How We Fill Our Home With Art {Part One}

This post is sponsored by Art.com. Love your space more. This is the first of two posts on how I fill my space with art.

how we fill our home with art {part one}

I love having art in my home. How about you?

Milestone pieces by my children, brilliant bursts of creativity from my artsy friends, and carefully selected pieces by inspiring artists energize me as I move through my day.

My home is filled a mix of my family’s art, art by my friends, and purchased pieces, but I do have the personal challenge of fitting all the things I love into our small cottage. To keep our space light, I try to limit what I show, group small pieces together, and only display what I love. I’m attracted to work that’s upcycled, illustrative, graffiti-covered, and kid-made. Where does your art come from? And what inspires your choices?

When I choose pieces for my walls, I try to answer two questions:  Do I love it? How does it balance or effect the room? If I answer “yes” to the first question, then I look around the house for the best place to display it.

I don’t show the “background” of my home here very often, and look forward to taking you on a little tour of my art-filled spaces. Today I’ll start with some of living areas. If you like what you see, be sure to come back tomorrow for more.

how we fill our home with art {part one}

First, the kids’ art area. This table has moved around the house numerous times, but I really like it in its current spot. There are two kid-made pieces above the table: a watercolor painting by my older daughter and the first drawing made by my younger daughter. The frames are from IKEA — high quality and very easy to use.

rex ray collage in my home

Next to the kids’ art table is my newest piece, a print of a Rex Ray collage, Agua Fresca, from Art.com. Art.com has an amazing collection of traditional and contemporary art, and I was thrilled to discover that they have multiple choices by Rex Ray, one of my favorite local artists.

I usually prefer owning original works of art because I like to see the brush strokes and rawness of real art, but Rex Ray is waaaaaay out of my budget and this print enables me to bring a favorite artist into my home. It also looks great and Art.com did an amazing job framing it and shipping it without a scratch. I chose the frame to compliment the previous two, and they tie together beautifully.

how we fill our home with art {part one}

Below the Rex Ray is one of our recycled textile trees by San Francisco artist, Suzanne Husky. I own three of them (how could I stop at one?), and I’m inspired by their resourcefulness and whimsy. Click on this installation of Suzanne’s these trees at the de Young Museum.

graffiti painting san jose artists

Across from the art table is this grafitti-inspired mixed media painting is by my friends Gwen and Joey Reyes. I worked with Gwen at the San Jose Museum of Art, and her work reminds me of Los Angeles, my childhood home.

how we fill our home with art {part one}

My girls make a lot of art in preschool, and the school smartly sells these useful frames that have a slot in the back that can hold up to ten paintings. I like the raw wood, but I’m thinking about painting the frames white or staining them. What do you think?

rex ray print

Across from the preschool frames are these two pieces: I made the collage on top and beneath it is a Rex Ray stretched canvas print, Acapulco One, from Art.com. (I love this mid-century chair, but it’s desperate for new upholstery — any suggestions?).

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for a peek into my bedroom: How We Fill Our Home With Art {Part Two}

What’s on the walls of your home? Do you have trouble picking pieces or does it come naturally to you?

This post is sponsored by Art.com, but all opinions are my own.


  1. Love it all! I have been looking for a kids table similar to the one you show in the first picture. Do you remember where it is from? Thanks!

  2. I love the frames the preschool sells. I’d live them for my school. Where can I buy those? Love your style!

    • I know, Jessie, the frames are great. They hired a local carpenter to build them, and I heard he’s no longer making them. Maybe you can strike a similar arrangement with someone in your community?

  3. NICE! Hey, I worked at SJMA too! When were you there? (btw, I’ve never before commented, but I love your blog!)

    • Really, Jen?? I started working there in 2006. What about you? And I’m so glad you commented here — I know how much easier it is to read posts without the extra comment step and look forward to getting to know you. Are you still in the Bay Area?

      • Hiya! I worked there, in the bookstore as the weekend manager, I think about 10 years before you. :o) I watched Dale Chihuly and his crew install the chandeliers in the entry of the museum… are they still there???
        I moved to Portland, Oregon in 2006. Are you in the Bay Area still yourself?

        • The chandeliers are still there! They really are a signature piece of the museum — what a cool installation to witness. I looked at your photo site and your style is gorgeous. I’m in the Bay Area. Too bad you live so far away.

        • PS – if ever you are looking to collaborate with the parent of an autistic child, striving to live creatively, promote curiosity, independence, confidence and individuality… Let me know! I would just love to offer the perspective of a special needs parent!

          • I come back to the Bay Area to work at least once a year! I was just there this month, and may be coming down either before the holidays or in early Spring. Shall I keep you in the loop? How fun would that be??? (feel free to take this to email. i looked for one for you, but didn’t spot it)

  4. Rachelle,

    What a great idea for a post! One of my favorite pieces on our wall in our living room is something I put together. It’s a collection of enameled “tourist” pins from all of the places I’ve been (that sold them) since I was a tween arranged in a matrix in shadow boxes. My 3 year old often gets immersed in asking about the pins and where they are from. I also framed dish towels from http://www.catstudio.com, the California and San Fran heart map, again a discussion item guests.

    I love your Rex Ray prints and am interested in incorporating him in curriculum this year. Your house is beautiful and so close to my style.


    • That’s such a good idea, Gabi. Objects with sentimental meaning are wonderful additions to the walls. I’ve seen those tea towels and love the idea of framing them. You’re reminding me of a series of photos I took of trees in all the places my husband and I have lived. Must dig them up! xo

    • I’m so glad that this inspired you, Jen! Being surrounded by art makes me happy. I’d love to hear more as you make the additions!

  5. A beautiful post! People often ask me (since I am an artist) – what do I think about the art on their walls. I allways say – that the most important thing is – what THEY think about it – wether THEY like it!
    (By the way, I love the school frames as they are. I wouldn’t paint them. I think you found a great place for them as well, just as they are!!!)

    • Yes, EXACTLY! It’s nice when we can share taste with someone else, but that happens so rarely. We should look at art the same way we think about fashion — it’s a visual representation of ourselves. One of the houses I love visiting the most is that of a friend who’s plastered her walls and ceillings with sequins. Literally. I would never do that in my own home, but I LOVE being surrounded by all her sequin-art in her home. It’s amazing, and I know it makes her happy.

  6. To display the kids’ art I let them each decorate a 16X20 canvas any way they wanted as long as it said their name & the word art. Then I hung ribbon from the 2 bottom corners. I let them paint clothes pins & decorate them (glue jewels on, etc.). Then I hot glued the clothes pins to the ribbon. This gives them a piece of their art that will hold 10 more pieces of their art. It makes a lovely wall filled top to bottom with art. Plus it is very easy switch pieces out as they make tons daily.

    • Anita, this is such a clever idea, and very similar to something that I’m working on right now. We have picture rail that goes around a few of our rooms, and hanging ribbon with art is such an easy thing to do. I hang holiday cards there every year and figured why not try it with art too. I may just borrow your clothespin idea! Thanks for that!

  7. I loveeeed this post. Just came across this via Pinterest! I feel absolutely the same way about art. We have many artists in our extended family and I love displaying their pieces along with other finds in our little rambler home. I know what you mean by displaying only what you love. I will definitely be stopping by to see the rest of your house and the art it is filled with. I do blog but haven’t shared much from our space yet so cant link that. But one day soon hopefully:)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • That’s so sweet of you Nataliya (and Yay for Pinterest bringing us together!). I look forward to checking out your blog as well.

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