Guest Blog: How to Choose and Hang Art for a Family Home
As firm believers that child-friendly interiors can also be stylish, Luxury Family Hotels have been delighted to make the acquaintance of the Little Carousel Gallery, a unique online art specialist in fine art for babies and children that has recently launched a wide range of original, affordable artwork for kids by professional artists. We asked their founder, Jennifer Smith, for her advice on choosing and hanging art in a family home.
How do you choose which art to buy?
Building an art collection takes time but can be really good fun - and a great learning experience for your kids over the years if you involve them too. My first (and really only) rule of buying art is to go for pieces that you simply fall in love with and can imagine keeping forever. They will always bring a smile to your face and a unique personality to your home.
I would also suggest that families invest in original paintings and limited-edition prints where possible. Original artworks are often highly collectible and may go up in value over time, plus it can be fun to learn about how they have been made and satisfying to know you’re helping to support a professional artist. As you get to know an artist’s work over the years you will also find your collection develops a deeper interest for you and your family.
Original art definitely doesn’t need to be expensive. If you are just starting out, I suggest visiting local art fairs to get a feel for prices and to find galleries and artists you particularly like. Join their mailing lists or Facebook pages to stay informed. Graphic art fairs such as London’s annual Pick Me Up are fantastic places to buy limited-edition, low-cost, digital artwork with a real wow factor.
Fairs are increasingly family-friendly and are great places to get your children involved in choosing too. Kids usually have a great time looking at all the amazing pictures - they’ll quickly point out the ones they love. And of course there is now a huge amount of art available to buy online.
What kind of art would you recommend for children’s bedrooms and play spaces?
I feel it’s a misconception that children simply like ‘babyish’ or cartoon-like images loaded with garish colour. Children are equipped with sophisticated visual maturity from a young age and it’s great to be able to stimulate their understanding of the world with some well-chosen images.
Children are especially fascinated by images with lots of tiny details or where these’s a story happening, or even where there’s a sense of ambiguity so they can let their imaginations run wild. I found with my daughter that having fun pictures on her nursery wall really helped as part of a calming bedtime routine. She had one painting of a mummy and baby giraffe that my mum brought her back from Africa and we used to talk every evening about what the baby giraffe had done that day.
Look for art that will stand the test of time and have something that the child will still find interesting in years to come – ideally images that you really like too so you know it has adult appeal and might even become an heirloom.
What’s the best way to display my art?
If you’ve spent good money on original art work it really is worth having it professionally framed. A good framer will have lots of advice on showing it off to its best advantage, and you can choose acrylic rather than glass if you are worried about safety. There are also lots of ready-made frames available to buy online that are absolutely fine for smaller or lower-priced pieces.
When it comes to placement, large pictures can make a great statement alone on a wall. Or think about hanging similar-sized pieces in a parallel group of two or three for a contemporary look. I love to hang smaller pieces of art together in a cluster – this can look particularly good in children’s rooms.
Try getting your children involved in choosing where to hang pictures in their own bedroom so they feel a sense of ownership, and remember to hang more at kid’s-eye level than your own. Frame shelves are another great way to display pictures and give you the option to reorganise your mini-collections whenever the mood takes you.
Jen Smith writes a blog on art collecting and introducing children to the art world on the Little Carousel Gallery site.