Where to start when designing a room?

Some people like to start with a sofa. I love to start a room with a beautiful piece of artwork and design outwards from there. I find a painting or drawing I love and spend a long time looking at it. Then I extract the reasons I like it – the texture, the colour, the feeling you get every time you pass by it. The composition of the art, the size of the piece, even the way it is framed or left unframed says something about how the room is going to look and feel.

Designing Around Art

I think a room can take on a poetic sense when you start with a painting and draw the room around it. Those are my considerations when I am designing a room. I love this painting by Larry Grey. I found it in Houzz a great source for design inspiration. The wall colour and the tones in the hardwood support it so beautifully. The newel post just punctuates it and commands “look at this piece” much like the way an exclamation mark does in a sentence.

Examples of Room Design Around Art

living room open concept looking into main hallway, stairs; tan couch with colorful deco pillow, colorful artwork on wall
Eclectic Staircase design by New York Architect Ben Herzog
White walls and uncluttered windows offer an ideal backdrop for these contemporary pieces. A warm wood tone is introduced but kept uncluttered in the clean lines of the wall unit. The pop of colour adds warmth as it directs the viewers eye toward the end of the space.
living room with black/white patterned couch, black ottoman, abstract wood penny artwork on wall, abstract red wall art, art deco chairs
Modern Living Room design by Dc Metro Architect FORMA Design
These primitive colourful art pieces are beautifully complemented by the organic form of the Noguchi table. Yet the space has an edge thanks to the undisturbed industrial ceiling.
living room, brown leather couch, tan pillows, glass coffe table, wood flooring with white rug, wall art, flat screen tv
A modern lucite console table sits quietly below these colourful pieces … interesting but not stealing attention from the art.  Colour is used sparingly in this space to connect the viewer back to the artwork.
open space conceptual room with fireplace, contempo art on walls, glass dining table and chairs
Modern Dining Room design by Orange County Media And Blogs Dana Nichols
Iconic furniture pieces with their sculptural form complement these graphic urban street art pieces.
Modern Spaces design by Orange County Media And Blogs Dana Nichols
Artwork doesn’t have to blow the budget. A gallery wall adds graphic interest in this long hallway and creates an interesting journey for the viewer. The deep honey tone in the hardwood adds warmth and complements the grey on the walls.
Contemporary Staircase design by San Francisco Architect Dumican Mosey Architects
A work of art always relates to a period in art history through use of colour, gesture or other elements inherent in the piece, and that historical reference is what leads me to the perfect setting for the piece.