Buying Art: A How-To Guide

So you are ready to start buying art.

Maybe you’ve recently graduated from college and started your first real job or you have just bought your first house. Whatever your reason, you want to make your house a home. You are tired of the posters you first got to decorate your college dorm. You are bored with the hand-me-downs from your parents. It’s time to update those walls, to start putting your personality on your walls.

Everyone can collect art. You don’t have to be rich or sophisticated or any of the words you think of when you think art collector. Art can be whatever you want it to be. Did you see something at a store like Target that you loved? Buy it! Even massed produced works are art. Your house can be a mix of high, mid and low end. You can decide all your art will come from garage sales or Goodwill.

You just need to find what you love in your price range. Although going out and finding random pieces can be fun, think about your end goals. You should have a loose idea of what you want and what you need and what type of mood you want to evoke.

First, think about the rooms in your house. What wall space do you have? Measure it. Do you want a big piece or several smaller pieces to create a gallery wall? Don’t just think about wall space. What about bookshelves or pot shelves? What other spaces do you have for 3D art, such as sculptures or vases? Get an idea of your space, measure it and write them down to carry with you when you are out and about.

And don’t just think about the typical spots. Get creative! That small skinny wall? What can you put there?

Once you know what space you have there are questions you should ask yourself. What is your style? Do you like modern looks or country? Are you drawn to a past decade, like art deco? Or do have more an eclectic look? If you want to have a modern look, think twice about that barnyard painting. Really think about what you are drawn too. Write it down.

What type of mood are you looking to create? Calming? Energizing? Think about what colors evoke these emotions. What mood do you like? Do you like something a little darker  or light and airy? Do you want something realiztic, fantasy, or abstract?

What colors are already in your house? What color is your furniture? Bedding? Walls? If everything you own is neutral, go wild! But if you have purple couches with teal throw pillows? Maybe you want to look for neutral art or pieces done in teal. Think about your color palette. If you aren’t sure about what colors “go” together, look at a color wheel. This one from Adobe is great because you can pick different types (complimentary, monochromatic etc) and determine how you want your colors to go together. Find a color scheme you are drawn to and add it to your list.

By now you should have a list with the spaces, measurements, style, and colors for each room.

Now, you can go out and start buying art!

But where do you find art?

Start by visiting places like Kohls, Target, or Homegoods. What do like? Take a photo of it but don’t buy yet. Imagine it in your home. When you get home use your photo to see if it would look good where you want it. Think about the piece for a few days. If you still want it and it fits with your vision, go buy it.

Visit your local art museum. Take a day and wander through. What draws you in? Make notes of the artist, style and colors you feel most strongly about. Be sure to check the gift shop when you leave, there might be something there that is similar to what you liked. Many museums carry contemporary artists works in their shop.  When you get home, google your favorite artist if you want to learn or see more. When you know more about the artists you like, you can have a better idea of what you want as far as style and mood.

Also, check out local galleries or art walks. Most large cities have art walks at least once a month.

The internet holds thousands (probably millions) of artists selling their works. Some use sites like Etsy, others sell from their own website. You will find a lot of different art just poking around the internet. This is why it is important to have an idea of what you like and maybe buy a few pieces in person first. If you find artists you love but aren’t ready to buy yet follow them on social media, join their newsletter.

If you find something you love, buy it. Hang it up. Look at it every day and smile. And remember, have fun! Collecting art doesn’t have to be expensive and serious.

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Jenna Volden studied photography in high school and college but ultimately ended up with a business degree. After spending 10-plus years in the rat race she returned to her first love, photography by starting her own photography company. She can be found either chasing sunsets around the globe or making women feel like rock stars in her home studio. She is currently based out of Phoenix, AZ.

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This entry was posted in Art & Creativity, Landscape Photography, Lifestyle.

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  1. By So you want to buy some art… on July 18, 2017 at 9:11 am

    […] it! That is how to buy art broken down into six easy categories. You may also like A How To Guide with tips about where to look for art, as well as more tips on buying art. I believe we all need a […]

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