Most decorators traditionally recommend a minimalist décor for many spaces, particularly small spaces such as apartments and guest houses. Unfortunately, many people believe that this means that the walls should be kept completely bare for a minimalist décor to work. Aren’t pictures too flashy for a minimalist décor?
Art Prints: Perfect Complement to a Minimalist Decor
In a word: no, pictures are not too flashy to use with a minimalist décor. In a few more words: art prints are not too flashy for a minimalist décor, as long as you select your prints carefully. In fact, in rooms with minimalist decor, art prints add character and highlight the fact that the decor really is minimalist and not just neglected.
The trick with choosing art prints carefully is just to pick one print, or pick a few prints on a highly related subject or in a similar style, preferably all by the same artist. In a room with minimalist décor, the prints will easily get more attention than anything else in the room, so you want to be careful that the prints do not conflict with each other. An obvious example: if you really like Monet’s paintings of water lilies, you could get several prints each of a different Monet painting of water lilies.
There is a special concern if your décor is not just minimalist but strikingly modernist (for instance, lots of simple furniture with clear angles or curves rather than carved woodwork). In a room with a particularly modernist décor, prints that are from an earlier era might seem out of place. Go with prints that were created more or less in the era in which your furniture was designed, or in which your furniture’s design was most popular.
Obviously, there is a lot of room for personal judgment as to what goes with what, since modernist anything always was designed not to look as though it belonged to a particular period of time. It can be even more confusing if your modernist-looking furniture was really just designed to look spare in a general way rather than to hark to a particular school of design. In those cases, just try to go for something that looks like it matches, sticking to prints of artworks that are modern but that are not immediately recognizable as belonging to a specific decade.
If your furniture leans toward the 1950s and 60s style of modernism (the kind of playful curves that would be at home in a room with a sunburst clock on the wall), try prints of the work of a period artist such as Jackson Pollack. If your décor’s modernism leans toward the seventies or eighties (e.g., glass-topped coffee tables and very spare design, you might be better off with Jasper Johns than Jackson Pollack.
Choosing Art Prints for Rooms with Multiple Colors
* Minimal does not necessarily mean subdued. Just look at the vibrant paintings of modern artist Mondrian, such as “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, composed entirely of interlocking rectangles, square, triangles, and circles. If you’d like to keep your décor simple even with a striking color scheme, art prints can actually help. Here’s why:
* Art prints pull together disparate colors in a room. A print gallery or website will be able to recommend the best art print based on the colors in your room. Some sites even have search engines that match a room’s color scheme with appropriate art prints.
* When the furnishings in a room attract attention art prints make sure the walls provide visual interest, too, so the eye is not pulled relentlessly downward toward the furniture or rugs. Of course, you have to be careful not to give people a headache. As a rule of thumb, the more riotous the play of colors on the ground, the more orderly the play of colors on the walls should be. If the vibrant colors of your furnishings tend to swirl together, lend the room calm with artwork that takes those colors and presents them in neat lines and blocks.
* Art prints make it clear that your colorful décor is a well-rhymed composition, not just a loud burst of color. Visitors to your pad who see a blue couch, red end tables, and yellow lamps might well wonder what you were thinking–until they see a print of “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” or other artwork that shows how these disparate colors really do belong together.
* In the end, there is beauty in the simplicity of a room with a minimalist interior design, and there is beauty in the art that takes the same simple approach. If you keep that fact in mind when choosing artwork for your minimalist room, you can make sure your décor is more than minimally beautiful.