Should You Match Art to Your Furniture, or The Other Way Around?

Art Your Furniture

Jennifer Adams loves to answer questions from readers of her books and fans of her Home by Jennifer Adams line of products. Here’s Jennifer’s response to C.B. about what protocol to follow when her daughter’s art doesn’t match the living room furniture …

Question: My daughter is an artist, and of course I’m proud of her. She shows regularly in the local galleries, so I’m not just biased as a mother – she’s really quite good! Recently she gave me a large work on canvas which I love, but the colors of the painting don’t match anything in my living room. Is that OK, or do you think I should reupholster the sofa to match?
 – C.B.

Well C.B., this is certainly a conversation that could start an argument! Some people are wired to think that everything in a room MUST match perfectly, while others take a much more relaxed approach to such matters. There have been plenty of times as a home designer that I’ve put things together for a client that don’t always match exactly, and these clients have ended up loved them. To be perfectly transparent, I’ve done the exact same thing in my own house from time to time, and I still love it! Mixing it up and not confining yourself to any one “perfectly matched” design box can make for an interesting and more lived-in look.

Hopefully the main colors in your living room are neutral, including the sofa, the chairs, and the carpet (if you have it). If this is indeed the case, this neutral setting will help create a wonderful backdrop for your daughter’s painting, just like a frame!

Choose one of your favorite colors in the painting and buy or make accessories in similar colors that will help tie everything together. If you choose an orange, for example, accessories in warm yellows and orange-ish reds will coordinate nicely without you having to work overly hard to match that exact shade of orange.

Cooler colors also have undertones that you can work with. Greenish blues coordinate with greens and teal, of course, and reddish blues coordinate with purple tones.

You probably know that throw pillows and blankets are a great logical place to start, but you can also continue with fun lamps, decorative objects like vases or bowls, candles, and even books or other art objects. Adding an area rug is another smart decorating strategy. Bring the colors in at the floor level with an area rug, then usher in the colors at eye level and higher with the painting itself and maybe some surrounding draperies. You want your accent colors to appear all the way around the room, creating a ribbon of color. This will help to create a more cohesive look between the painting and the rest of the room.

I don’t necessarily recommend painting the walls or redoing the sofa in a color to “perfectly” match the painting. Often times that ends up coming off a little too matchy-matchy. Try to keep it more organic, and just go with the flow. From my experience, when you surround yourself with things you truly love, they just tend to have a way of automatically going together better, anyway!

I mentioned before that throws and pillows are a great way to accessorize, and we happen to have a great selection of decorative pillows, signature throws, bed comforters, and coverlets in our Home by Jennifer Adams collection! We’re all about Redefining Soft and redefining interior design, and these luxury bedding items feel like they were custom-made just for you. We also have some nice items in muted colors and attractive patterns on sale you might like, as well.

Thanks for taking the time to write and ask for my opinion! I hope that this counsel will help prevent any unnecessary family stress or strain, and I hope you’ll find some practical suggestions that you can apply in incorporating your daughter’s art into the look and feel of your home.

– Jennifer


With a passion for design and comfort that stems over two decades, Jennifer Adams’ goals are to redefine soft, provide you with the ultimate sleep experience, and really help your home feel like a cozy, personal sanctuary. At Home by Jennifer Adams, we want you to love coming home.