret is the selection of paintings for the interior

The most effective advice when choosing a painting is to listen to yourself and your heart. It is important that the picture is very pleasant, even if it is just an abstraction. After all, from now on it will hang in your home, and you will have to look at it every day.

Interiors designed by Malene Birger.  Source:

Hodeys tips: how to choose a painting

  • Today, there are dozens of ready-made templates for placing paintings on the wall on the network. A complex composition now does not need to be invented on your own – it is enough to choose a suitable scheme and try to comply with its proportions.

The option of placing several paintings on the wall.  Source:

  • The picture is able to support the overall style of the interior. Suprematist works or avant-garde paintings are suitable for interiors in the style of minimalism or mid-century; the classics will complement the classics; you can create a curious eclectic interior with antique Baroque or Rococo paintings.

Paintings in an eclectic interior.  Sources:,

  • If you need to hang several paintings in the apartment, each of which is an independent, characteristic work of art, it is important to place them far from each other: in different rooms or at least in different zones of the same space. Otherwise, the pictures will come into conflict with each other, pulling the attention of the one looking at himself.

Vivid, spectacular paintings require a special place in space.  Source:

  • The selection of a picture for an interior is a creative and exciting activity. If you want to cope with a task on your own, but you have no experience, it’s time to pump your sense of beauty. Look at the projects of designers, study the hangings in the best museums in the world, flip through books and art albums.

Exhibition of old masters from the Hermitage at the Vienna Museum of Art History.  Source:

  • Vertical paintings create the illusion of a high ceiling, horizontal canvases visually expand the space.

Painting of vertical and horizontal format in the interior.  Sources:,

  • An expensive painting is the main character not only in the space where it is located, but also in the interior in general. All furnishings, furnishings and decor must obey and delicately frame an outstanding work of art. Moreover: sometimes not only interior furnishings, but also real estate are selected for an artistic masterpiece.

A painting by Mark Rothko in an apartment on Fifth Avenue.  Source:

  • The basic rule when choosing a color for a painting: it should overlap with the general palette of the interior – be in harmony with it, or, conversely, boldly and effectively contrast. Wallpaper, curtains, furniture upholstery, flooring color – when choosing a painting canvas, it is important to take into account all factors. To find matching shades, you can use Itten’s color wheel. It offers dozens of eye-catching, non-obvious color combinations. Do not be afraid of bright colors and complex combinations. However, if you do not have such experience and observation, you should entrust the selection to a professional decorator.

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About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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