Review: 'Art and Interior Design' Talk by Donna Jones

  • 7 April 2017
  • Sarah Holden

Thank you to all who came to Donna Jones' talk, 'Art and Interior Design' at our Auckland gallery on Wednesday night, despite the less than favourable weather! For those who couldn’t make it we’ve put together the main points and tips of Donna’s fantastic talk.  

Donna runs her interior design consultancy The Design Option and is an expert in all things interior design – furnishings, colour schemes, decorating, and more. She has worked on many residential projects including new builds and renovations, as well as some commercial projects. Often she will source new artwork for clients to decorate and personalise a space, but she also works with existing pieces to maximise their effect in a space.

For her ‘Art and Interior Design’ talk, Donna began by discussing the reasons for buying art. Everybody has different reasons, but factors to consider include:

  • As an investment: Art often appreciates in value and many people will collect art for this reason. Art auctions are a popular place for reselling coveted and collectible pieces.
  • To finish off your home: Perhaps you are renovating, or you just need to add a little something to complete your home. Art is an excellent way of bringing some life and visual interest to a space, and can be worked with in many different ways to achieve this.
  • Support young talent: The Little Gallery is proud to support New Zealand artists, and provide a space for both emerging and established artists to exhibit. Our clients love that by purchasing art from us, they are supporting local talent and are able to see the development of artists’ work over time.
  • Because you love it: Donna stressed the importance of our personal connection with art. The best reason for buying a work of art is simply because you love it! Even though we can’t always explain why we are attracted to a particular piece, that connection is something money can’t buy and ensures you will enjoy having it in your home for many years to come.

Donna then moved on to talk about ways of styling artwork in your home. This can often be a challenging process but by considering simple methods and rules of arranging, you can achieve a beautifully styled, balanced interior.

Grouping art

Art comes in many forms – paintings, prints, sculpture, glass and more. The challenge of putting them all together can be daunting but interior design ‘rules of thumb’ are a great way of tackling issues many of us face such as walls that are too large or small, things that look ‘out of place’ or achieving a general cohesiveness and flow in our spaces.

  • Repetition: Simple but effective, using repetition can be an often inexpensive way to fill a space and create visual impact. Donna used the example of our popular concrete orbs by Gary Brooks – grouping several orbs together on a coffee table or mantelpiece creates a striking statement and is easy to achieve. Alternatively, you can group several wall pieces together that have a feature in common – such as the same colour frame, or a similar colour palette. This will ensure the grouping is harmonious. They don’t all have to be the same style of work either! Mixing up canvases with frames creates visual interest and asymmetry is an effective way of balancing out a wall.
  • Size and scale: It is important to have the right sized piece for the wall! Having artwork that is too small for the wall will drown its effect; too big and it will look out of place. Donna recommends large singular statement pieces for a large feature wall, and making sure all pieces have enough ‘breathing space’ around them. If hanging multiple pieces on the same wall, you can try different sizes and formats – landscape, portrait, or even round – for impact. This is how we arrange our walls at The Little Gallery, so you can come in to see how it’s done!
  • Formal balance:  Often when putting pieces together, Donna will work with odd numbers – clusters of three or five, but depending on the artwork, pairs or a symmetric grouping of four can also work well. This rule can apply to wall works as well as sculptural pieces!
  • Display methods: Displaying your art in an unconventional way can be a great way of personalising your space. Setting frames on rows of shelves or hanging ceramic plates on a wall forms a unique display and is a fantastic way of maximising the use of space in smaller interiors.

Professional hanging 

Donna emphasised the importance of getting work framed by a professional framer. The right frame makes a huge difference to the look and quality of the finished work, as well as prolonging the life of the piece. With her projects Donna has a specialist art hanger who ensures all pieces are installed correctly so that they look their best in the space. If you prefer to hang your pieces yourself, ensure you use good quality fixtures and a spirit level to achieve a straight and balanced result.

Finally, Donna points out – art has no rules! Often the best effects are created when you break the rules and do the unexpected when it comes to displaying art. She encourages us all to try something new when hanging our next piece, or try rearranging what we already have.

A warm thanks again to Donna for providing such useful and insightful tips, and giving such an inspired talk. We thoroughly enjoyed your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge and hope our guests did too!

Our next event at The Little Gallery is the opening for ‘Hatched,’ our much-anticipated Easter group exhibition! See here for more details. 


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