Does Your Artwork Play Nice With Your Walls?

Maybe It's Just You

Maybe, you’re one of those people. There is a room in your house and it’s boring. You decide to finally invest in that beautiful piece of wall art you saw while browsing the internet with your husband. Then suddenly you realize you need to paint. You think long and hard about all of your choices while you cook breakfast for the kids and get them off to school. In the end, you dare to be different and you decide on blue.

You jump in the minivan and drive down to Benjamin Moore, walking through the door with your shopping list in hand. You find a curly haired teenager standing at the register with a smile. Proud of yourself for making a commitment so soon after breakfast you announce that you would like two cans of blue please. Eggshell.

The young man behind the counter wrinkles his brow and gives you a worried look. Did you say blue? Which shade of blue? You apologize for not being more clear and say “I’m sorry, I meant to say light blue”. You actually see his soul try to leave his body. Well, he says, we don’t carry "light blue". We have smoke, iceberg, ocean air and amsterdam. We have Wedgwood Gray, Beacon Gray and Gentleman's Gray and despite how those sound to anyone with a 2nd grade education, they are actually shades of blue. Maybe you would like the color of the year…. Aegean Teal.

Unsure of what to do next you purchase thirty seven quart sized samples, 2 sets of brushes, a bag of drop cloths, six rolls of frog tape, a respirator and an eighteen ft tall ladder that collapses into itself. You spend $637.21 and your ceilings are only 9 ft tall.

A grove of redwood trees in the fog and flowers inside Damnation Creek in California.

The wonderful mystery and mood of the coastal Redwoods in the state of California. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Complicated

For many, it can be a major challenge to pick the perfect color to match artwork for their wall. Before you go and hire a remodeling company, binge watch every episode of fixer upper or decide to throw in the towel and sell your house, take a deep breath and keep reading. While matching colors can be tricky, it doesn’t have to be a life-altering decision. In fact, there are many easy ways to make sure your art and your walls go together perfectly without starting over from scratch. Instead of stressing over choosing a color for your walls that perfectly matches your art, sometimes the best way to go is to choose artwork that matches the color you’ve already got.

The important thing to remember is that this doesn’t have to mean blue art for blue walls or yellow art for yellow walls. Complementary colors are the way to go! Complementary colors appear opposite of each other on the color wheel, which allows them to emphasize each other to create something truly amazing…. Like creamsicle ice cream . This can be extremely refreshing and delicious. The colors you choose will be nice too.

To get ideas of colors that look great together, you can visit a cool website called color schemer that lets you select your base color and then gives you options for complementary colors. This will at least give you a simple idea of what colors you have to choose from. Once you’ve figured out which colors will go best with your walls, you can seek out artwork that matches those requirements. I might be biased, but nature photography offers rich and complex colors that you can match to nearly any color scheme.

A look up at a canopy of aspen trees against a blue sky with yellow autumn leaves.

A vertical look into the canopy of a small aspen grove near Leavenworth, Washington. Fine Art Limited Edition of 50.

Think About the Big Picture (No Pun Intended)

While I often recommend displaying the largest photograph your space allows in your home or office, in this case I’m talking about the “grand scheme of things.” If you’re starting with an empty room or have the flexibility to completely redesign your space, think about what style you’re going for. How do you want the space to look and feel? What’s the ideal mood? Is this the coziest room in your winter cabin? Or your family dining room?

Choosing a direction for the space will help you determine what artwork and wall color are appropriate. You may want brighter colors for a family room or darker calming colors for a more dramatic feel in a bedroom or den. A well-lit photograph can brighten up a room or establish a focal point transforming the entire space in a rewarding way.

Art and interior design are both all about how they make you feel, so spend some time thinking about that. How do you want to feel when you’re in the room? Once you’ve decided, select some colors that evoke that emotion for you. While there’s plenty of science behind color and emotion, this is different for everyone, so have some fun feeling out a theme for you!

The Wash

Fine Art Limited Edition of 50 - Water from the Wenatchee River and its tributaries has been diverted for irrigation since 1891, mainly for orchards. There are two small dams on the Wenatchee River, the Tumwater Canyon Dam, which sits just west of the community of Leavenworth, and the Dryden dam, a low-head dam situated just outside the town of Dryden. The Tumwater Canyon dam originally provided power to the original 2-mile (3.2 km)-long railroad tunnel used near Stevens Pass to get trains across the Cascade Mountains, it was later (starting in 1928) used to power the railroad's electrification from Wenatchee to Skykomish.

It’s Not Always the Obvious Choice

Color lives on a gradient scale. In other words, what looks like blue isn’t just blue. Every color has different hues, shades, and levels of brightness. The same is true for artwork. Don’t get overwhelmed by a wide variety of choices -- this actually makes your job easier. This means that every piece of artwork you look at will have a variety of shades and colors in it, making it easier to match it to your space. What might not seem like a perfect fit at first glance might actually match an undertone in your wall or bring out a color you never noticed before.

Similarly, if you have a room that’s largely black and white, adding a pop of color might not seem obvious, but will really add some drama to your space. Not everything has to perfectly match -- contrast can really be your friend. Nature is full of dynamic and dramatic colors, vivid textures, and contrasts of light. The endless combinations of natural light and color can be an incredible source of inspiration for your entire room. When I’m not sure if something will “go,” I look to nature to see just how effortlessly colors can go together that might not seem like they would at first glance.

Seattle Japanese garden during fall reflected in a pond in Seattle, Washington.

The amazing colors of autumn reflected in a still pond inside the Japanese garden in Seattle, Washington. Fine Art Limited Edition of 100.

So You Still Want To Sell Your House?

I totally get it. Choosing wall art is a very personal process and can be a daunting task. I am happy to provide assistance at any time in order to help alleviate the stress of making your decision. I can even show you what my art will look like in your space, to help you make a perfect match with absolutely no effort on your part. This is done through the process of providing you with a digital mock-up to “see” the artwork in your home before you buy it so you can be sure it fulfills your grand vision!

Whatever you choose -- a piece that matches your existing space or a complete redesign -- enhancing your home through art and color can be a rewarding part of bringing your personal touch to your home or office. To see more examples of truly beautiful nature photography or to learn more about how it can transform your space, please visit my online galleries or read more of my opinions on my Luxury Fine Art blog and have some fun!

The Revealing

Fine Art Limited Edition of 50 - Reflection Lakes, located inside Mt Rainier National park in Washington State, is a beautiful destination any time of year, but especially photogenic in the summer months when the wildflowers bloom.

Frosted Sunshine

Fine Art Limited Edition of 50 - For many years each autumn, at the first frost, I have gone out looking for the perfect iced out leaf carpet. My ten year quest is finally over.


Fine Art Limited Edition of 50 - A detailed look at the beautiful stones of a river winding through Mt Rainier National Park in the early morning sun.