There are two types of people in the world—those who keep their walls at home blank and empty and those who fill them with art. Although both parties can have good reason for their decision, those who keep their walls blank can often do so without it being a clear decision.
Look up from this article right now and take a look around your space—which camp do you fall into?
If your walls are blank, I’m here to convince you to spice up your living space by adorning those walls with art. If they are already full, I’m here to reassure you why you’ve made a fantastic choice. Either way, let’s dive right into the 7 reasons why you should decorate your walls at home.
1. Creating Your Space
Wherever we live, we want to feel that it is our home - it’s only natural as a human. Blank walls are a symbol of a space yet to be made home, associated with office spaces, stale hotel rooms, temporary apartments and houses for-sale.
By carefully selecting art or photography which you like and engage with, you immediately begin the process of making that space truly yours. This is because the selection of art you place up your wall will reflect you, your preferences and your current lifestyle.
If this adds some pressure for you considering what art to place on your walls - good! If an artwork makes it onto your wall you will see it each and every day, meaning it will need to be beautiful, intriguing, confusing, challenging or powerful enough to provoke a reaction in you each and every day.
"...a naked wall seems a missed opportunity to express one’s personal style and create an artful installation." according to an article published on The Wall Street Journal. "A painted wall absent of art of any kind seems not only a waste of prime real estate, but incomplete and unfinished."
2. Cultivating Change
Change is, for want of a better word, good. It inspires us to think differently, feel differently and come up with creative solutions. In such a way, changing blank walls to ones adorned with art enacts such a change which can change the very core of our experience at home.
However, to go one step further, I would suggest keeping such change alive even after selecting your artwork to adorn your blank wall. This would include changing the artwork on your wall, or their arrangement, periodically.
Such change not only refreshes a space, making you aware of how important and impactful a well-maintained space can be, but it also helps to keep you engaged with the artworks themselves. You would be surprised how differently you can react to an artwork depending on where it is placed in the house.
In keeping your engagement with the artwork alive, you can continue to reap the benefits of inspiration and challenge even after years of looking at the same artwork.
According to an article published by Common Cause Foundation, The Art of Life: how arts and culture affect our values, "Art and culture's core practice has the capacity to trigger reflection, generate empathy, create dialogue and foster new ideas and relationships and offers a powerful and democratic way of expressing, sharing and shaping values. It can help us build new capabilities and understand how to imagine and rehearse a different way of being and relating."
3. Making your Space Memorable
By creating a space that is uniquely yours, you create a space which becomes more memorable for both you and those who visit or live around you. In other words, you make your space more memorable.
We all have fond object-associated memories - be it a parents’ unique dishes, a table from a family member’s house or a piece of art that used to hang in a specific room. By creating these strong relationships between art and place, you can imbue art with your memories of place and time meaning if and when you experience that artwork elsewhere in the world (if it is a print, for example) all those memories of home will come flooding back to you, or those who have visited your space.
4. Cultivating Inspiration
Beyond memorability, by selecting unique, inspiring works of art to place on your walls you will actively be cultivating inspiration at home. This is due to the fact that a challenging, beautiful or intriguing artwork will always manage to pique your interest.
In this way, art becomes far more than mere decoration and instead acts as an intellectual stimulant provoking you to think, feel and stay mentally active.
In the words of Paul Klee:
“Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view.”
According to Jacob Devaney, the founder and director of Culture Creative, when you observe a profound piece of art you are potentially firing the same neurons as the artist did when they created it thus making new neural pathways and stimulating a state of inspiration. This sense of being drawn into a painting is called “embodied cognition”.
5. Creating a Vibrant Background for Your Life
While artwork can actively inspire and challenge its viewer, it can also act as a background for their life. However, one should not underestimate the power of a good backdrop! The colours we paint our walls, along with the artworks we adorn them with have profound impacts on how we feel, and the energy we bring to every moment in that space.
While this backgrounding of the art is only natural, having a particularly potent piece will always provide that extra piece of inspiration in those moments where you look up from your work, are struggling to find a work to say or are just looking for an extra kick of inspiration.
Dr Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at California University in Berkeley said: “That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.”
6. Creating Talking Points
When welcoming visitors into your home, they naturally look around and comment on things they like or find interesting. Artworks are a common site for such quips or discussions to emerge from.
In such a way, hanging artworks provides clear talking points for visitors, which in turn can output a whole lot of inspiration and challenging discussion as a result. And in doing so, it helps make your home space more memorable for them while even (potentially) inspiring them to hang art on their own walls!
According to Deccan Chronicle, one’s home should always be the most honest translation of their personality, and art is one of one the most personal mediums to showcase taste.
7. Challenging Yourself, Daily
While art can inspire you, it also seeks to actively challenge you. By viewing and reviewing the same piece of art day-in and day-out for weeks, months or even years you are likely to see many different things in the work—and thus get many different things out of it.
Perhaps, by looking at an outstandingly beautiful work or confusingly complex one over and over you will eventually figure out what it was that drew you to the art in the first place. Such a realisation could provide you with the fuel to further your own work, whatever it may be.
But even if you never figure that thing out, adorning your walls with mentally stimulating artworks can help you strive to better yourself and your work.
According to Professor Semir Zeki, a neuroaesthetics at the University College of London, when viewing art one considers most beautiful, the blood flow increases in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10%. This is the equivalent to gazing at a loved one. It tells us art induces a feel-good sensation direct to the brain
Blank Wall is Your Creative Space
In sum, it is clear that there are countless benefits to adorning your walls with artworks. Be it cultivating a homely environment or providing you with daily inspiration, artworks can help provide a certain pizzazz to every moment spent in a space. As such, one should never underestimate the impact they can have on a space or the lifestyle that happens within it.