A Couples’ Guide To Buying Art

So, the decorating is done. But now you have to find something to hang above the couch that won’t leave you broke, make you fight or cause chichi art snobs to snicker at you. Here are some simple dos and don’ts.

DO buy what you love. Figuring out what you both love can be difficult, so research before you purchase by visiting galleries and talking about what you see.

DON’T go “art shopping.” Deadlines turn collecting into a chore. Instead, gallery hop and have lunch in a funky neighborhood. If you see something you love, great. If you don’t, you’ve still had fun!

DO frequent art shows and auctions. Local newspapers and art mags list what’s happening in your area. Student and open-air public shows are great for the range of work and the prices.

DON’T lose sight of your budget. In art, size matters. You’ll pay more for a larger piece due to material costs. Media matters too–watercolors are less expensive than oil, and charcoal cheaper still. Finally, you’ll pay more for a known artist than an emerging one. If you’re not planning on dealing art as a money-making venture, ensure the asking price reflects the piece’s value to you.

DO save up to buy the perfect piece if it’s outside your budget right now. Until then, hang rugs, plates or reproductions. But don’t spend big money on temporary fixes!

DON’T talk yourself into buying. You’re the one who will have to live with your art. Don’t like a piece? Say so. Will it clash with your couch? Admit it! And walk away.

DO invite your friends to a painting party. Stretch canvases on your floor, pass around cocktails and paintbrushes and let them go all Pollock on you. You’re bound to have some frame-worthy selections and the beginning of a very personal collection!

Image(s): Kagan McLeod

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