Using Art To Create Your Design Aesthetic

Updated: Oct 2, 2020


An interior room. A staircase is in the foreground with industrial pillars and a light wood hand rail. The stairs are white with a brown marble finish. The floor is beige carpet. On the wall in the distance is a large painting of an old-fashioned building. A cream bench seat is in front of it with a pair of gumboots on the floor and a black umbrella resting on the seat. A black industrial light hangs from the ceiling.

Image Source | Kelly Deck


If you’re unsure where to start with your home decor, using a piece of artwork as the focal point can be an excellent way to begin designing your room. With artists doing all the hard work of colour theory for you, drawing your room’s colours and styles from a statement art piece can create a cohesive, stylish design that you’re sure to love. Here’s our guide on how to use art to create your design aesthetic.



Use your artwork as the basis of your colour palette

A photo of a wall with five photographs of different sizes hanging in white frames with white matts. The photos depict an ocean, a ferris wheel, a fern tree and 2 abstract paintings. A brown wood and cane bench sits in front on a white floor. A multi coloured rug is in the foreground with colours from the photos - cream, aqua, pink. A white vase sits on the left with dried flowers.

Image Source | Brittany Ambridge


Are you drawn to certain colours but aren’t sure how to use them in a complementary colour palette? Picking an artwork that you really love and then drawing the colours out of it for your room’s theme can be a great way to create a balanced, cohesive look to your room. Don’t feel like you need to choose art with your usual colour choices either - go with your gut on your favourite piece and let it do the work for you.


A photo of a lounge room. A large abstract painting hangs on the wall with lots of colours in blocks - pink, white, yellow, green. A blue lounge is under the painting with pink, cream and mustard coloured pillows. A large round lantern-style light shade hangs from the ceiling on the left. A blush pink foot stool is in the foreground. A grey rug is on the floor.

Image Source | Kirsten Jackson


If your chosen artwork features lots of different colours, be careful not to go overboard in your colour choices. Pulling one or two complementary colours will help form the foundation of your palette without becoming messy or confusing. Pulling out a style wheel can be a great way to make sure your palette goes well together and you don’t pick colours that clash.



Incorporate neutrals to break up the colours

A photo of the corner of a room. Five different-sizes paintings hang on a white wall with black and white abstract prints. The frames are various thicknesses and coloured in black, gold and bronze. A white lounge chair sits against the wall. A cream lounge is on the right with two cream pillows. A wheeled side table sits in the corner. It is gold with glass selves. A vase with green plants sits amongst various alcoholic bottles on the top shelf, a stack of books is on the second shelf

Image Source | With Love From Kat


Anyone that’s read my blogs for a while will know I’m a huge fan of neutral colours. While too much white and black can become stark, using them as a base combined with your chosen colours is the best way to make a room ‘pop’. I personally love using taupe or beige in my decor, which looks especially elegant paired with deep tones such as emerald green, or can become modern and fun with lighter tones like blush and turquoise.


A photo of a hallway side table. The side table is panelled wood on the front with a white top. On top of the table is a gold lamp with a white oblong lamp shade, a gold artistic piece in the shape of a star, a teracotta pot on top of 2 books with a cactus inside, a turqoise notebook and a clear vase with pink flowers in it. A painting hangs on the wall above the table featuring a woman with pale skin and a pink bathing suit on a rock with the ocean in the background. The painting shows the body from shin to ankle, with a white matt and white frame. The wall is painted white and a chrome and glass door is on the left.

Image Source | Framebridge


For an added touch of sophistication, consider adding metallics like gold, brass, copper or silver into your palette. These work particularly well when paired with either subtle creams or deep colours such as dark grey and navy. Again, don’t succumb to shiny object syndrome and go too overboard - a few statement items such as book ends or metallic fixtures in lights and shelving can draw the eye without looking overbearing.



Juxtaposition is your friend

A photo of a wall. The wall is dark grey with 10 framed photos hanging on the wall. The photos feature a family, mostly wedding photos, in gold frames with cream matts. A side table sits under the photos. It has brass legs with a white top. Various plants and books sit on top and on a second shelf underneath.

Image Source | Krista Collard


Ever heard the phrase ‘green and blue should not be seen, without a colour in between’? While you might be tempted to use only colours from the same side of the colour wheel, getting too matchy-matchy can actually hinder the look of your room. Instead, consider choosing a few pieces of decor in a contrasting colour to add dimension to your palette and room.


A photo of a room. The floors are timber and the walls are white. A dark timber top desk sits against the wall with industrial legs. A wooden chair painted b;ack sits underneath on a moroccan style rug in deep red and faded dark tones. The desk is littered with miscellaneous items - an industrial lamp, a pen cup pilled with pens, stationery. A large painting hangs on the wall above the desk. It is in a black frame and features a waterfall with green cliffs. Half of a bigger painting is seen on the left, it is orange with part of a face. The rest of the painting is cut off in the image. Two small framed prints sit just above the desk underneath the largw waterfall painting. They feature faces.

Image Source | The Design Files

The same can be said for the style of your pieces. Follow the rules of style pairings to ensure your pieces go well together - so if your artwork is traditional, maybe use similar tones in your rugs and cushions, but make those patterns a bit more modern and streamlined. Remember also that lines and dots juxtapose nicely together, so if you have an abstract painting with a lot of clean lines you might like to pair it with a more traditional rug.



Do you have a statement piece you want to showcase, but need help with the rest of your design? Contact me today to discuss your aesthetic and together we can design the best room for you!


A millennial woman, residential interior designer based on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, Australia. She is wearing a white and grey tweed blazer with a white cami, jeans and black framed glasses. Her hair is dark blonde and she is smiling with her legs crossed and her arm rested on a marble and walnut side table surrounded by native Australian flowers and plants. A watercolour abstract painting in a matted and brass frame hangs on the wall behind her as do charcoal drapes.


Krista Collard Interiors is a full service design-build firm focusing on creating timeless spaces that honour sustainability and functionality across the Greater Sydney area.

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