There’s nothing like original artwork to add to your home’s atmosphere, especially when you’re stuck there. But art is expensive—so rent some! It’s a fun way to try out a new look without the price or pressure of a long-term commitment. Here’s how to do it.
Ask an expert
Many art-rental programs offer virtual consultations: You send in a description of your style and pictures of your space, and experts offer personalized options. At the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), coordinator Claire Kyle and the art rental and sales team curate a digital portfolio after clients fill out a questionnaire.
Remember that you don’t live in a gallery
Six-foot-tall paintings look amazing at the AGO but might not work as well in your condo. Sizing depends on whether you want something bold or just a little accent. Kyle says that, as a general rule, wall art should take up 60 to 75 percent of available wall space that isn’t covered by furniture or mouldings.
Consider the lighting
If there’s a wall in your home with good lighting, that’s a prime spot for displaying art. Just be mindful to not hang pieces in direct sunlight, as this can deteriorate and fade the artwork over time, says Zoe Mackoff de Miranda from the art rental and sales program operated by the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG).
Go with your gut
If a piece speaks to you, listen. “Finding a space for an artwork is sometimes secondary, and going with an artwork that you are really drawn to is a good way to start,” says Kyle. When browsing through options, try a process of elimination, weeding out what you definitely don’t want.
Switch it up again
Renting allows you to experiment with what you like and what works in your space. The whole point is to try something new, so you can’t really make a mistake, and Mackoff de Miranda says clients often swap out pieces seasonally. That said, if you fall in love and decide to buy, programs will often credit a certain amount of the rental fee (which is a percentage of the purchase price) toward making it part of your permanent collection.
Rental collections are separate from main-gallery ones. VAG art rental and sales, available in B.C., minimum one month, vanartgallery.bc.ca/art-rental-and-sales. AGO art rental and sales, available throughout Canada, minimum three months, ago.ca/shop/art-rental-sales.