Being responsible for managing a commercial space means doing more than just maintaining a regular maintenance cycle. To attract tenants, one must ensure office spaces are both well-maintained and well decorated. Art is a great way to highlight any space’s features, and to give it a professional finishing touch. Here are 5 foolproof ways to pick art for your office block in a way that keeps your tenants happy:
Start with a strong foundation
Behind great art is a well-painted, and well-lit wall. Without these foundations, any piece you display will look messy, or worse, like an attempt to cover up a place in bad repair. Use our colour picker tool to help choose a classic, neutral colour palette with wide appeal and give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Then make sure your lighting is functional — bright enough for a workspace, but preferably not fluorescent! You don’t need gallery lighting, but aim for a balance between crisp and clinical. With the basics prepared, you’re ready to dress your walls.
Know when to leave a wall bare
Not every wall invites an art piece — a busy person appreciates the “visual breath” a bare space provides, as much as they do the stimulation of an image. Choose your display walls carefully, or even consider a special finish that turns the wall itself into a feature. Polished plaster is a way to achieve that effect, especially in small spaces like a corridor. Special finishes, used sparingly, can give a space visual interest, without becoming overwhelming.
Tip: Walk through your office space systematically, and identify which walls lend themselves to holding a few works of art, which are best left blank, and which would shine as features with a special finish.
Consider your “audience”
Decorating choices that aim to please everyone always fail. When choosing pieces for your walls, the trick is to strike a balance between wide appeal and targeting the people who are most likely to spend the largest amount of time in the space. When renovating the space for new or existing clients, consider what kind of business they run, their brand personality and company culture, and who their main clients are. You may even like to give them a shortlist of pieces they’d like to choose from (it’s a great way to make tenants feel appreciated). If you’re doing up a space in the hope of attracting new tenants, take a moment to picture your ideal fit and furnish the space to attract them!
Don’t limit yourself to one size or medium
When dressing wall space it’s easy to picture a canvas or framed image hung flush on a wall. Remember that you’ve got a range of choices. If the nature of the space lends itself to the more traditional “painting and picture” variety of art, you’ve got paintings, photos, various print styles and even tapestries to choose from. Create visual interest by experimenting with different sized canvases to create composite shapes, showcasing pieces made in complementary mediums together. The trick is to ensure it fills ⅔ - ¾ of the wall, with the centre at eye-level. When you have a little more space, consider adding sculpture to create a focal point.
Quick tip: Sculptures are great for lobbies.
Stick to a theme
Choosing a unifying theme for the entire office space is a foolproof way to ensure your experiment with different sizes and mediums doesn’t end up making the space look like a dog’s breakfast. Choose a theme that will appeal to your existing/prospective tenants. Works could have a common subject, or style, or be created by the same artist. Take time to explore what could work — a mood board is a great place to try out different pieces and draw thematic connections between them. Create one in hardcopy, or compile one on Pinterest — select pieces that are connected through something as simple as a common colour can lead you to more complex thematic connections in time.
But, as we mentioned, there’s no point in doing any art selecting if you haven’t prepared your walls properly. When you’re managing multiple office spaces, it’s probably a good idea to get a reliable team of commercial painters to help. At Barker-Whittle, we’ve been painting the walls behind Perth’s office art for more than 40 years. Contact us and request a free, no obligation quote — you’ll be surprised how affordable it can be to lay the foundation that shows off your art to best effect.