September 17, 2021 4 min read

Art has the effortless ability to breathe life into all corners of our homes. Alongside the evident aesthetic qualities, artwork encourages conversation and is an excellent form of self-expression. Our worlds have become smaller over the pandemic, and it is more important than ever that we find ways to revitalise and enjoy our immediate environment. 

Art: An Expression of Emotion 

As the home is an extension of ourselves, we can use art to personalise and animate the spaces in which we spend our time. The very nature of art is emotional because it is a physical expression of human experience. Behind each piece is the artist's intention of mood and atmosphere, from melancholy to nostalgia and escapism. For this reason, art can play an essential role in setting the tone and scene within the home. 

Colour Psychology in the Home

Choosing art that resonates with and reflects our feelings and personalities can help us feel comfortable in a space. Each person responds differently to art. We might be looking at the same image, but unique experiences mean that everyone will naturally see the work in a different light. A key element to this personal response is our relationship with colour.

Colour is often the first thing to either entice or repel us from artwork, and for a valid reason. Although perceived visually, research shows a correlation between colour and psychological responses – including mood, performance and behaviour. Art therapy practitioners believe in the healing power of colour and its ability to balance and inform human emotion. For this reason, art within the home can have a considerable positive influence on our mental health.

What Colours and Where?

When selecting artworks, it is vital to consider the intended mood for the space and, therefore, the colours to include. Culture and colour association play significant roles in determining our reactions and feelings toward colour. Different hues carry a variety of connotations. For example, in India, red symbolises purity and romance, but the Western interpretation of the same colour is that of passion and danger.

Aside from cultural connotations and personal taste, there are also universally acknowledged pairings of colours and emotions.

For Calm and Focus:

For example, shorter wavelength colours, including blue and green, will improve focus and gently stimulate the mind. Specifically, blue is considered calming, evocative of safety and peace. Cool, stress-relieving ocean tones will make the perfect addition to a home office or study space because of the combined benefits of productivity and relaxation. The textured brushstrokes and calming blues of Seascape I create gentle, reflective energy, perfect for a 'work from home' zone or reading nook.

For Energy and Stimulation:

In contrast, warm spectrum colours will stimulate the mind and introduce more dynamic energy. These tones are well suited to areas of the home that have a strong social focus and invite an invigorating atmosphere. The living room is the heart and hub of the house and should reflect this through decor. Used strategically, bold colours such as purple, orange and pink can incite warmth, excitement and happiness into a space. Remember that colours of such intensity can become over-powering and are best used for a colour accent – such as an artwork. A playful, energetic piece like Floral Explosion III would exude vitality into a communal space.

Other ideas for colour and artwork placement include:

  • Bedroom: Cooler tones such as pastel pinks and greens have the mutual benefit of aiding relaxation and emitting soothing vitality.
  • Kitchen/Dining: Warm colours such as red promote appetite and stimulate the mind, perfect for dining and sparking conversation.
  • Bathroom: Usually the smallest room in the house, white mixed with grey/blue will create visual interest whilst keeping the space light and open.

Art to Inspire and Heal the Mind:

Alongside the positive influence of colour, art has the unique ability to transport us elsewhere, at a glance. Through art, the home can become more than just the surrounding four walls. Serene beaches, rolling mountains and verdant forests can all provide escapism when included within the home. Nature has enormous benefits for mental well-being, from improved concentration to stress relief. When we can only travel so far outside of our homes, it can be beneficial to bring the outdoors inside through painting and photography.

Artwork Associations:

In addition to aspirational views and settings, images have the power to transport within the mind and memories. Without realising it, humans are constantly making associations between senses and memories. Art can evoke powerful feelings and memories in the same way as a specific smell, taste, or sound can stop us in our tracks. It is the storytelling nature of art that speaks to our minds and emotions in this way. Stories exist in many places within art, some of which being:

  • In the image of a significant place
  • In the feeling evoked by colour and brushstrokes
  • In the circumstances the owner acquired the artwork

Intimate narratives weave into and around the pieces with which we choose to fill our homes. These thoughts and recollections exist as palpably in art as they are in our memories and consciousness.

Transforming Spaces and the Mind

Art encourages imagination and guides us outside of our comfort zone. Having paintings and prints in the home can enrich our lives, adding a new dimension to our minds and the spaces around us. There is no better translator of emotion than art, and it can help us express, visualise and reflect on our thoughts. The value of images in the home goes beyond a colour scheme or accent wall; they are a catalyst for conversation create spaces for the mind and body to thrive.