A Room by Room Guide to Remodeling Your Home With Art
If our collection makes you feel a bit spoiled for choice, our room-by-room guide provides a specially curated selection from our vast collection of oil paint reproductions. Inside you’ll find advice on how to choose for different room styles: by theme, form, color, and size.
Due to many modern kitchens being all sleek, angular perpendiculars and dazzlingly clean-colored hues, the earthy warmth of a Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin still life provides an ideal contrasting balance. The aged grandeur of this eighteenth century masterpiece is a stark reminder of the primary ingredients needed for a perfect summer snack; a sharp knife, some fresh fruit, and a glass of liquor. Over a century later, Paul Cezanne used the still life form purely as a means of studying color, shape, and balance. He chose certain fruits, often peaches, for their complete lack of symbolic meaning, so the viewer could enjoy the glow of his healthy arrangement as purely art for art’s sake. But for a more obviously kitchen-themed painting, Jan Vermeer’s, The Milkmaid is the clear choice. Many of Vermeer’s most famous portraits of domestic life were staged in the same studio, beside the same open window, and often with the same models. It shows just how little was required in the seventeenth century to comprise a kitchen: just a jug, a table, and some baskets. We have a lot to learn.
As perhaps one of the trickiest rooms to decorate with paintings, posters, or wall hangings of any kind, we’ve started off our recommendation on a lighter note. Fernando Botero bathroom is perfectly proportioned, as is its occupant. Rather than painting a world of super-sized characters, Botero’s paintings expand everything within the frame. It is not the human figure that is larger-than-life, the toilet, the bath; even the concealed sink is over-sized, creating an artistic world of harmony in distortion. For more of a sense of poise, Edgar Degas’, Seated Bather Drying Herself reveals a woman lost in the dream-like world of the artist’s pastel palette, and the etches, smudges, and deft dabs of varied color would complement almost any bathroom style. Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, following in Degas’ Impressionist style, provides in his The Horse's Bath a feeling of glistening, refreshing sea air, summed up in the shimmering coat of the recently-bathed horse.
For the toilet, lavatory, loo, commode, or restroom: whatever you call it, we are recommending some stark, elegant, thoughtful, and most importantly small-scale canvases. If the walls of your water closet can only fit something tiny, then this collection of big things in small packages is the perfect solution. Monet’s Impression Sunrise was a revolution in paint, changing the way the art world painted light and form. It gave its name to the Impressionist movement but few know that this seminal and historical painting was only 20 x 26 inches in size. Pieter the Elder Bruegel’s 1568 masterpiece The Beggars is smaller still, requiring an intimate surrounding to address and contemplate this triumph of humility in the face of humiliation. Finally, Thomas Jones’s Wall in Naples was originally so tiny, at just 8,5 x 7,3 inches that we’ve recommended a slight increase in size to fully appreciate this bracing but deeply thoughtful study of the textures, shades, and varied colors of an aged wall in ancient Naples.
For many people buying paintings for the home, the Dining Room will be the most obvious destination for an oil paint reproduction. But the busy room that is more often than not the place that sees guests congregate, children sit down for dinner, and the finest furniture in the house displayed, will often already be full to bursting point with cabinets, wall-hangings, and bookcases; not to mention light-fittings, radiators, and the like. Our recommendations for the Dining Room have taken all this into account and chosen elongated, rectangular shaped paintings that would fit nicely between furniture or in tight spaces with restricted horizontal space. The Pre-Raphaelite movement and their followers had a taste for rectangular canvases, inspired no doubt by their love of medieval textiles, murals, and stained-glass windows. Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones wears his old-English fantasies on his sleeve in this painting, whereas John William Waterhouse uses the same format to explore an ancient Greek myth. But Alphonse Mucha gives us nothing but Art Nouveau glamour, with this remarkable pastel-colored 1899 advertisement for Moet & Chandon champagne.
Stage 5Boy’s Room
Painting, fine art, and cultural expression; just like perfume, does not have any gender. We’re not going to suggest Cowboys and Indians or heavy does of blue for a boy’s room. Instead, we suggest the graphic simplicity of one of El-Lissitzky’s Constructivist compositions. Over the last 90 years Constructivism has lost much of its original power to shock and disturb, now that its message of clarity and form has become well and truly part of the mainstream. Any parent knows the benefits of building blocks for infant development, and Constructivism is that spirit translated onto the canvas. For a dose of mystical magic and fantasy look no further than John William Waterhouse, who took the themes of the Pre-Raphaelites and combined them with the pleasing compositions of the Neoclassicists to create a visionary, pre-Cinematic visual world that still has the power to entrance viewers of any age. But for something iconic and Abstract, Paul Klee’s Squares with Concentric Rings is the clear choice. Taught by many teachers to their youngest generation of art students, Klee’s staggeringly simple expressive energy will get any child hooked on art.
