Nothing pulls a room together like properly “decorated” walls. A room with bare walls feels incomplete. To the amateur art curator, the number of choices can be overwhelming and the pressure to select the right piece can be intimidating. Let’s take this one step at a time.

The artwork is the all-important ingredient to personalize and stylize your home. Choosing art that looks amazing in your space is not as easy as it looks. To help de-mystify the process, I’ve turned to Calgary’s premier interior designer Ana Cummings, principal of ANA Interiors. Internationally known as the master of great taste, Ana’s work appears in such publications as Avenue Magazine, Western Living, The Calgary Herald, The Toronto Star, Condo Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Airline In-flight Magazines and Houzz Editorials Worldwide, to name a few.

Looking through the online offerings available via UppstArtAna selects “Tomorrow or Today” by Lynette Melnyk for a client’s modern living room. Watching the magic unfold, I ask Anna to walk me thru her process.

What comes first? The art or the décor?


“That’s a great question! It all depends on what the client is starting out with,” explains Ana. “If there’s an existing favourite piece of art or a hand-knotted rug, for example, I will often look to those for initial inspiration. However, if we are starting with a clean slate, I will design the layout of the room first and then carefully select the pieces that will go into it, most often completing the room with various artworks.”


What elements of the room attracted you to choose the artwork?

“I love how the bold graphic brushstrokes offset the clean and simple lines of the furnishings,” says Ana. “This modern room’s design concept lends itself very nicely with a contemporary piece of art. I was also looking to keep the room flowing in neutral monochromatic tones and this acrylic abstract fits the styled plan perfectly. I also like how the floor lamp and the artwork harmoniously speak to each other. This piece was meant for this space.”


Pulling the artwork and the other interior elements together proved to be effortless for Ana. The exquisite balance she masterfully creates comes from a unique mixture of knowledge, experience, and natural talent. For the rest of us mere mortals; here are 5 Simple Rules to follow:

  1. Buy what you love.
  2. Shake it up! Mixing contemporary and traditional keeps things interesting.
  3. Don’t match your décor. Think of contrast or complement instead.
  4. Elevate the art. Splurge on quality custom framing (see blog: The Art of The Frame).
  5. Tell your story. Collect overtime mixing styles and stories.
Most importantly, remember art is a place for expression. Let it speak, whisper or shout for you. In the end, the only opinion that really matters is yours when buying art.


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