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Interior Inspiration from Art History
Artists love beauty: they create and depict beautiful things in their work
Art Stuff 02 Sep 2021

Want to spruce up your space? Why not take a lesson from artists?

As we approach the colder, darker months we all need to be prepared to spend more time indoors. It’s beneficial for your mental health for the spaces you spend the most time in to bring you joy, so maybe now would be a good time for a spot of redecorating?

Artists love beauty: they create and depict beautiful things in their work. If you’ve got a space that’s looking lack-lustre, why not find inspiration from some of Art History’s greats? From statement furniture to ways to revamp your walls – we’re sharing some interior design inspo from your art world faves.

Colourful Bed Frames: Vincent Van Gogh 

Van Gogh’s bedroom in his Yellow House in Arles is one of the most famous interior paintings ever. We love the contrasting pop of colour the deep yellow bed offers the room. From the cradle to the grave, some form of bed is always our safe place for rest: make yours reflect your personality! The colours in this painting have changed during the 130+ years since it was first made, and the walls were originally much more purple than they were blue. 

Statement Clocks: Salvador Dali 

Now immediately recognisable world-wide, the melting clocks from The Persistence of Memory are perhaps art history’s favourite timekeepers. The Surrealists loved to think our subconscious and dream state, and these “soft watches” might be commenting on the passage of time in sur-reality. You can now buy wallclocks that mimic Dalí’s design, but any statement clock can really add something to a room. 

Fish Bowls: Henri Matisse

Matisse painted goldfish many times in his career, and often in a cylindrical bowl. Of course there have been technological advances in tank design in the last 11 decades (filters to stop the grime, lights, pumps), but there’s something so satisfying about the minimalism of this bowl. 

Fruit Bowls: Paul Cezanne

Cezanne created over 200 still lifes during his 40 year career. We love this raised dish, and these bowls are ideal places for your keys, decorative stones, potpourri, or fairy lights – not just fruit. Gauguin owned this painting and called it “an exceptional pearl, the apple of my eye” and we love the sense of luxury and bounty an overflowing fruit bowl can give your kitchen. 

Day Beds & Chez Lounges: Edouard Manet

While the title of this work – ‘Woman with Fans’ focuses more on the wall-décor, we love the luxurious daybed that Nina De Callais is reclining on. In there anything more glamorous than a chez lounge in the middle of a room, ready for you to take a dramatic swoon on? Having a day bed that doubles up as a sofa is also a great use of space, and handy for unexpected guests needing somewhere to crash. 

Wall Hangings: Chagall 

In the painting Marc Chagall floats above his fiancé Bella, who he would marry just a few weeks later. Bella wrote a memoir about her life and marriage with Chagall, and wrote about visiting the artist on his birthday and specifically mentions the shawls which were draped around the room. Fabric wall hangings can bring colour into a space, give it a softer feel, and help to separate the room into distinct areas.

Huge Windows: Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper’s paintings of often isolated individuals in the first half of 20th Century Americans regularly include enormous windows that help us to look in on his characters, or them to look out. Windows bring light into a space and can give the illusion of a room being much larger. These large windows allowed Hopper to play with his favourite part of composition: light.

Patterned Wallpaper: Edouard Vuillard

Edouard Villard was very close with his mother who was a dressmaker in Paris, and he lived with her until he was 60 years old. The artist grew up around beautiful patterns which inspired the bright wallpaper designs that often feature in his work. If you’re in a position to decorate the walls of your home, why keep them white? 

Author: Verity Babbs

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