Collected Look Essentials #4 – Artwork

Today I want to continue to talk about the series I started a couple of months ago on how to achieve a house with a “collected” look. To me, the ideal house is one which looks personal, and unique, and not like someone just ordered everything from a catalog. Just to refresh, in the first three posts I talked about how every room needs something vintage and/or antique, that even the most antique-y rooms need something modern, and lastly, how every house needs a collection (or two) to help achieve that “collected over time” look. That leads us to today. And today, I’m talking about art (something I’m quite a fan of, actually!) I think every house needs at least some real art. I know that it’s very much the trend right now to have only other items on the walls; mirrors, letters, numbers, plates, or wood or plaster fragments, and although I love all of those items, I still believe a house should have some actual art. I have spoken to quite a few people about this and what seems to be the case is that they are actually afraid! They might buy a print at Home Goods, but they don’t know how, or where to start, in buying real art. Now lest you think I mean expensive, I definitely don’t. True genuine paintings, whether they be oil or watercolor, can be purchased very inexpensively if you shop antiques or resale stores, buy on Ebay, or even at garage sales. In fact, many times they are the same, or even less money, than buying a print at a catalog store. There is something that art brings to a space that, literally, nothing else can do. First of all, there is color. Most of the things above don’t bring color to a room. Since I personally have a mostly white and/or neutral house, many times the colors in the artwork are one of the few ways I’ve brought color to the room. Art also brings a depth that inanimate objects simply don’t have. Art is alive. A piece (or two) of art in a room can make the room! When I was growing up (and certainly before), people decorated only with art. You couldn’t go to a Home Goods or World Market and buy a cute reproduction map, or a cool mirror, or giant letters. And I will grant you that many houses in the past had too much art (it can definitely go the other way!). But a mix of new and found wall decor that isn’t art, mixed in with real, actual paintings, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that! Shall we take a look?


Love the mix of the modern, black and white piece over the stairwell with the gold framed oil in the foyer.




Tara Shaw uses an oil painting to balance all the lightness in the room. Perfection!


One of my all time favorite rooms! And here they’ve used not a traditional oil, but what looks like some sort of drawing to the same effect.

Great mix of new furniture with art and the antique clock.
A wonderful living room by Eleanor Cummings. Art over the fireplace again.
Here Loi Thai of Tone on Tone uses beautiful landscapes combined with his Swedish antiques. Love!


I have a tear out of this room from years ago! But look how timeless it is?! Love the mix of charcoal sketches with all the gold in the room. 
Designer Phoebe Howard.


Corner in a room by Lauren Leiss.


Just love this!


I have always loved this dining room by designer Phyllis Trevor Higgerson. Traditional still life in oil contrasts with the creamy Swedish furniture.

And art is not limited to living rooms and dining rooms. I absolutely adore art in a kitchen! When you mix the character and patina of an old painting with all the sleek stainless steel and clean modern lines, it creates a great contrast.


And bathrooms too! It looks amazing in bathrooms. Art adds texture to a room that is otherwise all smooth surfaces.





Brooke Giannetti
Lynn Scalo designs.

Your art can be a sketch, an oil or watercolor, or even an etching, as long as it is actually art. The difference between hanging one of these, and only hanging ready made prints, or worse, no art at all, is dramatic. I have bought most of my art at flea markets, antiques stores and on Ebay, but you can scour garage sales, tag sales, or second hand stores and get great bargains. And like adding a collection, adding art means your house will look like no one elses! Your house will not only be true to you, but truly individual.


Sharing at the following blogs this week!

Savvy Southern Style
French Country Cottage
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Sand and Sisal
Craftberry Bush
Our Southern Home
Peonies and Orange Blossoms
Peeking Thru the Sunflowers
Shabby Fufu
Maison de Pax



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  1. Dennis Battler says:

    Hello … beautiful post. Any chance you have the manufacturer information for the sofa in the 3rd image?

    Thank you for your time,
    D. Battler

  2. So glad you agree Karianne! It's so special, and not something everyone else will have from Home Goods (not that I don't love HG, I do! But you know what I mean)!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend – thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. I love the art in every single one of these rooms, and I love the rooms themselves! Great post and I like your style.

  4. Love this post! I agree about the artwork! I have several original pieces that I fell in love with that weren't expensive!

    Happy day friend!

  5. Such an inspiring post, Sheila! I love your examples and your thoughts on buying art. I haven't rehung many pieces on my walls since we painted for some reason. I think I just got tired of what I had in there before. Your post has me thinking though…

  6. Haha Des! Well, that could be a problem:) Come shopping with me and I will help you find some that won't break the bank!


  7. Beautiful pieces of artwork! Sadly I don't have a lot of artwork in my home because I seem to be drawn to only expensive pieces! LOL