Reviewing art for the office

Ideas for Decorating Your Office: Art-Shopping Tips

Inspiration for finding the right art pieces in your workplace.

Office managers are often tasked with updating the interior of their offices — and that includes buying new art. It can be a daunting assignment, even if you'll have help making final decisions. After all, art can represent a big investment, and it's likely that each member of your team will have an opinion on the pieces that eventually go up.

But it's also a great opportunity to leave your mark on the workplace and reinforce your company's culture. To get started, here are four ideas for decorating your office.

1. Look for Art That Reflects Your Culture

How people interpret artwork is always subjective. Nevertheless, you can find art with color and themes that reflect your culture and feel relevant to your business. Use your logo and the visuals of your branding as inspiration — if your marketing agency uses sleek gray swoops in its logo, for instance, you might look for art that complements that look. More "traditional" businesses, like banks, may want to convey steadiness — in that case, a still-life or landscape in the same palette as your brand colors might work well.

And remember not to restrict your artwork to paintings. Good photography rises to the level of quality art, as do sculptures, ceramics and other media.

2. Consider the Space Where the Artwork Is Featured

The best artwork makes a strong (and favorable) first impression. Beyond the piece itself, a lot depends on where and how it's featured. A lobby wall might be big enough to accommodate a larger-than-average painting with bold colors or other features that make a statement. In smaller spaces, like a modest-sized conference room, artwork should be smaller in size, yet still offer a sense of spaciousness. Seascapes or a view through a window can achieve this effect.

When it comes to displaying artwork, remember:

  • Less is more. One or two striking pieces of art is sufficient to make your office environment come alive.
  • Look for ways to angle lighting so as to highlight the artwork. Any piece that hangs in a darkened space is a potentially wasted effort.

3. Explore a Variety of Venues When Selecting Artwork

Art shopping doesn't have to be difficult. Start by asking your furniture vendor about their decor and artwork selection, or if they have any recommended resources for you — they likely have ideas and options that would blend well with the furniture they've already provided for your company. Online marketplaces also typically have a variety of pieces to choose from.

If you want to showcase your commitment to your community, buying an original piece from a local gallery is a great way to do it. Contact gallery owners in your area to get a sense for what they carry and the prices those pieces usually command.

4. Make a Sensible Purchase

It's a good idea to proceed with a budget in mind to help narrow your search from the start. Look for something that has a classic appeal and won't appear dated within a few years. Also make sure you get a wide variety of input about some of your top selections — what appeals to you may be totally off base for your boss, for example.

Ideas for decorating your office are often personal, but with the right help, you can find some pieces that create a distinctive, positive impression. Take your time to find the right artwork at the right price.