How to Buy Art: Your Starter Guide - Chairish Blog
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You’ve jus moved into a gorgeous apartment with lots of bare walls, and now it’s time for the fun stuff: decorating. Already have beautiful vintage pieces, but unsure of how and where to start adding art? Have no fear, we’re here to make the process a little easier. Read on for a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide for purchasing art.

Interior design by Martha Angus, photo by Brad Knipstein
Interior design by Martha Angus, photo by Brad Knipstein

 Step One: Find your style

It’s important before purchasing art to know what style and medium you’re looking for. Walk through your house and take notes on the rooms you’d like to display art in: what are the primary colors in the room? Would a painting, photograph, wall hanging, or print look best? Don’t try and match a piece exactly to your rooms; sometimes contrast is more fun and visually interesting. Visit galleries, museums, and homes of friends to see what kind of art you’re attracted to and can visualize in your own home. Flip through magazines and books of art. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re in love with it. You’re the one who will be looking at it every day!

 Step Two: Set a budget

Realize your budgetary restrictions. It’s not practical to spend so much on an art piece that you miss next month’s rent, but it’s also good to think of a piece of art as an investment. Be prepared to spend a substantial amount, but be honest with yourself about what you can afford.

Photo via Waiting on Martha
Photo via Waiting on Martha

Step Three: Find your piece

Once you know what style and budget range you’re looking in, it should become fairly easy to find a piece of art you’re interested in. Local galleries are a great place to start, particularly if your budget is on the lower end. Emerging young artists are usually willing to sell their pieces fairly inexpensively to gain publicity. If you’re going to purchase your piece at an auction, attend a few without expecting to buy, just to get a feel for the pacing and atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, like this funky Kate Roebuck wall hanging!

Step Four: Buy it!

This is the easy part. Stick to your budget, don’t be afraid to ask, “Is this your final price?” and make sure you get exactly what you want. Scope out other galleries or appraisers to ensure the price you’ll pay is fair and accurate. Most artists are willing to do a customized piece if the one they have for sale is a little different than what you were hoping for.

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Step Five: Get it ready

In order to get your new art ready to actually be displayed in your home, you need to make sure it’s insured, framed, and able to be hung. It’s definitely worth it to splurge on high quality frames and glass – it’ll make your art look even better.  Make sure the piece is covered by your homeowner’s insurance, and if it’s not, get separate insurance for it (try AXA). Also check the lighting in the area you want to place the artwork. Nothing is worse than bringing a piece home and realizing that thanks to the shadow cast by your crown moulding, you can’t even see it.

 Step Six: Keep EVERYTHING.

Keep all your receipts. ALL OF THEM. Scan them and file them away in a special marked folder that you will never misplace. You want to keep any and all paperwork associated with the purchase of this piece.

Interior design by Martha Angus, photo by Brad Knipstein
Interior design by Martha Angus, photo by Brad Knipstein

Step Seven: Enjoy

Congratulations! You just purchased your first piece of art. Don’t you feel accomplished?

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September 23, 2016

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