Selecting Artwork – How Much is Too Much?

Wise interior design is never more important than when it comes to selecting and installing artwork and accessories to greatest effect. Trust me when I say that art and accessories can break an interior.

Dramatic Dining Room

I recall watching our daughter in her cute-as-a-button-toddler-days playing dress up. Not one bracelet, but six. Not one tulle skirt, better with two. And to her, a hat with at least one crown perched on top was snappy, particularly with the wild earrings she had selected. She looked like my Aunt Lillian. It was an exercise in excess and a fun show it was to watch!

I spent the day today installing artwork for a dear person and client. My assistant and I were hanging, rehanging and moving around a lifetime of marvelous collections (plural). Beyond collecting art, my client is a collector of very fine objets d’art. That’s high French for expensive chatckas – china, crystal, blue and white porcelain and on it goes. It was a dizzying display that once occupied a home about three times the size of her current abode. A home that was large enough to house it all.

My job today? To make it all “look good.” My problem today? Too much of a good thing. That’s because too much of a good thing is, well…too much. Packed bookcases, Museum-esque art wall after art wall, and china display after china display and the end result is that nothing matters. Nothing reads. No one thing moves forward to become important and tickle the eye. Instead, the eye never rests and so it tires amidst a cacophony of objects that seemingly shrinks square footage to a closed-in cranny.

Yes, our objects of beauty, our accumulated treasures do give our homes their marvelous nuance. They are space defining. However…how good does a hat look with a crown perched on top? Sure, sugar is delicious, but too much will ruin a recipe. Artwork and objects in interior design should be a deliberate thought, edited and distilled. And yes, every now and again we need to edit yet again so our homes can change with the currents of our lives.