I think we can all agree that the kitchen is where life happens. It's here that we have the important conversations; here that we laugh and cry and laugh so hard, we cry. This is where, when your soufflé collapses, maybe you do too, leaning on a friend (or loving pet) as you give in to the disappointment of failed confections and failed relationships. So it's strange — isn't it? — that this room which bears witness to our amazing-awful dance moves, our temper tantrums, and perhaps some steamy moments, too, isn't the first room that comes to mind when we think about displaying art.
The question, says Cristina Salmastrelli, director of the Affordable Art Fair, isn't why should you have art in your kitchen, but why shouldn't you: "Art makes your day happier by looking at it. It should be in the kitchen if you're in that room the most."
In other words, it's time to get rid of those posters you've had since college, and invest in something that you really love — something that defines you and becomes part of the conversation. She adds that buying art shouldn't be intimidating. Whatever your budget — from $100 to $10,000 — and whatever your kitchen size — from itty-bitty to palatial — there is something for everyone.
Here are her five tips for bringing art into your kitchen.
1. Stay away from sculpture.
Let's just take sculpture off the table. Your guests might not realize it's art and pick it up, move it around or, worse, accidentally knock it off the counter.
2. Give your art a protective barrier.
The largest shift in humidity happens in the kitchen, so anything that doesn't have a frame is also a no-go. Your art needs to be behind glass or plexiglass. There are actually a lot of wonderful photographers mounting behind thick plexiglass, which is ideal because the piece of work is secured, but in case splatter happens (or maybe a food fight), you can wipe it off as if nothing has happened.
3. Leave gray for the bedroom.
We know from all the studies that color affects your mind. Gray calms you down and helps you fall asleep, while yellow, orange, and red — those vibrant colors — excite the eye and the mind. If you have a thing for neon, put it in your kitchen; your mind will become awake, you'll think about new recipes to try out, or you'll take an old recipe and take it up a notch.
4. Think about placement.
Never put art above the stove. Also avoid putting art near coffee makers because of the steam — you might not think about it, but it will affect it. If you have a small kitchen, put a piece of art anywhere you think there should be a window. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a table in the kitchen, put it near there.
Related: hang your art at eye level. Everyone thinks that the right spot is where you need to tilt your head up, but don't hang it too high. However tall you are, have the middle of that artwork at your sight line.
5. Be brave.
In general, what I love to use the kitchen for is quirky art. A kitchen is a place where you're always taste testing, so take a step outside your comfort zone when buying art for the kitchen. I also think any artwork with flowers and food should go in the kitchen.
Each year there are 16 Affordable Art Fairs in cities around the world. The next one is March 30 to April 3 in New York.