Decorating Ideas

Our Favorite Ways to Decorate with Abstract Art

Our Favorite Ways to Decorate with Abstract Art
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Abstract art can express an endless variety of moods, fading softly into the background or taking charge of a room with bold color and form. So whether your style is traditional, modern, rustic, or somewhere in between, there’s a way to beautifully incorporate abstract prints and paintings into your decor. Not sure where to begin? Read on for a few of our favorite foolproof strategies.

Create a Colorful Focal Point

Abstract art is a perfect choice when a room calls for a colorful, oversize piece. The open-ended subject matter won’t dominate a room’s narrative, while the eye-catching composition—whether geometric, fluid, or painterly—will help create movement and depth in the space. Colorful abstractions pop against while walls, but we love them against richly hued backdrops too.

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Artwork by David Grey (shop here); photo by Frank Tribble.
 

Artwork by David Grey (shop here); photo by Frank Tribble.

 

Artwork by Janaina Tschäpe; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Artwork by Janaina Tschäpe; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Go Bold with Black & White

When you want to make a statement without adding any more color to a space, a black-and-white abstract work will almost certainly do the trick. When choosing a piece, think about the kind of energy you want to create in the room: a monolithic form can feel solid and grounding; a wild splatter adds upbeat energy; a graceful line drawing lends romance and intrigue.

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Artwork by Paule Marrot; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Artwork by Paule Marrot; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Think in Twos

A simple trick for making almost any abstract work feel at home? Give it a companion. Whether hung side by side, stacked vertically, or displayed flanking a doorway or a piece of furniture, a pair of abstract works will feel intentional and balanced. The key is keeping the size and framing consistent, so that the artworks appear as a cohesive set even if the colors and forms of the compositions vary.

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Artwork by Matthew Caughy; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Artwork by Matthew Caughy; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Leslee Mitchell.

Photo by Leslee Mitchell.

Keep Colors Complementary

Abstract art doesn’t always have to scream for attention. For artwork that subtly (and beautifully) sets off the rest of a room’s decor, stick to colors that already exist in the space. You might choose an abstract painting with a ground color that matches your walls, or pick art that echoes the hue of your sofa upholstery or bedding. Either way, the edginess of the artwork will ensure the look feels modern rather than matchy-matchy.

Artwork by William McLure; photo by Frank Tribble.

Artwork by William McLure; photo by Frank Tribble.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Give It the Gallery Treatment

Abstract artworks play nicely with other genres, from traditional landscapes to portraiture to figurative prints, so don’t hesitate to incorporate them into a new or existing gallery wall. A few tips: Stick to a limited color palette (all cool tones, only black and white) for cohesiveness; keep framing colors and materials similar; and incorporate a mix of sizes and mediums for interest. As for placement, we love hanging gallery walls in large and small spaces alike—they’re as perfect for filling a large expanse of wall as they are for making a petite powder room feel special.

See more ideas for gallery walls →

Photo by Leslee Mitchell.

Photo by Leslee Mitchell.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Photo by Lesley Unruh.

Contrast Modern with Traditional

Nothing sets off the avant-garde beauty of abstract art like its decorative opposite. Intricate carving and gilded details; classic mahogany furniture and silver serveware; crystal-adorned lighting and porcelain accessories: Such pieces make perfect foils for bold geometric prints and ethereal abstract paintings. For an even more unexpected contrast, place a modern piece within an old-fashioned frame like the example below.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte.

Artwork by Ray Kass; photo by Tony Vu.

Artwork by Ray Kass; photo by Tony Vu.

Design by Danielle Rollins; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Design by Danielle Rollins; photo by Lesley Unruh.

Embrace Color-Blocking

When a room needs a dose of serious color without a lot of busyness, consider a color field abstract work. Whether the color is flat and uniform (à la Ellsworth Kelly) or rich with painterly depth (think Rothko), color field artworks have an impact that belies their simplicity. These pieces (including our own collaboration with Pencil & Paper Co.) also work wonders in multiples for a color-block effect.

Discover the Color Studies series →

 

Artwork from the Color Studies series by Pencil & Paper Co. (shop the exclusive collection here); photo by Tec Petaja.
 

Artwork from the Color Studies series by Pencil & Paper Co. (shop the exclusive collection here); photo by Tec Petaja.

 

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