One of the things about being a designer is that I’m always rearranging, tweaking and changing up the look of a space…trying to find new ways to make the space feel more personal and lively. Though pillows, rugs or a new coat of paint can definitely change the vibe of the room, art can be even more impactful. Art plays a supporting role and a room isn’t complete without it.

You can opt for big, bold and colorful pieces that immediately catch your eye. You can choose something in more neutral tones or that may be more abstract in nature that makes you stop and pause for a moment. Whether it’s a piece from your favorite artist, something you picked up while traveling or a collection of similarly themed artworks, displaying art in your home is such a fabulous way to liven up your space.

Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is a great way to add interest to a blank wall. This design works best with a unified color palette in coordinating shades, or the ever-classic black and white. This keeps the focus on the images themselves. The number of images and how they are arranged on the wall are what make the display interesting. We love how our clients use their own photos to create this personalized Instagram gallery wall in their home.

How to use art to liven up a space

How to use art to liven up a space

Mid-Century Eclectic Artist Home via Emily Henderson

But don’t be afraid to change it up! A mixture of colors, sizes, and shapes of different frames in this fun grouping add depth, layers, and interest to the space. This is a wonderful way to make the colors of your furniture or pillows pop and it helps to pull everything together.

Black + White 

To have your artwork make a big impact, paint your walls a deep color, such as black. It adds drama to any space. Select artwork in white, yellow or gold for an intense graphic contrast. These tones will pop against the stark black. The art draws the eye in and becomes the statement of the room.

How to use art to liven up a space

There are times when you might not want your artwork to take center stage in a room. For a more subtle statement, use tones of the same colors on the wall and in the frames. The similar color palette makes the frames appear to blend in with the wall. This collection of black and white pieces looks so elegant on a inky black wall.

How to use art to liven up a space

Art ties the room together

Art is the ultimate finishing touch to a room. When selecting art to liven up a space, look for a similar color palette. This will pull in colors from the fabrics and the furnishings within the room and make the artwork feel more prominent.

How to use art to liven up a space

The neural tones within this dining room are consistent within the colors in the abstract cityscape of the artwork. The movement of the brown lines within the art flows out to the dining side chairs and table, creating one harmonious design.

How to use art to liven up a space

In this living room, we selected pieces that were chic and sophisticated to compliment the elegant textures and warm finishes of the velvet sofa and wooden cocktail table. These black and white pieces are a bold contrast to the soft beige walls. At the same time, they pull together the black and white tones from the zebra skin rug. This creates a balance among the softer colors of the room.

Wall covering can be art too

Trouble finding art for a large space or wall? What about considering wallpaper? This hand-painted wall covering from Allan Knight is a great alternative to breath life into a room. It’s abstract and gives the room a moody feel with its deep purples, blues and soft lines. It ties the room’s color palette together to create a seamless design. It definitely looks like art to me, don’t you agree?!

How to use art to liven up a space

How to use art to liven up a space

So whether you’re curating a personalized gallery wall, opting for bold contrast, creating a harmonious design with complementary artwork or choosing to go the nontraditional route and use wallpaper as art, there is so much you can do with art. I hope these design tips for using art to liven up your interior have inspired you to start your own collection or begin adding art to your home. For more design tips and inspiration, check out our ever-evolving Pinterest and Instagram!


Author is a story-teller at heart. Her unique perspective and tailored design process empower her to create singular interiors for clients all over the world.

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