How to Place Fine Art Paintings and Modern Sculpture in your Home

I know that placing modern fine art in your home can sometimes be a bit challenging especially for those of you who are new to buying fine art. However, I have found that after you learn a few dos and don’ts it gets a lot easier and even becomes fun! 

Where to Place Modern Fine Art Sculpture and Paintings

For paintings, the most important aspects of placement are finding wall space that accommodates the size of the painting, where the painting can be properly viewed from multiple spots, and where the painting will effectively compliment other modern fine art or furniture in the room. For large paintings the obvious and sometimes best places are above the fireplace or the sofa, but sometimes hanging paintings instead by a side chair or at the end of a long hall can also be very pleasing. What you want to think about most is how that painting makes you feel and in what room do you want to feel like that? And also where do you spend most of your time in that room and is that place the best place to view your painting?

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Placing Modern Fine Art Sculpture

With the three-dimensional nature of modern sculpture, finding the proper space to display it may require a bit more thought. It really should be placed where it can be viewed from multiple sides to maximize its visual impact. At the same time, you should also take into consideration how the room layout flows, current furniture placement, and where people spend their time when they are in the room. For example, if it’s a dining room with doors on either end with a dining room table in the middle, the best place for a modern sculpture is the middle of the table where it can be enjoyed from either doorway and when sitting at the table. However, if this is not possible or doesn't make sense logistically, it might make more sense to place it on a pedestal in a far corner so it can be viewed from the table and can be a far focal when entering from one door. 

 

Placing Modern Fine Art Sculpture in a Living Room

For more complicated setups such as in a living room, you may want to consider what kind of focal point you want the modern sculpture to be. For instance, do you want it to be an accent piece in the background? In this case it makes sense to place the contemporary sculpture on an uncluttered bookcase with recessed lighting or on a pedestal behind a sofa or chair. However, if you would like the contemporary sculpture to be a focal point you may consider placing it on a large coffee table. In this case, you may need to consider rearranging the furniture to maximize viewing options so that when you enter the room it’s one of the first things that you see. 

Arranging Small Modern Fine Art Sculpture

In the case of smaller modern sculpture, I recommend treating them like precious accent pieces. For example, if you would like to place one on a side table I would make sure that it gets plenty of space on the table so it is noticed but maybe balance it out with a complimentary lamp of stack of books. If you prefer to place your small modern sculptures on a shelf, again, make sure it has plenty of space and is highlighted by your lighting system. If you have several like small sculptures, you could also group them on a pedestal, just make sure that they are at eye level. 

Tall Narrow Modern Fine Art Sculptures

For tall narrow modern sculpture, I highly recommend a pedestal or possibly placing it on a fireplace mantel if the mantel is wide enough. Tall narrow modern sculpture can also be really great at adding height to a room. For instance, if the living room, bedroom, or office that you would like to accentuate has an 8’ ceiling, strategically placed contemporary sculptures can redirect focus making the room feel roomier. However, for these situations it’s important that the table or pedestal that you place the modern sculptures on is low enough that the sculpture doesn’t end up appearing cramped. On the other hand, for rooms with tall ceilings, it’s important to make sure that a tall narrow modern sculpture doesn’t become overwhelmed by the height of a room. If the modern sculpture is very tall, then obviously that may not be an issue, but if it is possibly not quite tall enough, you may consider purchasing a tall pedestal that compliments the sculpture. The sculpture and the pedestal can then make a statement together. 

Lighting for your Fine Art Sculpture or Painting

Lighting really does do wonders. For my work in particular, I have found that a work of modern sculpture or a painting can look completely different in different types of light. 

The Right Kind of Light

Whenever possible I recommend, using natural light to show off your painting or modern sculpture. Most high quality modern fine art is made of natural material so it only makes sense that natural lights will bring out its best features. For example, my metallic glazed ceramic sculptures sparkle when placed by a window, but appear dull when under florescent lighting. I presume that the minerals reflect the light. However, for spaces without natural light I recommend installing natural light bulbs in your lamps, track lighting, etc. You can find out if bulbs are natural light bulbs by looking at the lighting facts box on the back of the package. Natural light bulbs should have somewhere around 3070k and should be on the warm side of the spectrum graph.

Giving your Modern Fine Art a Spotlight

For fine modern art, I highlight recommend installing a spotlight of some sort in addition to your current living room, bedroom, or office lighting. For paintings, overhang spotlights are widely available and do wonders for showcasing paintings. For sculpture, I recommend simple track lighting. Track lighting is great because the single bulb fixtures can be adjusted even if you decide to rearrange the room or slighting move the modern sculpture. Track lighting can also be used to spotlight multiple wall sculptures and really bring the entire wall to life. 

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