Home Decor

How to curate your own art collection, by Pippa Jameson

Exotic by Lucy Banaji

Have you checked out our new Artist Collection yet? It’s the first time we’ve offered art prints, bringing you gallery quality art for your own home. Leading interior designer Pippa Jameson selected the contemporary pieces, and a few weeks ago told us why she chose them.

There’s a lot you can do with the Artist Collection. You might want just one piece of art to brighten up a room or be a talking point. But what about putting together a collection? That might seem like a daunting prospect for anyone whose last experience of art was doing terrible sketches of a pot plant in school. Luckily, Pippa is here to offer some reassurance and practical pointers on how to curate your own gallery.

Pippa Jameson with some of the Artist Collection.
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Art that suits your home

“If you are starting completely from scratch and trying to work out what art might work within your home,” says Pippa, “a good starting place is to think about your existing home décor style. What colour are your walls, sofa and home furnishings? Are they bright and bold or softer, more muted shades? This will give you an idea of what might work. This isn’t to say that a contemporary piece won’t work within a traditional home and vice versa.

“Another place to start (rather than colour) might be the genre; whether it’s art deco, contemporary, cubism, figurative or pop art, to name just a few Once you have found some artists that you like, think about the medium that has been used (chalk, ink, paint etc).”

Dalmatian Disco by Holly Frean

What size and shape of frame should you get?

Once you’ve decided on the type of art you’d like, the next step is to work out how the pieces will appear on your walls. One large artwork on a wall draws the eye but if it’s a collection you’re after, you need to decide how to best show off each work to its advantage.

Pippa’s advice is to choose between what she calls a formulaic or eclectic curation. “Eclectic gallery walls look best with a mix of art, frames and sizes,” she says. “I really wouldn’t worry about trying to coordinate the genres or palette of the pieces, but I would recommend having a good mix of frame sizes (with large being no bigger than 80cm x 60cm otherwise it will dominate the space).”

If you opt for a more formulaic wall, she advises to go for an odd number of artworks (3 x 3 or 5 x 3) because, Pippa explains, “the eye reads odds numbers far better than even”. She advises that the frames would need to be exactly the same and equidistant (two inches apart is a good guide). As for what the collection should consist of, she advises that “the art could either be a series of paintings that are part of a collection or pieces that have a similar palette and therefore unified by colour”.

Just So Stories by Joseph Rudyard Kipling

How to hang your art: a practical guide

Being faced with a blank wall and a hammer can be a daunting task. However, Pippa has been here before and has some tips.

“I would strongly recommend arranging the gallery on the floor first so that you can see how it’s working together,” she says. “This way, you can easily swap items around if you feel they are not working next to one another.” And if you use products like specially designed sticky pads rather than nails, you have the option to make changes. “The sticky tabs act like nails but leave absolutely no residue when removed. This means you are able to adjust the picture slightly without making fresh holes in the wall.”

The frame is also an important consideration. “A delicate watercolour may not work in a thick black frame,” says Pippa. “A black and white print may not be right in a shabby chic painted frame.” With our Artist Collection, you can choose between an unframed poster, a thick canvas over a wooden frame or a black frame and off-white mount for your print.

Pippa can also help with ideas of where to hang your collection. She suggests “focal points such as above a fireplace, sofa or sideboard; areas that bridge the gap between rooms (such as going up the stairs) and unassuming or otherwise boring spaces – cloakrooms and porches are good examples”.

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Pippa selected pieces for the Artist Collection from a selection at the Bridgeman Images library.