Art in all its shapes and forms stimulates and inspires us.

It connects us to places, experiences and people – and to imagination and creativity.

We use art to add meaning, context and joy to our homes; it is a visual focus of our rooms, and our everyday life.

All of the homes on this website have a very different interpretation of what art is – and how it is represented.

Everyone has something on the walls.

But is it art?

We use art to personalise our homespace.

From mass produced commercial art, posters and postcards through to religious iconography our choices about what to put on our walls are endless.

This will either be very carefully chosen. It can be a reflection of our self; our quirky taste, family, travels past, social connections, religious and cultural sense, interests and sentiments.

Or, simply the right colour, shape and content to fill an empty space.

Putting ‘art’ on a wall is a conscious decision of placement and order.

It looks good here… at the right height…. it catches the light.. a focal point to the space... it pick up the colours elsewhere… the right place to finish off the space…

Often we admire artworks in someone else’s home when we recognise where it is, what it is, who it is, or who painted it.

It as a statement of personal choice reflecting influence and taste – much like looking through someone’s music collection.

Art lives here

A home without any visual artefacts – calendar art to photographs – makes you wonder about the people who live there.

Do they really live here?

In a hotel, or AirbnB, art and ornaments add colour, warmth and character to a space.

Ultimately, it makes the space a little more ‘homely’. It takes the bare look from the walls and ‘decorates’ the room.

But… when there are a lot of personal artefacts (pop posters, family photographs, iconography) you may feel uncomfortable. It’s like trespassing on someone else’s personal space.

Conversely, hotels converted from old country houses aim to personalise the interior space; artefacts and portraits, stuffed animals, dinner sets and tapestries. The aim is to cultivate a sense of the history and lives family who once lived here. Their taste, personality and likes.

They are selling ‘an experience’ – through their interior design.

Here, visitors can pretend they are a ‘guest’ in a hotel that is a home. In this way they get to experience ‘ something’ of how they other half live. Or at least a very curated version of it.

Art Spaces and Places

Art galleries are designed for viewers to see and appreciate art in the best possible way.

Galleries are beautifully lit, spacious and calm environments where the artworks are carefully displayed to enhance the experience of ‘looking’.

When you move through the space you gaze on each piece absorbing its presence and power; the artist’s skill and concept, style and quality.

decorative fan and clock on wall

In our homes we like to mix it up. We place our good pieces alongside commercial pieces, photographs, ornaments and treasured objects add visual interest.

Some items may be gifts that we keep because ‘someone’ thought of us when they bought it. Some items are there to remind us of someone, or a place, or a holiday.

Frivolous or serious, expensive or not, if it has some sort of meaning and visual impact it has value and worth.

Children know their art is a thing of beauty and skill.

As prolific artists they expect to see their work displayed in their home.

Homes with babies and children are centres of child-focused art, bursting with creativity and personality.

Children’s footprints, handprints and photos at every stage of their life, document and share their lives for all to see.

From superheroes, fairies, unicorns, dinosaurs to cartoon characters. Children’s art motifs throughout children’s spaces are designed to appeal to young tastes.

They feature large on beakers, posters, books, plates, curtains and furniture.

In most households this a stage that is of a time and place. Children’s influences interests and tastes will change and widen. And so will what they have in their home.

Comic book curtains

Artistic pursuit as business.

As visual people, artists – amateur and professional – live with their work; the unsold, the personal favourites and pieces swapped with fellow artists.

They are surrounded by displays of framed and unframed, works in progress, by equipment, mediums – and mess.

An artist’s studio – or kitchen table – becomes a place where art is conceived and made through trial and error. It is a dedicated space to a focused pursuit that involves a lot of thinking and looking, as much as actual output.

Essentially its a place of work, but also a space of possibilities and inspiration, frustration and delight.

artist's studio with paintings, sofa and  2 windows
artist's paintings unframed and 2 chairs

Popular Art As Home Decoration

We have all wandered blindly through shops looking for that inexpensive present for the hard-to-buy-for person-who-has-everything.

And, whether it is a last resort or ‘inspiration’, we may be prompted/influenced/persuaded to buy a personalised artefact.

Perhaps a cushion, poster, name tag, ornament for that special person… or their dog, or their cat.

I saw this and thought of you

collection of cushions with motifs on sake

Although I never set out to collect cat ornaments people tend to give me cat ornaments. When people see that I have cat ornaments – I am given more.

I might not have chosen to buy cat ornaments, but I choose to keep them, because they were gifts.

On a cushion or throw, personalised sentiments declare intimate relationships; friend, grandchild, daughter.

In many homes we see mottoes and words such as ‘Love’, ‘Home’, ‘Peace’ in 3D; sentiments writ large.

They are perhaps a throw back to the days of samplers of psalms and proverbs. A modern day version as a declaration of household values and outlook, reflecting a solid humanistic, religious or cultural position.

framed stitched sampler " Home the place where we grumble the most and are treated the best

Is An Ornament Art?

Ornaments may not be as popular as they once were ( see: car boot sales and charity shops. However, many people prize and value their collection of Belleek… Royal Doulton.. Willow Plates…Lladro.

Because they are used only for special occasions they keep precious collections in display cabinets This protects them from breakages and dust.

To put something pride of place on the mantlepiece or wall, or cabinet, sets certain ornaments ( and tea sets) apart as ‘special’.

They may be used only on special occasions but they occupy a prominent position in the home.

What else is a mantlepiece for?

Our homes may be dressed for show but they are not show houses.

We inherit items that we can’t bear to throw things out.

Or we keep things because… they’ve always been there.

Art becomes an integral part of the interior space. An everyday feature of our homelife.

It wouldn’t feel like ‘home’ without it.

mantlepiece with figurines and clock

Nuala Rooney

I am designer, educator and researcher developing creative and holistic human-centred insights within the social/spatial sphere.

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