A collector’s art of designing

A collector’s art of designing

Artworks leave museums to reach homes. Collecting art has changed its ways, it used to be limited to safekeeping valuable pieces in warehouses as hidden treasures, or in galleries so they could be enjoyed by visitors, and now collectors want to boast them at home.

More and more houses are being dressed up by them, so interior design must find the balance between art and architecture in itself and the works to be exhibited within the space. Also, we shall not forget that this is not a museum or gallery, so the perfect harmony between letting artworks shine and keeping a cozy home should be found.

Keeping this in mind, we shall think about a design that blends creativity and functionality. In order to do this, most houses which have become famous for their numerous works of art have two things in common: an open concept and the use of a minimalist design for finishes, like smooth hardwood floors, concrete walls, and solid colors. However, this is not a rule, and it is not the only thing required to create the perfect space for a collector.

Piece arrangement

For starters, the way in which artworks are arranged should seem intentional. To do this, we should seek to create a composition with the way in which paintings are set. One of the most striking ways is to create an entire wall with works that complement each other and feature different sizes and shapes. Another one is to attract attention to the work of art through the unexpected, for example, by choosing the wall’s center or placing the piece radically towards one side.

One of the new trends we can see is removing works from the wall, placing them on the floor against the wall or on a bookshelf, for example. This contemporary arrangement also has to do with the kind of work chosen; something very classic might look strange being set in this style. On the other hand, separating into categories is one of the most attractive solutions to arrange art, which can be divided by type of work, artist, or style, and thus creating a different scene for each room in the house. 

Match it with furniture

We must not forget that, unlike a gallery or museum, here, works of art must be part of the household, so they have to be paired with the rest of the decoration. A good way to do this is through the combination of colors and their lines with furniture and decorative elements. For example, a room with many curve lines on lamps, chandeliers, and furniture -like chairs or tables- will look better with an artwork where also this kind of lines stand out.

When it comes to color, seeking harmony is better, since the space’s ultimate goal is not to make an impact, but instead becoming a place for leisure, gatherings, a shelter. Picking the main color in a piece and repeating it throughout the room works really well. If it does not go in a whole piece of furniture, it can be present at least in details, like cushions, throws, tablecloths, etc. Or, instead of choosing just one color, you can go for a full range of hues; if the artwork features a group of colors, you can replicate them across the room.

The following phase to combine works and furniture is location, the way in which they will coexist in the space. This coexistence can create different kinds of illusions; one example is to choose deep horizontal pieces like a loveseat or a table placed directly below an artwork, which makes it stand out as if underlined. The idea is that no element can predominate over another, or undermine it, but instead, there must be air around all elements so each has its own space. Keeping this in mind, style is crucial. In order to maintain harmony, if furniture is contemporary, it shall coexist with artworks of the same style; the same goes for classic pieces, the best art choice will be classic.


Light can make all the difference between a great presentation and a poorly achieved one. In order to choose which lights should be used first, we shall think which kind will keep art best and not in aesthetic terms, since a bad choice can end up damaging the pieces and washing away their color. Very aggressive illumination, like fluorescent light, produces a lot of heat and it is within the most damaging ones.

In order to make an artwork stand out, we shall place a directed light source three times brighter than the room’s general lighting, and it shall preferably be placed in a 30-degree angle, to prevent the glass from reflecting. Lights emit heat and it can ruin a piece, this can be compensated through distance, if you can feel heat when placing your hand midway between the light source and the piece, they should be further apart. One of the best choices is LED, since it emits low ultraviolet radiation and heat.

Sun is not a friend, since UV rays cause color to disappear and materials to wear out. This is why we shall avoid placing pieces of art in a spot with direct sunlight. If staying away from the sun seems impossible, the best solution is to frame the piece in acrylic with UV protection instead of glass.    

Art enemies

Even though they are framed, artworks are delicate, so we should avoid placing them near elements that affect the environment and which can damage their integrity. These elements can be air vents, chimneys or radiators, which cause changes in temperature and humidity and can be damaging.

Moist is a serious problem, so it is advisable to install a humidity control system or a monitor, in order to guarantee that it stays between 50 and 55%. This range avoids issues like mold, which emerges in humid environments, but also prevents materials from over-drying and cracking, which happens in a very dry climate.

Temperature is the other relevant topic, particularly heat. It is recommended between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius, since higher than this can cause the most delicate materials to dry, crack, or even change color, especially paper, metals, and fabrics. Hand in hand with the aforementioned, environmental pollutants can also affect artworks, reason why air purifiers become a great investment when it comes to protecting a collection.