Most of the time when I talk to someone about their house, art doesn't come up. As an interior designer, I'll talk to them about the size of the sofa that they want. I'll discuss the style of furniture that they would like to have but don't know if it will "fit" or "look good" with the rest of their stuff. But we usually don't talk about art work for the wall. No one ever says- "I'm redoing this room, but I want to use this fabulous art as the focal point and I want my whole room to reflect it". And that's okay...
But why not?
I think people really DO care about what goes on their walls; but since it doesn't affect the immediate comfort level of a room (like, say, a sofa does), it usually gets put on the back burner. I'm not going to demand that people not care about comfort- because that is very important for feeling at home. What I am going to say is that a well designed room, where everything to works together and you are completely satisfied with the look (which is the goal for all rooms!), starts somewhere. And I think it should start with art.
Art work elevates a room into being something personal and less sterile. It is usually the piece of the room that has a story -- even if it was a hand-me-down from a great aunt. Art work has the power to bring a room to life and set the tone for the rest of the house. My biggest reason why I think art is so important in design, is that it can contain your whole house's design scheme on a simple piece of paper!
If you are trying to redo your living room and you know you like gray and light blue, but don't know what other colors to pull -- no problem. Your art should help you determine that.
If you are picking out a rug for your dining room and you don't really have any other rugs in your house (they are the last things you buy because they scare you), you don't know what type or color to get. Your art should help you determine that.
If you are deciding between bedding options and you can't decide on a color or pattern because you want this puppy to last a loooong time; your art should help you determine that.
Photo courtesy of Miles Redd, LLC.
Artwork should be one of the starting off points for a room, not an afterthought. I love this bedroom by Miles Redd because the art plays off the colors in the room. In fact, I would say that the room's colors were based off the artwork. I know it's a little dramatic for most people, but it gets the point across. Your room can look like it all works because of the artwork on your wall.
If your favorite artwork that you would like to use is black and white -- that's fine too! Here is an example of a room that I designed where the black and white photo worked with the neutral palate of the room and allowed the green accents to really pop. Without this photo, the room would have still been beautiful. But having a focal point (the bed) accentuated by an art piece, draws your eye into the room. And no one wants to look at blank walls in your house. It feels like something is missing...
And it is. It's missing art.