A homeowner’s guide to buying art

Curator of Red! The Gallery, Jean Irvine, shares some pointers on purchasing art for your home

Incorporating art into your home will bring it to life if you do it well. Here’s how to start:

1. Find out what you like

If you don’t already have an artist or a particular style in mind, visit as many galleries and museums as possible to see what’s out there. Research the artist, find out what works they’ve created and chat to gallery staff.


Andrew Cooper

2. Take the style of your home into account

Consider a contemporary piece for a traditional space and vice versa. It shakes things up and adds visual interest. Sculptural pieces add texture and create a focal point in a space because they are multi-dimensional.

3. Mix and match

You can also achieve a great look if you mix contemporary modern art with more classical art styles. Well-curated art will pull the furnishings together. Look for anchor pieces in the room first and then bring in other pieces.


Michael Waters

4. Frame it well

There are no hard and fast rules for framing, and art doesn’t always have to be framed. Larger contemporary and modern pieces on canvas are great as is, while other art can be wonderfully complemented by frames. It’s important to frame investment pieces well, as it will add to your investment and protect the art. Remember that framing dates, so choose a frame that doesn’t overpower the art but enhances it.

5. Hanging your paintings

Take a leaf from most galleries and hang art at eye level. The centre of the artwork, not the top of the piece, should be at that height.

Rick-Becker art

Rick Becker

6. Try before you buy

Galleries are open to sending out a painting to a client’s home on consignment. This gives you the chance to see what it looks like in the space. Paintings are often a lot bigger than you remember, so it’s good to see it in your home first before committing to a sale.

7. Attend art auctions

An auction is a great way to buy art for less, but they can be overwhelming and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. First attend a few auctions to gain an understanding of the process before buying a piece.

Wilma-Du-Toit art

Wilma du Toit

8. Take things slow

Art is visual and is meant to be displayed where people can admire and appreciate it. Take your time in procuring your collection, and you will enjoy it for many years to come.