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Enhance your living room with a painting: an easy guide!

April Kennedy April Kennedy
Modern living room by Taller Estilo Arquitectura Modern
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The brushstrokes, personality and artistry of a well-chosen painting offer the home decorator one of the more playful ways to enhance a living room decor.

We spend such a large amount of time in our living rooms that bold experiments or colours can be a little overwhelming on a daily basis. So we tend to choose more subdued furnishings than we might prefer. But somehow, containing these preferences within the context or space of a painting allows us to explore a look, experiment or a bold bolt of colour that we might be otherwise too afraid to implement. For those who simply love traditional artworks, an older style painting might be just the thing to lift a living room to another level of sophistication and distinction.

Keep reading for 6 tips for choosing the perfect painting for your living room.

Style and theme

This bold, colourful living room by Arquitectura en Proceso is the perfect example of how a well-chosen painting can unify the style and theme of a space. The quirky, curvy couches, bright walls and contrasting wooden floor are bright and contemporary. Similarly, the painting is abstract and contains a multitude of similar lines and shapes that reflect the mood. Whatever the style you choose, colours, lines and corresponding styles should reflect the living room decor.

Harmonizing the colours of the room

The soft pastel blues and pinks here are perfectly reflected in the quirky gouache painting in the background. While the colours are quite closely aligned, it's not always necessary to have the colours be an exact match. In fact, it might be a little too much for some rooms. It's best to choose a recurring detail in the painting that reflects one of the secondary colours accents to avoid an overbearing effect. 

Interior lighting

Dedicated lighting is a must if you want the painting to have real impact. A spotlight or accent light will also add another texture in your lighting scheme. Just think of how dramatic a spotlight or gentle accent light will look at night when the ceiling lights are turned down!

Aside from the importance of evenness in light, there are no real rules to follow in the home. Just play around with different strengths of lights, wall mounts, ceiling fixtures and side lamps to see what works best.

Space Optimization

As with any other element in the living room, a painting has the potential to expand our sense of the space or diminish it. Consider the positive and negative aspects of the room and how the painting may affect it.

Heavy, dark artworks are like dark furniture in that they tend to suck in the light and are best avoided in living rooms with scarce natural light. While it's generally recommended to give a painting room to breathe by leaving lots of space around it, something of lighter tones like this can fill most of the living room wall without being overbearing.

Framing options

The decision to frame or not to frame is often a subjective choice. But there are a few practical considerations to consider. If the painting is quite valuable, a glass frame will provide a protective layer against moisture. But it's best to choose a non-reflective glass to avoid glare. Oil paintings are quite sturdy and some prefer the look of the raw edges of an unframed work. If your painting isn't integrated with the rest of the decor as much as you'd like, a frame of a suitable style will be a great addition. 

Visual balance

Visual balance is a tricky thing for the uninitiated. It's all about combining elements to achieve a kind of stasis or equal weight in a room. This doesn't always mean that everything needs to be the exact same size. In fact, a small painting with lots of vibrant colour like this one could easily work on a larger wall space. 

For our final tip, we come to the most important aspect of creating visual balance. This is, choosing the right height for the painting. It's said that most people hang their paintings a little too high. The general rule is to find the dead centre of the painting and hang it, so that this spot hits the wall at exactly 57 inches above ground level. 

If you're interested in living room décors, have a look at this Ideabook: Decorate with nature: 6 decor ideas

How do you think artworks enhance the decor of a living room? We'd love to hear in the comments below!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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