Stage 6Girl’s Room
Again, we’re not going to suggest a whole host of pinks, ponies, and pixies. Instead, as a gift for a girl of any age, Lyubov Popova, another Russian Constructivist painter working at the same time and in the same style as El Lissitzky, completed in her short life a dizzying array of remarkable designs that blur the lines between propaganda poster, textile, and fashion design. Popova even turned her hand to designing hardwearing fashions for the new Soviet woman before the age of Stalin bought the triumph of the arts down to heel. John Singer Sargent’s Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is a stunning painting that has somehow crystalized and preserved the indescribable magic of childhood that, once gone, is almost impossible to properly rekindle. Maybe its in the throbbing lights of the Chinese lanterns or the concentration on the face of the young children, but Sargent’s love song to childhood innocence has an indescribable presence that has to be seen in the painted flesh to be understood. Finally, Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun is ideal for the young infant who, coming to determine shapes and colors by gazing at the painting, will grow up with the kind of magical imagination that Klee’s paintings invite.
Stage 7Home Office
In the past the Home Office was for the retired military man writing his memoirs, but now it seems everyone is a freelancer. With the stigma of working from home well and truly dispelled, lets consider some inspiring paintings for the erstwhile entrepreneur with the sense to ditch the inspirational cat posters. Certainly Jacques Louis David’s Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass was the first successful experiments at placing artistic prowess in the service of political will. This blueprint propaganda image turns Napoleon – love him or hate him – into a template of a self-made individual with truly global ambitions. Make up your own mind about Edward Hopper’s Office at Night. Is it an expose of the silence and desolation of office life, or is valuable document of the new social opportunities opening up to middle Americans in the 1940s? For the studious home worker, Gerrit Dou’s The Astronomer By Candlelight is a glowing reminder against procrastination. Look at the concentration and fascination on the astronomer’s face; what could be more inspiring than that?
Stage 8Man Cave
Ah, the Man Cave. Yes, it’s still around and very much an indestructible concept of home design. For the uninitiated, the Man Cave is a sanctuary for the man of the house who, having been allocated him own room, shed, garage, or attic, is free to decorate, design, and keep his space in the manner and condition of his choosing. The Man Cave can be a media room, a lazy study, a workshop, or all of the above. But one thing that unites any varied interpretation of the Man Cave; it has got to have Dogs Playing Poker on the wall. Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s iconic early-twentieth century caricatures were originally designed for a cigar company, but have in the last few decades earned legendary status in the American popular arts. A brief look on our website will show you that Coolidge’s series included far more than just dogs playing poker. His Bachelor’s Dog is perhaps an even better gift for the dweller of the Man Cave. But if the Cave is already wall-to-wall with Coolidge reproductions then try Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Jockey. The surging energy of the rider makes this work seem like its in motion, with the eye of the viewer balanced precariously on the horse behind, chasing the runners to catch up.
Stage 9Ma’am Cave
The Man Cave was always seen as a sanctuary for men who were not allowed much say in the design of the home. But times have changed, and now no doubt in some cases the roles have been reversed. So we present to you the Ma’am Cave, the sanctuary room for women to retreat to, away from the trials of family life, work, and stress. Tamara de Lempicka’s Autoportrait is an unquestionable classic of design savvy and elegance. This early mixing of Art Deco design and fine art seamlessly merges a self-portrait of the painter with the sleek lines of a new green Bugatti. Frida Kahlo’s classic and thoughtful painting What The Water Gave Me is a visionary interpretation of the mind’s processes of sorting, accumulating, and filtering memories. This mountain of trauma and symbolic celebration is pictured as the living thought processes of the artist as she relaxed in her bath. Finally, for the pomp, flourish, and all-out glamour of a woman in control of her domain, look no further than John Singer Sargent’s flamenco masterwork, El Jaleo. The hand gesture says it all.
