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How To Choose Art For Your First Apartment

Aboriginal Art for Interior Designers

Maya Anderson edits the interior design blog, House Nerd. We asked Maya what advice she would give someone who would like to incorporate Aboriginal art in their first apartment. Here are her tips.

If art is important to you, what is the wall colour you should choose?

A lot of people will say if art is important to you, then white is the wall colour to go with – and it’s not a bad idea because ALL artworks will look great against white. If you are going white on your walls, I would suggest you go with a cooler white as opposed to a warm, pinkish or creamy white. Some lovely cooler whites include Bauwerk Whitewash and Dulux Lexicon or Dulux Vivid White. They look so crisp and clean and Aboriginal artwork will look extra-beautiful against them. However older homes do sometimes tend to suit warmer whites (such as Antique White) so if that is the case in your home, maybe an Aboriginal art with warmer colours may suit your home better.

That said, I think it’s wonderful when people embrace colour on their walls and it can really make a room sing! So if you love colour on your walls, go with your gut. There are so many talented Indigenous artists around these days with so many different styles that you’ll find something that goes with the wall colours you have.

If you only have one feature painting, which room or wall should it go in?

Your dining or lounge room. For sure. Why not have it in a place where you can enjoy it as much as possible? We rotate our favourite art pieces through our main living areas and our entry foyer.

You’ve chosen two Japingka works, what do you love about them?

Bambatu Campbell Napangardi  |  Women’s Ceremony
Jap 013163  |  $240  |  acrylic on linen  |  30 x 30 cm


Bambatu Campbell Napangardi Painting - Womens CeremonyBambatu Campbell Napangardi – Women’s Ceremony


There is something so striking about this one. Love it! At 30cm x 30cm it’s not too large, so in my own home I would have it as part of a gallery wall with other artworks that complement it – I think it would look so beautiful with lots of other neutral and black and white art pieces and photographs with timber frames and big, chunky white matte boards. Or I’d hang it as a standalone piece hanging above a bedside table. I love the colours – they are versatile so you could move it all over your house and change things up.

Betty Mbitjana | Awelye
Jap 013043 | $520 | acrylic on linen | 60 x 46 cm

I have a thing for blues in our house and I really like this piece by Betty Mbitjana. There’s something fun about it – I think it would look great hanging above a dining setting or in a living room. I think it is gorgeous and modern and feels a bit playful.

Do interior designers have any tricks they use to choose art for interiors?

One of the best tips I have heard is to use an art piece as a ‘jumping off’ point for a room theme. Similar to starting with a patterned rug and choosing furniture and homewares and art based around the colours of the rug, you can use a beautiful big piece of artwork to use as a base for your colour scheme. Choose accents like cushions, vases, textiles, a feature chair. I don’t think you can go too wrong. It’s a fantastic way to choose accent colours for a room that all work around the art piece, which becomes one of the main focal points. What I often do is carry around photos of a room in a folder on my phone. When I’m out and about at stores, I can refer to the photos easily and see if something will suit.


Interior Design Wall Art Choice In HouseThis home designed by Etica Studio featured here. Photo by Red Images Fine Photography


What size of art is best suited to apartment living?

Because apartments tend to be small and generally have lower ceilings, I would say bigger is better. One big piece of art will generally have more impact and wow factor than a gallery wall of smaller pieces, and can actually make your space feel larger. If done well, it makes an apartment’s interior design scheme more cohesive.

Is there a style of furniture that works best with Indigenous art?

Indigenous art is pretty versatile, so I don’t think there is one particular style of furniture that works best with it. That said I do think it always looks so good with natural and raw edge timbers, lighter Scandinavian woods and white, light and bright spaces.

You can read more from Maya at House Nerd.

Explore More Affordable Art:

Feature Image Credit: Photography by Angela Higgins, Interior Design by Alana Willis

Betty Mbitjana Painting - Awelye Body PaintBetty Mbitjana – Awelye

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