Top Tips for Curating an Art Collection

The pieces of art we collect over a lifetime illustrate who we are and what we value perhaps more than anything else we own. Sure, furniture can speak to our preference for traditional or contemporary design, but the paintings, sculpture, photography and objets d’art we choose to share in our homes offer glimpses into our soul.

In our ongoing Dare to Live series, we invite you to reveal yourself through your interior design. Here we’ll discuss how to curate and display those pieces of art that mean so much to you to give them the careful consideration and care they deserve.

Three-dimensional artwork blurs the lines between the piece and its viewer, inviting the eye and the mind to come closer. From free-standing sculpture to pieces that require hanging and mounting, 3-D art demands a precise attention to detail. Aspects to consider: optimal environment for viewing, availability of natural light and proper placement to appreciate the tangible qualities of the art from all angles.

The first question we ask when engaging with a client is to view their existing art collection. That allows us to make strategic decisions that create a cohesive design that lets the pieces really shine. We don’t subscribe to the tired notion that bold artwork should always be offset by stark white walls and nondescript furniture. Sometimes, a vibrant background is the best way to bring forward and showcase the hues of a vivid painting. Apparently, the Louvre agrees; the museum is known for pairing complementary interior wall colors with its priceless works of art.

You know what they say: Location is everything. We work with clients to assess the available vertical real estate in their homes to perfectly pair with their art collections. Make an opening statement about you and your lifestyle in a foyer. Hang something sultry and romantic in a bedroom. Provide guests with something contemplative in a powder room. It’s that thoughtful planning that makes a home interesting and worth living in.

Nothing throws off the presentation of artwork more than improper use of scale. Considering the size of a piece in conjunction with where it will be displayed is paramount to its overall effect. Large-format works look striking above a staircase to continue the upward motion. Gallery-style arrangements of detailed pieces tell an ongoing story in a living room where the viewer can take their time to ponder. Intimate settings call for small, intriguing pieces that could get lost elsewhere.

Finally, your artwork should evoke a feeling or emotion in each area of your home. To make a lasting impression on all who enter, choose subject matter that stimulates the senses and illuminates your intentions.

Artwork is such an integral part of not only a person’s home but of their beliefs, their dreams and their desires. The Inspired Interiors team is here to help you showcase your collection so that it’s truly a masterpiece of meaning and artistic vision.

The Art of Seduction: From Bedroom to Boudoir


Your bedroom should not only serve as your home’s sanctuary and your escape from the outside world, it should also be the place where you feel your most sensual. As such, your bedroom deserves thoughtful attention to the design and decor to set a seductive mood, whether you’re single, dating or happily coupled up. Follow the below interior design tips to create an enticing, enchanting ambiance that no one will be able to resist.

 

Put Away the Family Photos

For obvious reasons. As one of my clients once stated: “Don’t put my family photos in the bedroom; they don’t need to see what happens in there!” Rather, cover your bedroom walls in tactile coverings, paint with plush, thought-provoking colors and hang alluring artwork that portrays how you want to feel when ensconced in your luxurious lair.

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Set a Sexy Stage

I’ve seen many clients, particularly bachelors, make the mistake of not properly outfitting their beds. Make it the most inviting destination with proper (and plentiful!) pillows and soft and silky sheets. Obviously a high thread count is nice, but bamboo sheeting is a less-expensive but still-sensuous alternative. Top with a fluffy duvet that feels like you’re both sleeping on a cloud.

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Breakfast in Bed

An essential in the art-of-seduction arsenal? The breakfast-in-bed tea tray. Bringing your partner breakfast in bed on a beautiful tray shows appreciation for the activities of the night before and, perhaps, anticipation for the morning ahead. Coffee, tea or me?

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Keep it Red Hot with a Fireplace

If you have the opportunity to install a fireplace in your boudoir, by all means go for it. Nothing stokes the flames of desire like a fireplace, especially when paired with a Mongolian sheepskin rug and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Hey, if it worked for Burt Reynolds…

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Watch for Emily’s appearance on Fox 32 Chicago this Saturday morning, Sept. 29, for more inspired interior design tips for the bedroom and beyond!

Our Tips for Hosting an Unforgettable Party

There are really only two types of holiday hosts: the one who researches recipes during an August heat wave, has a linen closet perpetually stocked with freshly pressed holly-embroidered tablecloths and obsesses over individually placed pumpkins at each place setting (we’ll call her the “Monica Geller”).

Then there’s that rare creature who makes holiday entertaining feel effortless and stress-free by focusing more on creating meaningful moments than carefully crafting a five-course gourmet meal. (Editor’s note: We know there’s no such thing as “effortless entertaining,” only hosts who make it all feel effortless and, in doing so, put their guests immediately at ease. This is the art part.)

When we think back on the holiday memories that never fail to put a smile on our face, it isn’t the roasted turkey or Grandma’s china that we remember, it’s those times spent gathered around the dinner table laughing, connecting and reminiscing. In other words: It’s who’s at the table, not what’s on it. In our mind, the best hosts are those who take the time to set up those memory-making moments and allow that special brand of magic to unfold.

Here are our five favorite tips for getting the dinner party started and ensuring that the memories last long after the punch bowl is packed away.

1. Set the stage. Now’s the time to pull out all the stops. You don’t need to OD on red and green and tinsel, but if you’ve been collecting hand-blown glass ornaments or vintage decorations from the 1960s, make sure they get their chance to shine. Stage beautifully framed family photographs from past celebrations. Spin a festive playlist. And add generous dashes of plush textiles and glam sparkle holiday decorating is your home’s once-a-year chance to really show off.

2. Make your guests feel one of a kind because they are. Yes, gathering a diverse group of guests (especially if they’re related) carries a certain amount of angst. But, if you look past the differences and find the common ground, you’ll remember why you’re all there, together in one room. So, really, a lesson in navigating life itself.

3. Whip up a signature cocktail. Nothing says “this is a party to remember” than a cocktail crafted especially for the occasion. Have fun with it! Bust out those gold-rimmed martini glasses or Champagne coupes that have been gathering dust. Find a simple-to-prepare and easy-to-please recipe online. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or mini candy canes. Bottoms up!

4. Banish boring place cards. “Best smile.” “Class clown.” “Most likely to name drop.” Rather than seating guests by name (ho hum), choose stand-out personality traits (think of your high school yearbook) and let your guests suss out who’s who. This will surely mix up the seating chart in interesting and unexpected ways.

5. Craft creative conversation starters. Choose a question designed to draw out an interesting answer (“What advice would you give your childhood self?” “Who has been your biggest inspiration?” “What is the first thing you do in the morning?”). Write it on a piece of paper and tape it underneath one of your guest’s dining chairs. While you’re enjoying dessert around the table, ask everyone to look under their chairs for a surprise and let the chosen person have the floor. You just might be surprised at what you learn.

The Inspired Interiors team wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season filled with meaningful moments and once-in-a-lifetime memories. We’re looking ahead to 2019 when we will reveal our “Dare to Live” series exploring how design can help us all live life more fully. We hope you’ll join us on the journey!