Artwork is incredibly personal. Pieces that resonate with us often do so for reasons we can’t quite articulate. Whether it is a lithograph, painting, etching or drawing, artwork generates an instant, emotional or visceral response.
That is the beauty of artwork - it doesn’t have to be functional in the way other design elements in our homes do. It doesn’t have to be durable like furntiure or upholstery fabrics. It doesn’t have to pull or draw, or hold up to the sun like window treatmetnts do. It doesn’t have to be wipeable or scrubbable like tile or countertops. It just has to be beautiful and meaningful to its owner.
Once we find these meaningful pieces to add to our homes, often they are tucked in corners or in hallways or above fireplaces. And, we, typically, don’t think much about them again.
When I was a young designer, I visited a home that had picture lights on paintings in each room. Coming from a modest home, where we moved often and didn’t have any meaningful art to speak of, this really caught my eye. It was absolutely magical, and the genius of it, from a design standpoint, was easy to understand. When we light something, our attention is instantly drawn to it. Artistic creations are often layered with colors, textures and graphic elements. When we light those elements and draw attention to them, we instantly make them a bigger design “player” in the space.
When we create furniture groupings for rooms we design, lamps typically reside on end tables, console tables or tucked in as floor lamps next to a comfortable lounge chair. When we extend the lighting of a space with picture lights, suddenly we are lighting corners, lighting areas further up the walls, or creating a rhythm of light down a long previously uninteresting corridor. By lighting these areas that are not typically illuminated, we can instantly visually “expand” a space, by drawing our attention into the farthest reaches of a room. When we light things beyond a central furniture grouping, we are adding a bonus layer of texture and interest that elevates a space.
Not sure where to start finding the perfect artwork, or how to pair it with picture lights?