Stage 10Game Room
If you’re lucky enough to have a Game Room, if its complete with a pool table or even just a table for poker and blackjack, then we have the perfect accompaniments to give a touch of elegance and grandeur to your décor. Vincent Van Gogh’s The Night Café is dominated by an elongated pool table, whose shadow provides balance to the stunning array of lights and shades on show. Painted in the town or Arles when everything in the painter’s life started to go very wrong very quickly, Van Gogh’s drinking den appears like a haven of relaxation away from his rapidly darkening reality. Caravaggio’s expressive and playful The Cardsharps should be a warning for any guests against the temptations of cheating. In bright, crisp, and precise tones, Caravaggio’s card-playing rogues indulge in a spot of grifting, with one of the player’s accomplices peering around at the other player’s cards and revealing his hand. Jean-Eugène Buland’s gamblers star back at the viewer in a curious manner. With a hint of melancholy and a heavy dose of caricature, these fascinating faces will no doubt stir some animated discussions deep into the long evenings spent in the Game Room.
If you’re choosing an oil paint reproduction to adorn the walls of your library or writer’s retreat then the choice is well and truly dazzlingly. From the Romantics to the Pre-Raphaelites, the literary world and fine art have always had a close relationship, with one feeding the other. However, rather than just choosing a painting with a literary theme, why not choose one that has played a seminal role in elevating the written word to the status of fine art? Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was commissioned by the erstwhile Irish Dandy Oscar Wilde to illustrate the French version of his controversial play Salome. His response, summed up most notably in this key scene in which Herod’s daughter clutches the decapitated head of John the Baptist, not only captivated the hearts and minds of a generation of bookworms but also kick-started the Art Nouveau movement in the decorative arts. If you have a corner of your home dedicated to literature then the chances are your bookshelf will feature at least something by the immortal bard of English letters, William Shakespeare, or if your tastes are a little bit more populist then this elegant front cover of the Jazz Age masterpiece 'But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes' will give your library a touch of Art Deco glamour.
Whether you have a grand staircase opening out onto a sumptuous reception, or a curved, boxy design replete with landings, this selection of paintings will bring out the best in transitioning between levels in your home. Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 Cubist masterpiece Nude Descending a Staircase is a triumph of dynamic movement, giving cinema a run for its money in achieving a kaleidoscopic snapshot of a figure in motion. It’s an obvious choice, but then again so is Tamara de Lempicka’s dapper Portrait of the Marquis d'Afflito (On a Staircase). Who wouldn’t want to meet this young dandy halfway up the stairs? But for those with a busy household, often crammed full with visiting family or party guests, Georges Goursat Sem’s The Grandstand Staircase at the Longchamps Jockey Club will remind owners of the social traffic jam often taking place on the staircase.
Stage 13Wine Cellar
Whether you are lucky enough to enjoy the controlled temperatures of a wine cellar or simply have a dedicated rack in your kitchen to house your favorite tipple, Albert Anker’s 1880 still life captures the timeless moment of rest and relaxation felt when you break upon a bottle and serve it with a small plate of something savory. Just imagine, if you have the spare cash you could even taste a vintage bottle produced at the same time as Anker’s painting. Edward Hopper’s windswept Wine Shop is an ethereal meditation on the incomparable pleasure of sharing a glass with your nearest and dearest. Any dedicated connoisseur will know that many of the traditions of wine, beer, and alcohol production come from medieval monks, who fine-tuned their talents during their lifetimes of monastic isolation and prayer. Heinrich Stelzner’s The Winetaster perfectly captures this dedicated palette at work.
For the hallway we’ve chosen to recommend this series of four paintings by Alphonse Mucha. The Prague-based painter was a formative incarnation of the Art Nouveau tradition, and based his distinct aesthetic on the traditions of Czech fairytales. An immensely popular figure in his day, Mucha’s prints remain a must-have for any traveller on a trip to Prague. His magnificent The Four Seasons series was originally commissioned by a chocolate company, as a high-class calendar to give to their customers. Split up into Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall, Mucha uses his trademark Art Nouveau beauties as allegories for the characteristics and personalities of the different seasons. Full of joy, playfulness, and humor, the rectangular dimensions of this series provide perfect balance and symmetry to a hallway, even one already crowded or jostled by incongruous light-fittings or doorways.
If you’ve spent a period of your life feeling like Hoyles the `Spider Champion of the Feather Weights', then perhaps you need A. Clark’s ignoble portrait in your gym to remind you why its best to keep up with the circuit. No doubt, Hoyles was a formidable opponent, but his pale pallor and the overcast skies of Georgian England don’t present the man as a paragon of human achievement. For that kind of unabashed perfection look no further than Gustav Klimt’s Allegory of Sculpture, a love letter to the ideals of classical harmony and balance all summed up in his generation’s idea of bodily perfection. But to really get the heartbeat racing and the motivation to push through the burn, Paul Serusier’s Post-Impressionist classic The Wrestling Bretons is a hardy study of tough, sinewy limbs, and vigor, all in a stark, simple, and undeniably classic style.
