5 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Art Online

Shopping online has become the new normal since the pandemic kicked off, and it’s here to stay. As an online art gallery, we’re all for buying art online and making it as smooth as possible!

Just like any online purchase, there’s a few factors to keep in mind to keep the process pleasurable – follow these five rules for buying art online and you’ll have that perfect artwork in your hands in no time. Next stop, dream piece!

Rule 1: Size Does Matter

Working with a particularly long space? Consider a series of artworks, as our Content & Creative Manager Megan has done in her hallway.

Would you keep a piece of clothing that didn’t fit properly? Probably not. Art should be the same; make it easy for yourself and plan out the size of the artwork you need for a space prior to purchasing. “I have been suggesting more and more to people to get some masking tape or coloured washi tape, mark corners of a proposed work on a wall and live with it for a day or so to get a visual feel of really how big something is,” Our Head of Art Advisory Amélia Davis tells us. “The most common mistake with size is going too small for the space!”

Rule 2: Orientation is Essential

With the perfect style and size, this commissioned piece by Theo Papathomas from one of Alexandra’s previous trade projects couldn’t look better in this space.

“We put a lot of emphasis on the size of an artwork, but the orientation of it is also a key player in choosing the right piece,” Interior Designer & Trade Specialist Alexandra says. “I always advise clients and collectors to consider what orientation will best suit the space for most impact.” Usually the orientation will denote the style of the artwork (ie portrait orientation for portraiture; landscape orientation for landscapes and seascapes). Bluethumb artist Elena Parashko advises: “For instance, above a lounge, landscape orientation works well and at the end of a narrow hallway, portrait orientation is a good choice.”

Rule 3: Framed, Ready to Hang or Needs Framing: What’s the Difference?

Freshly made and ready for its new home: this white floating frame is available with canvas works on Bluethumb thanks to our framing partners. Featured artwork: Leni Kae

So, you’ve found the perfect piece and are ready to make it yours. Before going ahead with check out, check the current situation with the artwork listing. Is it framed already? Is it ready to hang? Or does it need framing?

If you see ‘Framed’ on the artwork listing, this means the artist has done the framing themselves. ‘Ready to hang’ shows the artwork as stretched to an internal moulding, but not with an external frame. If the artwork ‘Requires framing’, you’ll likely need to send the artwork to a framer for at least stretching, if not going the whole hog on framing. Take the sting out of the task and add a custom frame when purchasing the artwork – the artist will ship the piece directly to our framer where a slick custom frame will be made for the piece, before sending it on its way to you.

Rule 4: What’s the Rush? Do Some Homework

tips for buying art at an art fair

Prepare to be dazzled: the Bluethumb team is always on hand to answer any questions.

There’s an old Bluethumb fable that tells the unfortunate tale of a former team member, and a drunken purchase on the site. Need we say more. The legacy, and the unfortunate artwork, lives on as a cautionary tale to impulsive decision making and the importance of thinking your purchase through.

Give yourself a couple of days of imagining the artwork on the wall. You could even make the most of our fresh new Wall View feature! This AR tech is available on artwork listings when viewed from mobile. We’ve also made it easier than ever before to find an artist based on their popularity and credentials, with categories spanning across Featured Artists, Rising Stars and Collectable Artists.

(Having Said That….)

The heart wants what it wants! Megan’s latest art acquisition is a ceramic sculpture from Marisa Mu and Alicia McVilly.

Don’t set yourself up for heartache when it comes to buying artwork online. You don’t want to miss out on the ideal piece by umm-ing and ahh-ing about it for too long! Bluethumb’s 7-day returns policy means that if for whatever reason you have a change of heart, you have plenty of time to return the piece and get a refund of 100% costs, 0% fuss.

Rule 5: Why Settle? Get Exactly What You Want

A commissioned piece by Tatiana Georgieva stands loud and proud in this mid-century meeting room.

Rather than waiting for that artist to make the ideal artwork, ask them for it! Many artists are open to commissioning artworks for collectors, producing a truly one-of-a-kind piece that is tailored exactly for your needs. Contact the artist directly via their profile to kick off the conversation! For more information on the process of commissions, read our blog on our Co-Founder George Hartley’s experience here.

Pssst – this week we’re sharing our best kept secrets! Click here for Bluethumb’s hidden gems. Otherwise, scroll to see the video below with Megan for more tips on buying art online.

@bluethumbart Don’t make these mistakes! #artcollector #arttips #tips #howto #mistakes #alwayslearning #arttok #tiktokart #diy #invest #homedecor #art #collection #collector #investing ♬ I Just Wanna Know – Luke Reeves


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  1. nino says:

    I often see promotions like sing up and go in the chance to win $XXX to purchase art, or log in and like 3 pieces and go in the draw to win $XXX to purchase art. I can’t seem to find when and who actually wins these “competitions”. So I often wonder if these are fake promotions designed to hook people in…
    why does Bluethumb not publish who wins these?

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