Discover Local Artists: Choosing the right sofa

Get your priorities straight. And don’t choose a painting for over the sofa. Pick out the painting first, and let it inspire its surroundings — your home environment. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

When artist Carol Korpi-McKinley moved into her Palm Beach Gardens home, she already had her gorgeous collection of paintings ready and waiting to be hung.

Carol Korpi-McKinley in her studio

So, for her, the question that stumps others –“What painting should I hang over the living room sofa?” – just would never come up. Rather, she asks – “What environment should I create that would best showcase my art?”

And as you can see, these rooms absolutely do extend her colors, themes, dreams and schemes, right off the canvas and into the midst of her everyday life.

Korpi-McKinley, a long-time and prolific painter, is a master at making a flat surface three dimensional (her site, studio-ten, gives an idea of the scope of her work) so she can certainly offer the rest of us some thoughtful observations. For her, at the very heart, a painting is not just a window into another world, it’s a window into this one, as well.

These exotic animals feel right at home in Korpi-McKinley’s living room.

Because decorating is mostly visual, it’s important to set the mood of your home with the things that are going to make the biggest visual impact. Almost always, that revolves around the artwork.

•  Since I specialize in creating large paintings, it was important for me to pick out furnishings that would accent and enhance my artwork. So, I picked out neutral tones for the large pieces – sofas, rugs, tables – and accented with bright pieces that carried the themes of the current artwork throughout the house. The accent pieces are themed around desserts, fruit, palms and animals. The textural elements of each room are also themed around the current paintings. For example, I used leopard-print throws and pineapple pillows.

These paintings of lovely landscapes, flora and fauna set the stage for serious dining

•  I love decorating with large-scale paintings because they make a big impact on my mood. I want to surround myself with things that make me feel happy and at one with nature — things that are warm and cozy, sometimes fun, and sometimes exotic depending on the room. I want to feel comfortable in my sanctuary around things that elicit good energy.

Eat your cake and have it, too. Who said paintings don’t belong in the kitchen?

•  I enjoy my dessert paintings in the kitchen and decorated around them, because they remind me of how good life can taste. I hung my animal paintings in the rooms where I sit and talk because they make me feel like I’m connected to a more peaceful nature, and they remind me that we are always surrounded by friends – some of them are just a little bit furrier. I think large vistas work well in smaller rooms, because they create a sense of space.

•  I sometimes go against the trend of hanging paintings at eye level, and hang them higher, because that creates grandeur since they loom from above. I also like to display pieces that are different from current popular decorating notions because it conveys a sense of my own distinctive personality and it reminds me to stay in tune with my personal happiness and joie de vivre.

Written for Palm2Jupiter