Stage 16Home Bar
From the green fairy of Absinthe to a fine vintage wine, artists are no strangers to a drink or two. Frans Hals liked to document the nightlife that raged throughout the glory days of the Dutch Golden Age. His portraits include colorful local figures as well as eminent traders and civil guards. The Merry Drinker is a fine example of the cultural importance that a bit of social drinking has always played in the everyday lives of Northern Europeans. Moving on a few centuries, Edouard Manet’s The Bar at the Folies Bergere captures Parisian nightlife at its most rowdy and refined, during the Belle Epoque era of the late nineteenth century. Painted in a manner intended to illustrate a mirror hanging behind the sullen-looking barmaid, Manet’s painting is a veritable time machine, allowing you to be transported back to the 1880s Paris. But in his inimitable Cubist style Juan Gris’ Beer, Glass, and Cards managed to combine that tricky balance of decorative charm and truly breathtaking artistic imagination, with multiple views of the listed items displayed on one spatial plane.
Stage 17His n’ Hers Bedroom
For those still head over heels in love, this fine selection for the master bedroom or bridal suite will rekindle memories of what’s come before, as well as the brave journey ahead. Edouard Vuillard’s In Bed is a classic, sleek, and minimal work that serves up a healthy dose of bedside warmth. The enveloping luxury of the bulky sheets would provoke anyone to leap into bed if this was displayed within view. To continue on the same theme, Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s In Bed magnifies the brushstrokes but doesn’t scale back any of the nocturnal warmth. The intimate gaze and look of contentment is without doubt one of the artist’s most heartwarming scenes. But for either a newly joined couple or those having enjoyed a whole life side by side, Caspar David Friedrich’s On the Sailing Boat is a beautiful allegory of hope and endurance. Friedrich’s ambitious couple sits with their backs to the viewer on the rim of a small sailing boat, twin passengers steeling themselves against the unknown horizon.
Stage 18The Vintage Salon
Previous generations can keep their Art Nouveau and their Art Deco, become this generation has it all, and more. The Vintage style is everywhere these days, and in its own shabby chic embodiment, it has even made it into the realm of interior décor. So, if you’re thinking of installing a rusted birdcage without a canary, or a winding table roughly hewn from an old oak, or a singer sewing machine missing some gears, then why not try a large-scale reproduction of a classic vintage magazine cover. Pierre Mourgue’s Two Strolling Gentlemen front cover from an old copy of Monsieur magazine is an ideal choice, as is one of Stanley L. Wood’s retro covers for Boy’s Own. But for that real vintage charm you need some military jingoism, a red cross, the stars and stripes, and a toothy young girl. The classic World War I poster I Summon You To Comradeship in the Red Cross has got it all and more.
Stage 19Home Chapel
If it’s just a small shrine with a candle or a full devotional altarpiece, if there is a part of your home dedicated to prayer then consider one of Francisco De Zurbaran’s thoughtful, intense, and deeply contemplative canvases. Zurbaran’s work was inspired by Caravaggio, both in his cinematic flair for light and shade, and his powerful eye for truly human allegories of faith. Agnus Dei, a pitiful lamb bound for the slaughter is a shocking and deeply moving stand-in for Jesus Christ, known to Christians as the Lamb of God. St. Francis Contemplating a Skull is a brooding exercise in contemplating the unthinkable; our mortal lives. While his Christ On the Cross may be a more traditional image of devotion, its sheer presence makes it seem to leap off the canvas and confront the viewer with its merciless sense of martyrdom and sacrifice.
Stage 20Sitting Room
Call it a lounge, call it a salon, call it the front room, whatever it is it is where family lives unfold. For this room a larger-scale painting is necessary to steal focus from the crystalline glare of the flat-screen TV. Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People will make you turn off the television altogether and lose yourself in the dramatic climax of this archetypal Romantic rendering of revolution. For a brighter, more vibrant color scheme, Kazimir Malevich’s High Society In Top Hats Relaxing from 1908 is a complex visual hierarchy displayed like a Japanese woodblock print. The lack of figurative detail and the stark outlines of the forms heighten the sense of caricature, and would provide years of fascination if hung in plain view. To end on a thoughtful note, if a warmer, more autumnal scene would match the existing décor of your sitting room, then Vincent Van Gogh’s The Red Vineyard is nothing short of a blaze of harvest shades. If this wasn’t enough, The Red Vineyard was the only painting that Van Gogh ever sold during his lifetime, leading the artist to die considering himself a failure. How consoling would it be if this stunning vision of peasant life hung in every living room across the world?