Should Artwork Match Your Walls? Here’s the Answer!

Color911 watercolor painting artwork Amy Wax

 When decorating a home with artwork, a lot of people choose pieces that exactly match the color palette of their home. There are many theories on this topic, and people come to this with very strong opinions!

Understandably, if they have recently finished a refurbishment project – either on a new home, or doing up an old one – then they will have spent a good amount of time and money on furnishings, paint or wallpaper. They would also have spent hours pouring over catalogs and in home improvement stores matching window treatments, blinds, furniture, and soft furnishings to their chosen color scheme.

Not surprising then, that they extend this “must match” attitude to artwork. They assume that if the walls are pale pink, for example, then the artwork must be a shade of pink too, especially one that matches any cushions or rugs in the room. Well, experts say that if you’ve been trying to match artwork color to the room, it’s possible that you’ve been doing it all wrong.


Should it match? Here’s the answer.


  1. The most important reason to hang artwork on your wall or bring it into your home is because you love it. By limiting yourself to pictures that match, you are denying yourself of the fulfilling experience of hanging art because you find the piece satisfying, or exciting to look at.



  1. Hanging up artwork, is a way of showing off your personal style. It can be difficult to find artwork that uses the exact color scheme you are working to. Then, if you do find a piece or two that “matches,” you may not like the piece itself, or it may be out of your budget. Don’t go ahead and buy it, this is definitely not an efficient or satisfying way to express your style.



  1. Artwork is not “supposed” to match. Hey, it’s your wall. You can put whatever you want on it. You can think of hanging art not as decoration, but to draw attention to a focal point in the room. For example, above a fireplace.



  1. Matching artwork to your home is seen as “tasteless” by many. Harsh, but many people think this way. Often, pictures that “match” are paintings of flowers or depictions of bland scenes. I implore you not to compromise your artistic preferences in favor of a lukewarm piece that matches a color in your home.



What would you do if you inherited a Picasso or a Gauguin that “didn’t match your existing décor?” I don’t think that many people would refuse to hang it on the grounds that it featured the wrong colors.


Artwork Is Priceless!


A real painting by a real artist that moves you is worthwhile. Artwork is often considered pricess because of the emotional value it adds to your home.  It is likely to keep you looking at it for years to come. This is far better than a print of a flower that becomes passé almost as soon as you’ve hung it on the wall. There’s a reason stately homes have their family portraits above a fireplace in the main reception room. It’s the place people will gaze at the most, especially during long winter evenings spent as a family in front of the fire. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful portrait of their loving family gazing back at them? And unless your family has a particularly rosy complexion, they are not likely to match your blush walls. It is more about the emotion that the image or images provoke, than whether it matches your decor.


Love your choices.


So, when choosing artwork, go for pieces that evoke an emotion. Take home a painting or drawing that makes you smile every time you look at it. The more you love the piece, the longer you will enjoy seeing it hanging in your home. It will be well worth it to look at artwork that pulls on your heartstrings. It will be worth the time to shop for it, and add artwork to your home that you absolutely love, whatever color it is!



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About the Author: Amy Wax

Amy Wax, creator of Color 911®, is an artist and experienced color consultant, recognized for her expertise in the world of color and design. Fifteen years ago, Amy created Your Color Source Studios, Inc. a company specializing in the architectural application of color. Amy has received numerous awards for her color expertise.

Learn More About Amy


  1. Janice Tranos says

    Hi Amy,
    This is such a great subject to have a conversation about and so appreciate your views as designer & color consultant and more importantly a lover of ART.
    I believe there is the quest to “match” on every level…but rather than match, my guidance would always be to look for the cues’ that already exist in your life. I am thrilled when art is part of a collected life and use its personality and persona rather than assuming the colors as exclusively dictatorial.
    The beautiful watercolor that you showed here has a vey delicate feeling and I could see myself building an aesthetic around that feeling rather than color.
    Grateful for your work,

    • Color911 says

      Thank you for your great comment Janice. I love when art is a part of our lives! We should look at it as a creative piece with a story behind it, not just a collection of colors!

  2. says

    Very timely for me. We recently bought a new home and I have told my husband very firmly that we will only hang art we love. The problem is he has a very “everything must match” worldview. I will have him read this post as part of my campaign to loosen up his limiting decor sense.

    • Color911 says

      Congratulations on your new home Christine! This is a challenging topic which is why I wanted to discuss it on the blog. Whether the artwork matches your decor or not, you should love every piece of artwork you hang in your home, that is of utmost importance. I hope my blog post helped clarify your design goals!

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