How to Make a Great First Impression in Your Home With an Art Collection
First impressions count—the entrance of your home is not only the first thing visitors will see but is also what welcomes you day in and day out. Although transitional spaces such as entryways may often be overlooked, there are plenty of good reasons to spruce them up.
Besides keeping the space clutter-free, finding a centrepiece for this area instantly lifts its look as well as your mood. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of art.
“Less is more—people tend to be happier in a less cluttered environment. Select the right artwork that makes you happy so that you can feel at ease,” says Isabelle Miaja, founder of Miaja Design Group and Miaja Gallery.
Khairuddin Hori, curatorial director and partner of Chan + Hori Contemporary, concurs. “Be mindful not to make the space too cluttered, and allow the works to breathe,” he says. Whether you’re aiming to design an entrance that dazzles or a restful tableau you’ll look forward to seeing, keep these expert tips in mind to craft an inviting ambience.
Think about the atmosphere you would like to create. If you’re looking to instil a calming mood, Khairuddin recommends minimalist works with ample use of negative space. “Minimal artworks can provide outlets for contemplation,” he says. “True art lovers would even think of the art first before establishing the look and feel of their homes.”
To create a memorable first impression, consider installing a sculpture to act as a conversation starter; choose kinetic artworks or pieces with elements of optical illusion. “Entryways are transitional spaces that work very well with dynamic artworks; these include sculptures or paintings with evolving forms when you move around them,” says Jazz Chong, founder of Ode to Art.
Take the artwork outdoors if there is sufficient space by your entrance. “For outdoor areas, we recommend sculptures in stainless steel or bronze,” says Miaja. “Especially in Asia, the rain and humidity can cause the sculptures to rust.”
Chong also recommends fibreglass sculptures. “These are low-maintenance and will only require an occasional dusting, while ceramics and porcelain should be treated with greater care as they are more fragile,” she says.
The scale of your painting should be proportional to the size of your home. “An artwork that’s too small will get dwarfed by the surrounding design elements; a piece that is too big will look as though it is spilling over the space,” says LH Chan, design principal of TDC Associates.
“The smaller the space, the more attentive you have to be about hiding clutter and using colours to define the area,” says Miaja. “Oil and acrylic paintings are the sturdier choices and the richness of the pigments creates depth; they are often ideal for less adventurous collectors.”
Chong also offers another useful tip: “To create the illusion of a bigger space, vertically orientated pieces can optically widen narrow walls.”
If you have a large feature wall at the entrance, the art piece selected should correspondingly match its scale and also be easily viewable. “For artworks in large dimensions, ensure that the space has sufficient width, so there is enough distance for the viewer to appreciate the entire art piece meaningfully,” says Amber Lim, founder of Amber Art Gallery.
Other practical considerations to note include heat and humidity concerns. “Light is a great asset to a room, but too much of it can discolour an art piece and damage it. Place a UV glass protector over the artwork or add blinds that offer UV protection and bring them down when the sun is at its hottest,” says Miaja.
Besides avoiding direct sunlight, install appropriate built-in spotlights so your art piece is illuminated in the best way possible. “Lighting should be designed specifically for your art and your interior; generally, the spotlights used for artworks are 30 per cent brighter than the other lights in the room,” says Chong.
She also recommends installing a dehumidifier to keep your artwork in top condition. “A simple dehumidifier will go a long way to protect your paintings, especially for works painted on paper,” she adds.
Commissioning an artwork specially for your home can make the piece more meaningful. “Art is a fantastic medium that reflects your personal taste,” says Chong. “Make it a family decision. Involving your spouse and kids may make the selection process longer, but you will remember the bonding experience every time you see your artwork. A painting that’s close to your heart will make any house you live in feel like home; it can also serve as a beautiful heirloom for your children.”
Lim of Amber Art Gallery suggests commissioning a series from the same artist as part of a centrepiece that changes over time. “Create a collage of works in different sizes, comprising paintings specially commissioned on a yearly basis; it’s what some of my clients are doing,” she says. “Fill up your wall over the years with works that chart or symbolise the growth of your loved ones and the milestones in your life.”
These art pieces can be tailored to your spatial requirements. “Site-specific works can be commissioned to elevate architectural elements such as an alcove or a feature wall,” says Khairuddin. “A collaborative process created through conversations and trust for the artist’s vision would also embed deep emotional value, making the art produced even more special.”