Everyone is different when it comes to art, an inspiring masterpiece to one person may be an eyesore to another. There are a few basic dos and donts when it comes to choosing artwork that will put a smile on your face.


  • Choose a calming colour - pastel shades are relaxing and fit with most colour schemes
  • Find a peaceful subject - a serene landscape or sunset can transport you to a place of calm
  • Pick the right size - too big or too small and the picture will lose it's affect
  • Make it personal - a holiday snap, or a fond memory with family makes a great relaxing print
  • Dare to be different - the art in your home should reflect your personality


  • Select bold colours - strong, vibrant colours can create clashes and visual stress
  • Get too many pieces - one or two pictures per room adds an accent without dominating your decor
  • Follow the crowd - fashionable artwork can be expensive and not work for you
  • Rush into a decision - shopping online makes it easy to find the perfect picture, don't settle for less
  • Paint it yourself - unless you're a talented artist this can often be a false economy

Most of us will be aware that choosing matching colours for furnishings and decorations is important to achieve a peaceful, attractive home. The current trends for minimalism make the choice of colour all important, as very often a striking piece of art or furniture will be the sole feature in a room.

Getting the main focal point of a room right can indeed make you happier and more relaxed. Many studies have shown that various shades of green can actually reduce stress levels, which is probably why we see it in hospitals and doctor's waiting rooms! Meanwhile clashing colours can cause what's known as visual stress or 'Meares-Irlen Syndrome' - as defined by Essex University research here.

Research published in 1984 into the effects of a patient's surroundings in hospital found that a picturesque, calming view or picture had a positive effect over a patient left staring at a blank wall. The study, by Roger S. Ulrich, illustrated a marked decrease in negative comments in their feedback notes, and a decreased recovery time in most cases.

They concluded that "hospital design and citing decisions should take into account the quality of the patients' views". Having a cheerful or relaxing piece of art make actually help you live longer.

Art is not only about colour and form, it can be as simple as having a humorous canvas print made of your favourite film or television character. Images from traditional favourites such as The Muppets, Simpsons, or other kid's cartoons are a great way of recalling those childhood memories.

There have been many studies over the years into the simple act of smiling making people feel happier. Scienceblogs.com carried out an experiment in 2009 which showed that the simple act of smiling, even when forced, actually raises a person's happiness.

Whatever makes you smile is a great choice to add a little happiness - whether it's Charlie Chaplain or Stewie from Family Guy - just seeing them on your wall every day could make a huge difference to your mood, and it might give someone else a laugh too!