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10 Go-To Art Styles for Decorating Your Wall

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 6 min read

There’s nothing like a piece of art to tie your interior design all together—by setting an atmosphere and making it feel more personal, art provides depth and elevates a space.

But for most of us, picking out artwork for our living room or workstation is easier said than done. After all, with dozens of major art movements out there, how do you know if you like contemporary art or if you should choose an impressionist painting instead?

A good first step would be to look into ten of the most enduring styles, which is exactly what we’ve compiled in this article for you!

After going through this list, you’ll have a basic grasp of the most popular styles of art that you can adopt in your wall decor, whether that’s for your minimalist home office or your hole-in-the-wall cafe.

Read on ahead to get inspired and discover your true personal style!

10 Styles of Art for Wall Decor Ideas

1. Landscape and nature paintings

Our natural surroundings are one of the most well-loved subjects in art, and many prefer displaying scenery of the environment in their homes and establishments compared to any other type of art style.

Who can blame them? The earth’s stunning landscapes range from lush fields and forests, majestic mountains, and rolling hills to crystalline lakes, vast deserts, and golden sunsets.

Living room with landscape paintings on the wall
Image courtesy of Rachel Claire (Pexels)

Nature and landscape art makes a room always feel fresh and brings the outdoors to your kitchen, study, and even your bathroom. Pick your favorite landscape or scene of nature—it can be a place on your travel bucket list, or even wildlife you’d like to see someday.

2. Modern art

Developed from the 1860s to the 1970s, modern art is classified more as a time period rather than an art style. It’s often characterized by strong lines and colors with an experimental aspect, rejecting traditional approaches. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is one of the biggest modern art museums in the world and is definitely worth a visit if you want to explore this art style further.

Apartment with modern art painting on a wall

A room with a sleek contemporary interior design is where a modern art piece would fit right in. But it’s also a good choice if you’re going for a classic look as this art style offers a unique perspective that complements a timeless design.

3. Retro art

If you’re styling a space with a big personality, then it would benefit a lot from retro art. This art style brings together bold colors and distinct graphical elements—think vintage movie posters, old signs and advertisements, and stylistic illustrations.

Retro art posters hung in a cafe
Image courtesy of furkanfdemir (Pexels)

Retro art is lively and expressive, and it’s a perfect way to make a statement through your wall decor. Hang it up framed or frameless in areas for relaxation and leisure, such as your bedroom and entertainment lounge, or the entrance to your home to maintain a fun and positive atmosphere.

Not sure how to hang frameless art? Check out this article:

4. Contemporary art

So called because it covers art that has been created as recently as in the past six months, contemporary art is ever-evolving. If you’re interested in the latest art trends and techniques, take a look at a contemporary art collection, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s gallery of over 1,000 pieces or the curations of art platform Contemporary Art Collectors.

Living room with contemporary artwork hanging on a wall above a couch
Image courtesy of Curtis Adams (Pexels)

You’ll notice that much of it showcases vivid colors and leans toward abstract forms. As such, a contemporary art piece is excellent for making a minimalist area pop and blends right into a newly built home or space.

5. Abstract art

You’ve probably at least heard of abstract art—after all, it deals with the most elusive of subjects, many of which are concepts and ideas that aren’t even based at all in the physical world.

Even so, art in this style resonates with many people, perhaps you too, especially if you appreciate what is beyond literal and not necessarily ‘real.’ As a result, it’s one of the most engaging and versatile types of art style and has become a staple in modern interior design. 

Abstract art piece hanging on a bathroom wall
Image courtesy of Max Rahubovskiy (Pexels)

You can style abstract art in virtually any room, and as the imagery challenges observers to form their personal interpretation and interact with a piece, it serves as a good conversation starter with guests in the living room or as a talking point over dinner with family.

6. Aboriginal art

Have you been looking for art with unique cultural roots? The traditional art of the Aborigines is an art form that doubles as a form of storytelling. It’s a memorable style of art that employs rich, earthy shades and mesmerizing patterns comprising small dots. 

Aboriginal artwork hanging above living room mantelpiece
Image courtesy of Derwin Edwards (Pexels)

This art style’s prominent detail warrants a space that enables observers to focus on the artwork and appreciate its beauty. The bedroom, living room, and bathroom are some great spots to showcase aboriginal art from several distance points. 

7. Impressionist art

Another art style used to convey stories, impressionist art is often cited as the first modern art movement and involves innovative representations of color and tone. Art in this style doesn’t rely on reality, but instead portrays the artist’s personal perception of the subject. Prominent artists who painted in this style include Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Alfred Sisley.

Impressionist paintings hung as wall decor in a living room
Image courtesy of Max Rahubovskiy (Pexels)

Impressionist paintings look stunning in open spaces, so you can hang them in the living room, patio, or entranceway to create a sense of time and place.

If you’re thinking of decorating your patio or backyard with art, there are a few things you should consider to ensure your valuable pieces are protected. Get started with this guide we made:

8. Pop art

Originating in the 1950s, pop art is an ode to all things pop culture and draws inspiration from films, comic books, music, advertising, and media franchises. For instance, if you’re an avid fan of, say, Star Wars or Marvel comics, pop art is dedicated to such cultural phenomena with a burst of color and stylish fun.

Pop art pictures decorating a restaurant
Image courtesy of Brett Sayles (Pexels)

In this way, pop art endears itself to all generations as it can blend in a kid or teenager’s bedroom, a young adult’s sanctuary, or the personal nook of a middle-aged professional. You can try hanging pop art in several design approaches, like minimalism, contemporary, or even retro.

9. Cubist art

Looking at cubist artwork, you might think that it has a significant abstract aspect to it, but on the contrary, it’s actually a form of realist art invented by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

You can recognize a cubist art piece by its geometricity—many pieces visualize their subject from various angles, which underlines the art style’s motivation for understanding and meaning. In other words, if you harbor a desire to explore the world beyond what it seems to be, then you’d make a good match with cubist art.

Cubist artwork hanging on a wall in a lounge area

Highlight cubist art pieces in the dining room or lounging areas to inject color and life in a thoughtful decor style.

10. Surrealist art

If cubist art is grounded in realism, surrealism flips the table around and pokes at reality and convention. It’s dreamlike, full of imagination, and, well, weird. But in a good, thought-provoking way. 

Surrealist painting as wall decor in a bedroom

Surrealist art, such as that of Salvador Dalí and Frida Kahlo, takes real-life objects and concepts and mashes them together in odd, fantastical situations divorced from reality. So if you’re looking to display it in your home or workplace, prepare to surprise guests and subvert expectations. 

Final thoughts

You don’t have to be an art scholar to make tasteful wall art decor choices. With this article, we hope we helped you discover the art styles that are to your taste and best suit your space. Now you’re one step closer to bringing your vision of the perfectly designed space to life.

Once you decide on an art style though, you might need some help with hanging up your artwork of choice. You can count on us for that, so feel free to leave a comment with your questions or thoughts.

Happy hanging!

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