How to Buy Art for Your Room #1: Color

Room Challenge #1

On first look, this room seems easy to find art for. With so many neutral colors, we could go in any direction. So perhaps that is the challenge - too many choices leads to art paralysis.  There's so much great art out there it gets really confusing.  Where to start?  Let's start with your room because that's how we roll here at Drizl.

For this room, full of warm neutral colors, you can add bold and saturated colors, muted colors, earth tones, or more neutrals.  All are good choices but each will create a very different feeling for the room.  Let's take a look at how these will look and at the end, you should have an opinion on what you would choose for this space; at least in regards to color.



Bright, bold colors gives life to any room and makes the room come alive with personality.  People are sometimes afraid of color (think about how you dress) and yet in your home is  a perfect place to express your love of color.  Saturated colors add lots of energy to room and usually make people pretty darn happy.  If you like to have friends over and enjoy loud, opinionated conversations, and lots of laughter, you can count on bold paintings to facilitate this. Remember, it's not about what is the "right" or best choice, it's about how you will use the room and the message you want to express.  

DO NOT BE AFRAID OF BRIGHT ART!  Pick colors you love and that you think you will enjoy seeing every day.  Think about the bright red sofa that looked awesome in the store but is a super scary choice.  Instead, buy colorful artwork to get your color fix.

About this art:  I think Annie Meyers' works, like the one here, are bright and playful but still bring a sophisticated look, like a Rothko.  




Again, set aside any opinions about the painting and think about how it changes the feeling of this room.  Because the colors are less saturated, it has a more calming effect overall.  The colors are still beautiful, but more understated.  Why does this matter?  It matters since this is an expression on how the room will be used.  What is the energy level you want to convey?  Is this a place to have intimate conversations or sit and read a book?  Then, using calming, less bold colors is perfect.  

About this art:  This is a beautiful piece by Portland artist Candace Primack.  I think this work makes the room look complete.  The muted colors are juxtaposed with strong blocks of dark color so that it adds interest and breaks up what might otherwise become monotonous.  


Since there are a lot of taupe and browns in this room already, something with darker, earthier, jewel-like tones could work great here.  Ideally art can help pick up and enhance small details in the room.  For example, the two vases with tree branches are echoed in the painting, both by subject and color.  The brain may not necessarily make note of this, but the eye travels more freely around the room if it has places to connect the dots.  

The artwork:  Super sophisticated and fabulous art by Stephanie Weber out of Berkeley.  These are actually painted on a metal surface so are changeable depending on the light that hits them.  The use of color is beautiful and will never go out of style.


Here's another approach.  A neutral painting with just a touch of color (red here).  This is a very modern look that says "Hey, I'm an art collector".   This painting is a big, bold, and strong statement.  It pretty much takes over the room which is not in any way a bad thing.  For example, if you do have an older sofa that isn't really as modern-looking as you'd like, use this artwork to make the room look more modern and keep your comfy couch.

And if you do really want that bright red couch, this painting by the same artist is a great example of using a neutral colored painting to balance a brightly colored room. (see below)


In summary, all of these paintings work for this space.  But they have a unique influence on how the room will feel. Take a moment, sit in your room and think about how you use the room and what you'd like to express:  do you want fun and bright (energy), muted and soft (calm), earthy and jewel-toned (strong), or neutral and bold (powerful).  This is the first step to finding the perfect art for your room!

I'd love to hear your experiences of using artwork to underscore how a room will be used, and especially using color to enhance the emotion or feeling you want to express in a room.    Coming soon is help on where to put artwork - key places - and how to choose the right size for these places.


Patricia is CEO & Cofounder of Contact her at

You May Also Like