Art 101

Buying For The Moment vs Buying For The Future

Our guide explores the pros and cons of buying art for the moment versus buying art for the future. Learn about the ins and outs of art acquisition, whether for love, a future investment, or both.

By Sophie Heatley

Should we be buying art for the moment or buying art for the future? Or, is there a middle ground? Many and myriad factors influence our ability to buy a work of art. Evolving industry trends, what's hot in interior design, and personal taste, are all influential in acquiring artworks. With unlimited artists and infinite works to choose from, how on earth does one decide what to purchase? Whether you're a total novice or an esteemed collector, discover the ins and outs of art acquisition, whether for love, future assets, or both.


Icon Series: Dollar by Justine Smith


Follow your heart or your gut? 

We've all been in a situation where we've spotted something, whether an artwork, a new car or a fancy flat on Rightmove, that's made our heart jump. Nobody is immune to that love at first sight feeling! But then, as quick as you can say: "that's the one for me", your gut's had other ideas. Annoyingly, our brain and heart are rarely on the same page. While this conflict makes for exciting and thought-provoking artwork, it makes for a tricky experience when making, or trying to make, worthwhile art purchases. 


Follow your heart… 

On the one hand, while listening to our hearts may fill our soul with joy, it's important to remember how quickly and, sometimes, dramatically our tastes can change. 


… but listen to your gut! 

On the other hand, do you want to look at an art piece you don't instantly like every day in the hope that your future self will thank you for it? Risky. 


Lucky Pound by D13EGO


Investing in art you love

With the above in mind, if you find yourself torn between buying for love and buying to invest, here are some helpful tips to consider. It is possible to find a middle ground; you can do both. 


Know your goals.

While sometimes an impulse buy can be both thrilling and tempting, buying art requires a little more consideration. So, you’ve found a piece that speaks to you. Now, you need to chew over what your intention is. What are your goals as an art buyer? What is your motivation for collecting a selected artist or piece at this moment in time? Is it to suit a recently refurbished apartment? Or is it a spur-of-the-moment passion purchase for yourself? 

Keep in mind that all the above are valid. The question is: which reason is strong enough for you to make that purchase?

Purchasing art is always a highly unique process and should be customised to suit individual tastes, needs and budgets. If you are unsure about the above, one avenue to explore is consulting an expert. They can help you find a piece that makes your heart beat faster and promises to be a viable investment for the future.


Refine your search. 

Once you have clarified your intention, you need to choose how many pieces you would like. Are you looking to make a one-off purchase? Or to grow or begin a collection? Finding the perfect signature piece for any location requires a lot of brainpower. You have to consider the size and the style of the space with which you are working. A delicate drawing may get lost in a lively living room, whilst a bold and abstract painting may be overbearing in a quiet study. 

Buying to collect is no less complex. Things to consider include: what works will add future value to my collection? And do I want to diversify my current selection or find something that matches the medium and mood of present acquisitions? If you are a fledgeling collector, you may not even know what you want to collect. Building one of your own need not be daunting: explore these six easy steps to starting a collection on a budget.


Be prepared to compromise. 

Making a future investment does not have to zap the joy out of your purchase, though. You can find a piece you love that is both adaptable location-wise and versatile style-wise. 

One thing buyers should prepare for is the inevitable changing of tastes or interior settings. If you know you are someone who likes to frequently rearrange your home or someone partial to a seasonal revamp, find artwork that is easy to relocate and rehang. For example, rather than investing in a two-tonne sculpture, explore prints that you can lean against walls or on shelves and move if needed. 

The same goes for style. Instead of rooting for explosive colour displays or expressionistic canvases, even though we love them, why not consider more minimalistic designs? Muted shades and minimalist patterns can be easier to match with changing scenery. 


Home is where the art is! 

Buying art does not have to be about financial gain, either. Artwork can be a valuable tool for tying together interior design schemes. However, we often disregard art in favour of feature furnishings. Artwork is one of the best ways to re-shape, harmonise and individualise your decor. Thanks to its personal nature and power to elicit such emotional responses, artwork can transform a space. Not just ornamentally, but on a level of energy and feel. 

In this way, think about buying art as an investment in yourself. Whether you are buying for love or future assets, think about what artwork you want to live with and adore with every viewing. 

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