6 Tips on buying your first piece of art for your home

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If you’re anything like me, then plain white walls are your safe place.

Sure, the idea of a bold, watercolour mural (à la Shameless Maya) may be exciting in theory but could I actually fully commit to all that colour on wall? Maybe.

Maybe not.

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Shameless Maya’s watercolour mural in her studio apartment

Regardless, what I have come to appreciate is that art can really help transform spaces and dress your walls to suit your mood, style and personality.

But because I haven’t spent many a days studying the intricacies of the famed Mona Lisa or staring pensively at new abstract pieces at local art galleries, I decided to do a little research that will help newbies like me figure out where to start.

Dressing your walls

There’s no better time to start building your collection of timeless art than today. They may not be Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper but they sure will be able to tell a beautiful story of your journey.

Besides, if you get a really quirky one, it could also serve as a conversation starter and keep awkward moments at bay. A win-win if you ask me.

Here are 6 tips for buying art for your home.

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1. Figure out what moves you

This is your chance to really express your true quirks so go for something that speaks to you and moves you. Let your personality shine through so don’t feel the pressure to only pick pieces from renowned artists – even when it’s not really you.

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2. Consider the mood and style of your home

Assuming you used tip #1 when decorating your home then you’re already off to a great start and would know what to purchase and where to place it. But if it’s your first home then take some time to really think about what you want your home to say about you and make sure the art reflects that. Are you looking for something minimal, graphic, comedic, dramatic, monumental…? If you have a better idea of what you want then it will help as you start your research.

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3. Set a budget 

Are you looking to spend Sh5,000 or Sh5,000,000? Do you want an investment out of this or something stunningly beautiful to gawk at every day? You may want to visit your local galleries to get an idea of what interests you and the price points. This will help you set the budget and perhaps save for the piece you’ve been eyeing. But just remember, you don’t need to impress anyone so if something you saw on the charming alleyways of Lamu caught your attention at only Sh500, then buy it! Art is for your pleasure.

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4. Do your research

Don’t just purchase the first piece you saw in the first gallery you walked into. Take your time to see what else is out there and go online in case there are some interesting pieces that may tickle your fancy. If you’re looking to invest in art then you may want to also research on upcoming artists and styles to get the most out of your money.

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5. Ask questions

There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to gallerists, collectors or artists for some advice. You want to try and build that relationship so that they can help keep a look out for what your after. You may end up learning a thing or two about art and how to critique it which may make this journey all the more exciting for you.

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6. Document the purchase

You’ll need to keep track of all your invoices and receipts – especially if you purchase an investment piece. This kind of documentation will help appraise the art and determine its resale value. If possible, get a certificate of authenticity and keep all documentation safe.

Happy art hunting!

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Sharon Mundia

Sharon Mundia is the author of the award-winning, personal style blog, This Is Ess. As a fashion fanatic, beauty lover and home decor enthusiast, she will leave you wanting to revamp your closet, home and life in general.

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