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How to buy art

Everyone can enjoy buying and owing art. Here, Laura Walford, director of Surrey-based gallery Belgravia Art shares her top tips for starting, building and displaying a collection.

Nothing pulls a room together quite like walls that are adorned in beautiful works of art. But the art market can seem daunting – especially for the first-time buyer.

It needn’t feel intimating though – everyone can enjoy buying and owing art. Laura Walford, director of Surrey-based gallery Belgravia Art shares her top tips for starting, building and displaying a collection.

Buy what you love

We always say to our clients when asked about investments and rates of return that number one, buy what you love and will enjoy having on your walls for years to come. If it rises in value it’s a bonus. Great art in your home can enhance your life. Waking up and seeing a piece of art you love can mean you start each day better than you might otherwise. Don’t underestimate the value of seeing art you love each day on your walls.

Don’t rush

Take your time to build your collection. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an art collection. Look around, visit galleries, and work out what you like and don’t like, and go from there.

Try things at home

Most galleries are happy for you to try work at home. This can be much easier that trying to guess how a piece may look on your walls and whether the size will be right. If it’s on offer, give it a go, and try in different locations in your home.


A bad frame can ruin a piece of art and a good frame can transform it. Framing doesn’t have to be enormously costly, but needs to be right for the work and for your home. Sometimes spending more on the frame than the work itself can make a lower priced piece look more expensive. Take advice and trust your instinct.

Don’t forget sculpture

Often buyers are very focussed on empty walls and filling them. Branch your art collection out in the three-dimensional way too. Sometimes putting a mirror on a wall instead of art can be very effective – as can framing art done by the children and putting up family photographs.


Don’t feel intimidated or like you need to be hugely wealthy to buy art. Many galleries sell art from a few hundred pounds upwards and there is nothing wrong with starting at the lower price points and then working your way up when you can. Many galleries are happy for clients to spread payments and never feel afraid to negotiate or make an offer – you never know what may be accepted.

Enjoy the experience

Buying art can sometimes feel like a daunting and intimidating experience for sure. Where to begin? Start small, and try to enjoy the process. Art makes the most wonderful gift as it’s enjoyed by the whole household and lasts more than a lifetime.

Belgravia Gallery is the showcase for work by truly outstanding British based and international artists and people of renown, including Nelson Mandela and HRH The Prince of Wales, Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol and Sir Peter Blake, and works by Jan Coutts, Maria Filopoulou, John Illsley and Monroe Hodder.

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