One of Visual Jill’s fundamental decorating tips: don’t overlook the importance of artwork. Displaying just the right artwork can take your space from nice to extraordinary. This week we had the pleasure of proving this point in a home we staged.

In this Uptown home, we incorporated many original paintings, mixed media pieces and photographs from Oakland-based artist a.miguel (Alan Hall). When we hung this vibrant painting over the sofa, we literally jumped up and down because it looked so fantastic.

25th downstairs LR


In the bedroom, we hung a grouping of Alan’s photography instead of one large piece over the bed. The colors really stand out against the fresh yellow-green wall, and just happen to match the pillow perfectly!

This more muted painting is a great match for the kitchen, especially since the vertical lines complement the lines in the zebra-wood cabinets.

The already colorful family room receives another burst of energy from Alan’s orange-and-blue piece over the sofa.

25th FR copy

Maybe the best thing about this home is the separate “art barn” on the back of the property. Yes, a barn in the middle of downtown Oakland! The developers painted the inside, and we staged it as an artist’s studio — showcasing more of Alan’s work.

We love Alan’s art and are thankful we were able to use it to add the extra “WOW” factor to the space.

Some tips for choosing the right artwork for your space:

  • Consider size — if you have an entirely open wall, one small or medium-sized piece won’t have the impact you need. Try one or two larger pieces, or a grouping of smaller ones.
  • Consider color — the art doesn’t have to completely match the other pieces in the room, but it should include at least a touch of one or two colors being used. Artwork is a great way to pick up the accent colors throughout the home.
  • Consider texture — use art as a way to introduce contrasting textures. If the room includes glass or mirrors, try hanging a rougher mixed media piece. If the room showcases natural materials such as jute, leather or linen, a sleek black-and-white photo would be a great complement.
  • Consider personal meaning — when you can, choose pieces that are meaningful to you (created by someone you know, purchased on a trip, representative of a different culture, etc.). This guarantees that your space will be one-of-a-kind.

(all photos courtesy of Lisa Ratner)


One thought on “Home is where the ART is

  1. After taking a couple weeks to finish moving and finish unpacking in our new home, I am finally ready to decorate! My husband said I can go on the hunt for some new artwork for our currently bare walls and I wanted something meaningful. I’ve never had a place big enough to decorate as this is our first home and I like what you said about considering size and trying out multiple large pieces on larger walls. I will need to look for some bigger sized pieces that mean something to both my husband and I!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.