Buying art for a period property

Choosing art for a period property can be tricky. Read art expert, Andrea Maflin's tips on how to buy and hang art in modern, Victorian, Georgian and Art Deco homes.

Buying art for a period property

Allow the art and it’s subject matter to inject energy into a modern space. Be bold by incorporating over sized pieces. The positioning is critical, focus on the location of the artwork, to create an ultimate focal point. Create impact with images or canvases that naturally connect to the open plan space. Simplicity is key with understated framing and crisp white mounts, allowing the subject matter to breath in its own space.

The Victorian’s totally embraced and relished pattern and colour on their walls. This era requires a layered approach to displaying their works of art. What is required is an element of boldness, whilst being sympathetic to the subject matter and the room as a whole. I do not like to co-ordinate artwork with a room scheme as it is far to cliché, instead I like the subject matter to embody the feeling or mood of a room. Soft pastel shades relax, whilst darker shades can feel moody and intense. Married together with elaborate framing and layered mounts help to frame the artwork and allow a pause before the artwork begins. Consider a montage or a grouping of smaller pieces together or two or three pieces hung in a group on a focal wall

During the Georgian era the colours became lighter and paler. They became fascinated in fashion and interiors and entertaining at home also became popular. Artworks were hung in formal groupings, flanking the fireplace and creating a natural harmony and symmetry which they found very pleasing indeed. Well preserved Georgian homes are highly prized due to the pleasing proportions, original fireplaces, glorious light and ornate cornices made all the more attractive and to appear larger by their high ceilings. All of these elements are perfect for oversized pieces of art hung over fireplaces or opposite the feature wall, creating the ultimate in high drama. Modern expressive pieces will look striking and dynamic in such a refined space. Allow the colour palette to have a connection to the room scheme without mimicking, otherwise it will appear bland. Look around your home for large wall spaces that are crying out for some inspiration.

Art Deco is synonymous with theatrical contrasts and ultimate elegance, stylised images of aeroplanes, cars, cruise liners and skyscrapers. It remains a popular style today. Choose pieces that are inspired by, or complement, the shapes and materials of the era. Mirrored surfaces, chrome, wood and leather are all of the period, but gloss lacquer, spray-painted aluminium, and modern flooring will all complement the look. Art works were often displayed in pairs with simple styled framing, allowing the artwork to shine. The ultimate in glamour can be achieved by having a mirror fitted to alcoves or niches as a backdrop for the art. I often use artwork to create a window with a view to adding the colour to a neutral environment. Inject the all-important directional lighting to illuminate the art as this will enhance the intensity and importance of the piece of art.

For more decór recommendations, featured colours and helpful tips from Andrea, visit