How to Select the Right Artwork for a Classic-Style Home

Old Royal House artwork
Image credit: Michael Van Oosten, Old Royal House.

Few things personalize a home like artwork. The right piece instantly conveys the homeowner’s personal style, and turns a good-looking space into something original and exceptional. However, selecting pieces that go with the rest of your home décor can be difficult. Sure, your tastes in furnishings may translate to your tastes in art, but with a little extra know-how, you can be sure to create a home that’s cohesive and completely reflective of your personality. Here, KUKUN’s art and interior design advisors weigh in with tips on how to select the right kind of art for your classic home.

What defines a classic home?

A classic home is all about elegance. Think of a romantic Parisian apartment, or a flat in London that harkens back to days gone by. Florals and romanticism are trademarks of this style, and even though a modern take on this style might not be covered with giant crystal chandeliers and gold leaf, these are definitely influences. A degree of opulence and grandeur comes into play, and a room like this is highly evocative of a sumptuous era, calling to mind grand balls and flowing dresses. It succeeds in imparting that feeling of a bygone era of ease and luxury. It is likely the living space of someone with a love of classic artwork, literature, and the like.

Styles of art to look for

Fittingly, a more classical work of art would suit this space beautifully. A painting with either a classic or idyllic subject would add to the atmosphere.

A faithful reproduction of a true classic works well with this type of space. It won’t be an original, but it’s an excellent opportunity to showcase a painting that you love. If you buy a piece like this from the museum currently housing the classic, you can feel extra good about your purchase because you’re helping support that institution.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Swing (1767) is housed by the Wallace Collection in London, which offers reproductions of this and other great works in its online shop dedicated to prints.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard artwork

Jean-Honoré Fragonard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

If you prefer to showcase an original work of art, you should still strive to stay with a classical subject, such as a landscape or seascape. Gold frames work well with this style of art, and keep with the classic feel of the space.

Anne Harney artwork

Anne Harney,Haystack, 8 x 10 inches, oil on linen, 2014.

A more modern piece can definitely work in a classic space, but it’s important to be selective. Keep in mind that the goal of this interior style is to immerse the visitor in its luxury. A work with heavy social commentary or something meant to shock the viewer will not be a good fit for this style of space. Instead, a piece that quietly invites the viewer to reflect will harmonize well with the décor.

Resa Baltman artwork

Resa Blatman, Trouble in Paradise, oil, latex paint on PVC, silk and plastic flora, 2015.
Note the extension of the subject onto the wall. This gives the piece a modern, fun touch, while keeping with a classic style.

Whatever work you select for your classic space, you will not want to make it a focal piece. Instead, you will need art that ingratiates itself subtly, and invites reflection. This will allow the atmosphere of the room to take center stage, and the art to accentuate its luxurious, Victorian-type feel.

How to Select the Right Artwork for a Classic-Style Home was last modified: January 21st, 2017 by Lucy Attwood and Ginger Russell
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