Designer Tara Bernerd, author of a new eponymous book, offers her advice

By Lindsey Mather

No matter how gorgeous the furnishings, a room with bare walls often feels incomplete. “For me, art to a room is like punctuation to a sentence; it is that all-important ingredient and without it a space lacks the layers and attitude that a significant piece can bring,” says designer Tara Bernerd. All of Bernerd’s projects—no matter if it’s a hotel or a beachside villa—are filled with personality pieces of varying styles, shapes, and sizes, and the works can often be found hanging in the same room together. See the masterful mix for yourself in the designer’s new book Tara Bernerd: Place (Rizzoli, $60), written in collaboration with Charlotte and Peter Fiell, which showcases many of the properties she’s transformed over the last fifteen years—including her very own apartment in London. If a flip through the pages leaves you with a strong desire to make over your walls, don’t worry. We tapped Bernerd to get her tips on finding the right art for every room in your home.

Carrier pigion artwork from Geoff Weston's 'Messengers' series in Bernerd's own apartment.
Carrier pigion artwork from Geoff Weston’s ‘Messengers’ series in Bernerd’s own apartment. Photo: Philip Vile

Trust your gut

“Perhaps most importantly, a home should represent its owner, so one shouldn’t be too driven by trends,” says Bernerd. “Something that you are truly attracted to is something that will ultimately stand the test of time. With our hotels, the art reflects the DNA of our clients, such as at SIXTY SoHo in New York with its exclusive Harland Miller collection in each guest room.”

Artwork by Chen Jiagang in the dining room of a Hong Kong penthouse.
Artwork by Chen Jiagang in the dining room of a Hong Kong penthouse. Photo: Philip Vile

Mix and match

“Art doesn’t have to match your room, you can be eclectic,” says Bernerd. “Traditional rooms can take modern art, and modern rooms can take older-style paintings. Often it is better to mix it up.”

The lobby of the Thompson Chicago hotel.
The lobby of the Thompson Chicago hotel. Photo: Philip Vile

Go slow

“Gallery walls are a great way of working with artworks of different sizes, colors, and styles,” says Bernerd. Her recommendation: plan it in advance, taking as much time as you need. “In order to hang a gallery wall correctly, one must lay it out. It is a considered strategy that must always be carefully thought through.”

Who Cares Wins artwork by Harland Miller
Who Cares Wins artwork by Harland Miller in the stairwell at Chalet Miramonti in Gstaad, Switzerland. Photo: Philip Vile

Delve deeper

Fallen in love with a piece? Do your research on its history—the process may lead to more works that suit your style. “Once you are attracted to a picture, find out a little more about the artist, values, and background, and learn,” says Bernerd.