This month Farrow & Ball have kindly agree to collaborate with me, sending some ideas and advice on decorating with art in mind.
Being bold with colour
The Head of Creative at Farrow & Ball, Charlotte Crosby suggested the following:
“Rich colours are the ideal backdrop for gallery walls. Strong shades like Preference Red or Paean Black really complement eclectic pieces of art, particularly those with gold frames.
The calming lavender tones found in Brassica provide a softer alternative to darker shades. Take the wall colour up and over the ceiling to keep the focus on the art.”
Stronger wall colour is becoming more fashionable these days and those dark blues, and vivid shades are a godsend for art, as they really make it sing. I honestly think that ‘gallery white’ does no favours to art, it is often used so that the art is seen with no distraction, but equally can make it hard to envisage the work in a domestic setting. Try to avoid colours clashes, generally people lean towards a palette in their house, favouring a range of blues or greens, neutrals or reds so try to choose work that doesn’t fight with the background. Orange or pink/red tones in a painting will stand out against blue walls for example, while greens will be more muted.
I happen to have F&B Brassica in my study, and while initially I thought the purple seemed a little overwhelming, once there were several photos and paintings on the wall it recedes into the background, and harmonises the various works. I used predominantly gold or black frames so that there was a theme to the variety of art and photos.
Keeping things neutral
For those who prefer a more muted palette in their home, monochrome work, such as charcoals, drawings, or etchings work with everything, and are always easy to hang in any setting. I use ‘F&B Archive’ a warm neutral in several rooms, which is very sympathetic to all work, important to me as the paintings and drawings are changed on such a regular basis. Houses that are decorated in greys, and subdued colours are the perfect backdrop for a really vivid artwork to act as a focal point of the room.
Purists will throw up their hands in horror, but I see nothing wrong in choosing work to match or compliment decor or colour scheme, after all it has to fit into your life and home. Berkshire Life recently published a lovely article on the work in my house and we talked a lot about how I choose decorating schemes to complement and showcase the work. In some cases, like the bathroom, I started with the painting, a large seascape by John Benton, and choose one of the blues in the work as the paint colour for the wall (Farrow & Ball Cook’s Blue)
In other rooms I choose the colour first – a muted yellow (India Yellow by Farrow & Ball) in the kitchen, and then hung work, predominantly monochrome, that is set off by the strong background. I have found this colour tricky, as I have to be careful when hanging coloured paintings. They need to be either predominantly neutral, or have a pop of colour that doesn’t clash with the yellow. Greens, reds and pinks are completely out!
I would love to hear your successes (and fails!) of hanging paintings. My worst was, ironically, my studio walls, which I initially painted a green yellow white. Hideous, and completely flattened any art hung on it…