Contemporary Art in Interior Design: Decorating & Collecting


Contemporary art in interior design can establish a focal point, define a color palette, or even be the inspiration for an entire home. Art can take many forms such as paintings, sculpture, glass art, or ceramics. The mood that a contemporary art piece conveys can be equally diverse.

Types of Contemporary Art in Interior Design

The streamlined, sleek interiors of modern designs often leave room for a nice collection of artwork. Eclectic rooms can also benefit from eye-catching contemporary art pieces. In addition, transitional rooms often feature modern art as this design bridges traditional and contemporary elements.

Concepts in contemporary art are wide-ranging and involve everything from abstract compositions to pop art creations. Famous abstract artists include the works of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, who expressed colors and patterns with amorphous subject matter. Pop art takes inspiration from mass media imagery like advertising, comics, or cinema. Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are notable pop artists who took familiar images from popular culture and crafted them into cultural statements.

Contemporary art in interior design includes the display of:

  • Canvas paintings
  • Photographs (especially black and white motifs)
  • Art prints
  • Mixed media paintings or montages
  • Sculptures
  • Metal art
  • Glass art
  • Mosaics
  • Found objects, musical instruments, tools, or industrial elements
  • Pottery or ceramics
  • Mobiles or kinetic sculptures
  • Art lamps or chandeliers
  • Rugs
  • Mirrors
  • Art clocks

Contemporary Art Collecting

For those who only dream of bidding on an original contemporary art piece at Sotheby's or Christie's, consider buying Giclée or canvas print versions of your favorite artists. Framed art prints are an inexpensive way to introduce contemporary art in interior design. Another terrific source of modern artwork resides with local sources. There are undoubtedly regional artists in your area who create amazing one-of-a-kind art pieces. To find these local gems, try visiting art galleries, university campus galleries, community festivals, starving artist sales, or flea markets.

When choosing contemporary art for your home, there are several deciding factors which can help the process. First of all, if you find a painting or sculpture that speaks to you or moves you in some way, then this would be a good start. If your décor is already in place, then look for artwork which is neutral or which ties into an existing color or theme. On the other hand, if your design palette is open to new colors, then feel free to experiment with contemporary art in almost any hue from bold to monochromatic.

Displaying contemporary art in interior design can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Canvases, photographs, and prints can be mounted directly on the wall or placed more casually by leaning them on a fireplace mantle or chunky shelf. Be sure that the art is at an easy eyelevel for most viewers-when in doubt, always hang it lower rather than higher. Art objects like ceramic or glass pieces can be displayed on any flat surface including shelves, niches, tabletops, bookcases, or ledges. If images or objects are part of a design series, present them together for greater visual impact.

Resources for Contemporary Art

Art In Metal - Contemporary fine art sculptures and more.

The Artful Home - Fine art, crafts, and décor by the esteemed GUILD which represents more than 1,200 top artists.

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Contemporary Art in Interior Design: Decorating & Collecting