How to Start an Art Collection

While unframed posters and cheap wall tapestries might have been all the rage through the college years, many people find themselves seeking out a more mature aesthetic once they get around to buying their first home or looking to stay somewhere long term. There are a lot of things that go into creating a grown-up space like quality furniture and fresh paint, but taking the time to decorate is a sure-tell sign that love and care went into creating that space. Personal pictures are framed and placed out to evoke memories and posters are replaced with artworks. The trick isn’t to completely trade one look for the other, but instead see it as a growth and progression of your own uniques tastes and preferences.

Dont let the reputation of art collecting intimidate you either. While there many famous art collectors who are well off, collecting art does not have to cost you millions of dollars. Many people begin their collections with less than $1000. A good example of this are the Vogels who built the most famous collection of art in the 60s in the US. They did this all while they were working as a librarian and a night clerk. The other important thing to remember is that building a collection will take time to do. It will not, and can not, happen overnight. Purchasing canvas wall art to simply put on your wall is perfectly fine and makes sense from a homeowners standpoint, but if youre looking to collect artworks it’s an investment and a commitment.

So whether you have already begun your collection and for tips on getting ahead in the art collecting world or are wanting to get started today, weve assembled tips for the best approach to getting what you want.

How Much?

First, things first. You will need to do the math and set your budget. The idea of spending all your money on wall art and decor might sound like a romantic notion, but it doesnt take long to see the downside of this. What good is having beautiful artworks with no walls to hang them on after all? Leave extra money aside even after youve paid all your bills before deciding what your budget is because collecting art shouldn’t lessen your quality of life. Weve also already discussed that it does not require a lot of money to start collecting.

What is it?

The second thing collectors should take into consideration is what the collection might look like. This approach is the thing that separates those who buy art from true collectors. Think about what you like to see and the overall effect youd like the pieces to have in your home. You wont be purchasing all the pieces at once but chances are youll want some cohesion whether thats by concept or appearance. This would be different for those collecting for a space with a more gallery-type setting but when it comes to the home most people have a very clear idea of what they want it to feel like. After all, the home is a reflection of personality and taste, so its important to stay as true to this idea as possible.

Get Educated

If you have an idea of the kind of thing you like but arent feeling confident enough to go out and purchase anything, it’s a good idea to go to galleries and art fairs to get some inspiration. This will give you an idea of things that are already on the market while also giving you an idea of popular works and price points. This will help you when it comes time to purchasing because you will be knowledgeable about the art you are buying as well as the artist and value. It will help you avoid being taken advantage of. This is important in any sort of dealing but especially when it comes to art since so much of the value is dependent on intangible factors like trends, cultural climate, and the artists overall reputation.

With that being said, be sure do not get swept up in trends because it is risky financially speaking. Unless youre an insider it;s difficult to be on the early end of trends, and trendy work will be expensive upon purchase but tends to decrease in value once it’s over. If the art speaks to you it becomes a different story, but be sure not to purchase works simply because they are inat the moment.

Seek the Next Big Thing

Start following new artists to find talented up and comers that will cost less than the big names. They might also offer something new and exciting that you havent seen anywhere else. This will require some effort, but if you are already educating yourself and visiting galleries you will probably come across the newcomers organically. If you arent able to visit art world events due to time restraints or geographical limitations, researching online can still provide good source of information.

Where to Buy

If youre still in the early stages of your collection it’s a good idea to to hire an art advisor to steer you in the right direction when it comes to the purchase. Service fees range but there are definitely reasonable options available. They might also have some inside information that you are not privy to, advisors come with a number of different benefits. But once again, research is always the key. So whether youre purchasing online or through a dealer, ensure that you know everything there is to know about your purchase.  


Once you have it, display it properly and proudly. You probably went through a lot to get to this point and getting good art is always an effort. Handle it carefully and then take time to figure out how to fit the piece (or pieces) into the design and style of your home. Don’t be afraid to move things around a bit and adjust accordingly. Art can add the perfect touch to any home.