Artful Living

Good design is an art—Curate a more creative, emotion-infused abode with essential tricks of the trade

Written by Karine Monié  |  Photography Courtesy of Serena & Lily


Paintings, sculptures or photographs—art stimulates imagination and creates emotions. As a result, adorning a home with works of art—no matter the medium, style, or technique—is a good way to infuse it with energy. 

Following some guiding principles will help in shaping a space for decorating with art. For example, using simple materials such as wood, glass and concrete, as well as a white backdrop—especially on big walls—can highlight any piece. Lighting is also crucial.

Thanks to wall or floor lamps, direct or indirect light can enhance some pieces in a subtle manner and, when combined with personal objects and accessories, create a cozy atmosphere. Add functionality to the criteria to bring your home in line with your lifestyle, whether you have a family, roommates, or are part of a couple.

Choosing a theme—perhaps a certain artistic period, a group of artists that you like, or a feeling such as peace, happiness or dynamism you want to experience when home—contributes to a collection’s coherence. But having a special connection with every piece is important.

The home and lifestyle brand Serena & Lily offers contemporary pieces of furniture, textiles and artworks, with a California twist and a touch of color.

“Art should be personal,” says Serena Dugan, artist and co-founder with Lily Kanter of the home and lifestyle brand Serena & Lily, established in Northern California in 2003. 

“I believe in buying what speaks to you, regardless of whether you have the right spot for it, or whether it is considered ‘important.’ That piece may move rooms or houses over the years, be grouped with other paintings on a salon wall or live on its own, but it will stay a part of your household and will become a part of you and your family’s visual narrative.”

Now with retail locations across California, including in L.A. and Newport Beach (as well as in East Hampton, Conn., and Atlanta, Ga.), the brand founders say, “We believe that the formula for a happy home is different for everyone. It’s not about subscribing to one look or following a set of rules. It’s about trusting your instincts and making it up as you go.”

Experimentation paves the way for discovering your style and aesthetics, so changing the location of an artwork or buying a new piece can birth fresh ideas and develop another vibe. Finally, a home filled with art needn’t always be designed as a museum or an art gallery. Let it evolve with the rhythm of your life.

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