In the November 2015 edition of ELLE DECOR, Sima Familant discusses her experiences placing art in collectors’ homes.

Framing Devices: Living With Art
Exhibiting at home is an art in itself, says New York art consultant Sima Familant
By Ingrid Abramovitch 

Q: Your client falls in love with an artwork and buys it. Now what?

A: Even before you buy, measure elevators, doors, and hallways to ensure that the artwork can make its way inside the house or apartment. I’ve done ulcer-inducing activities to bring artwork into a space, from stopping traffic to hiring cranes. I once arranged to have a building’s elevator dropped below the ground floor so that a fragile painting could be placed on top of the elevator cab and lifted. This is not for the faint of heart. Hire a great art-moving company. 

Q: Large paintings look great in galleries, but do they work at home?

A: Yes, in living rooms where there is enough space to see the work from a distance. In a hallway, one is too close, and the art feels oppressive. Sometimes I’ll let a huge artwork take up the whole wall. It looks streamlined. 

Q: How do you decide where to place a work of art?

A: Great art will look great anywhere, yet some installations really sing. It can be as simple as placing a vertical painting in a vertical space. I like to put works on paper and photographs in hallways, away from sunlight. Halls are also terrific for works in a series. Nooks are a perfect spot to install sculpture. No one will back into it by mistake, which happens more than you’d think.

Q: What’s the best way to light artwork?

A: I like to have choices. I recommend having a track- or wire- lighting system that allows you to change the bulb to a flood- or spotlight.