Artwork & Framing

Choosing art

The task of selecting and buying artwork can feel overwhelming. The multitude of styles, prices, trends and artists only adds to the confusion. If you're buying art to decorate your home for your own enjoyment, the criteria for finding the right piece are fewer than if you're looking to buy art as an investment that will increase in value. For this reason, you should know your goal and what you can spend before you go art shopping.

Decorative art: This kind only needs to please you. Look for art you like that fits into the decor of your home.

Investment art: If you're looking with the eye of a collector, consider purchases carefully. Do your homework, learning as much as possible about the artist and his or her potential place in the art world. But be aware that no matter how much research you do, your choices may not pan out. As far as the time frame for when a piece may increase in value, it could happen next week, after the limited edition pieces sell out, or many years from now, or possibly never.

How to hang art

Tips for hanging art on the wall:

Gather your tools. You'll need a tape measure, stud finder, hammer, drill, screwdriver, assorted picture frame hangers and anchors, chalk lines and levels.

Assess the walls and art. Envision the final result you want to achieve.

Arrange your display. Lay it out on the floor in front of the wall.

Take measurements. Do it once, and again to confirm. To find the center point of the wall, make this simple calculation: width of the wall divided by two.

Mark the wall. Determine where eye level is and hang the first piece, using the proper anchor.

Repeat for multiple pieces. The next frame should be measured from the distance of the hanging hardware to the top of the frame. Then add about 3 inches for spacing, measure the wall once more, divide by two and mark the intersecting point on the wall just below the first piece. The next piece is ready to hang. The process continues until your art collection is situated straight and proportionately on the wall.

If you'd rather outsource the hanging of your artwork, consider hiring an experienced handyman. And keep in mind that Angie's List members have access to local consumer reviews on handymen, frame shops, photographers, muralists and services providers in more than 500 other categories.

Maintaining the value in art

Take proper care of your art. Improper handling and poor storage can permanently damage a piece. Be sure to keep art away from:

Acidic materials. Cardboard contains acid, so don't leave a print rolled in a tube too long, or it may bend the art to the point that it may crack when unrolled.

Extremes. Protect your art from extreme temperatures, as well as light and humidity.

Skin oil. Clean your hands before handling art and avoid touching the the surface. Touch artwork by the edges or use white cotton gloves.

Mural art & wall painting techniques

Art techniques such as murals and decorative painting can bring unique touches to your home. Professional muralists can create a unique sketch and then, upon approval, apply it directly to your wall. Some muralists will paint on sheets that can be applied like wallpaper, and even removed and used later, while others paint directly on the wall.

Many will work off photographs or devise an original design after hearing your needs. Whimsical murals are often used in nurseries, children's bedrooms and play areas. Murals done in a trompe l'oeil style are meant to look realistic and can be found in kitchens, dining rooms and hallways.

A mural doesn't have to fill an entire wall. Small decorative touches such as a floral vine can add a color and personality to the home. Stencils are another way to add touches of decorative painting.

Murals and other forms of decorative painting are meant to last a long time, so be sure you're comfortable with the sketch, the price and the artist before signing on the dotted line.

Read here about one couple's experience with hiring a muralist to add original touches to their home.

Picture framing

Once you've decided on art, it's important to complement it with the right frame. For example, for a formal display such as a degree choose an earth tone frame.

READ MORE: Angie's List Guide to Picture Framing

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