One of a Kind | Commissioning Custom Art and Furnishings

One of a Kind | Commissioning Custom Art and Furnishings

  • Extraordinary Living
  • 03/16/22

There are a few reasons one might entrust an artisan to create a custom item for the home. Perhaps you are revamping your living room and need a bespoke couch that fits just right in the layout of your space? Or has an artwork already caught your eye, but it’s not quite the right size to fit above your mantel, the artist may be able to create something similar in your perfect dimensions.  If you’re looking for something unique and special, but not quite sure where to start, read on for our guide on commissioning a custom piece.

Reasons for a Commission:

There are a few reasons you might consider investing in a commissioned piece from an artist or studio. Perhaps you're in the process of redesigning your room and are looking for a piece to match a certain design style or color scheme. Commissioning a piece also ensures you get exactly what you need - be it a specific style, color, or size.

For example, you might already have had your eye on a particular piece of art but it has already been purchased at the gallery or on that artist’s website. Commissioning a piece gives you the chance to work with the artist on a piece that’s similar to the one sold.

​​​​​​​Maybe you already have an heirloom dining table and need a set of chairs that pair well. Similarly, you could take this opportunity to have a sentimental family portrait turned into a custom painting. Or perhaps you just like the idea of having a one-of-a-kind piece that was made especially for you!

Process for Commissioning a Custom Piece

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a commission, you’ll work with the artist/gallery to create a commission agreement.

This often includes:

  • Pricing details
  • Total cost and payment terms 
  • Overall timeline
  • Details about the artwork - subject matter, composition, style, color, size, etc. 
  • If progress updates and/or revisions are included
  • Approval process 
  • Contract to sign

Giving the Brief

The clearer you are about the style, colors, material, function, and size of the furnishings or artwork, the smoother the process will be.

It might be beneficial to make a quick sketch or Pinterest board to help convey your preferences to the artist/designer.

Before a design is approved, you should preview material samples, and any drawings or examples that help bring what’s on paper to life.

Throughout the process, you should check in with your maker/design to ensure there are no surprises when you are presented with the final result. 

​​​​​​​Some benefactors / commissioners like the element of surprise and trust the artist to produce something beautiful without a lot of oversight, so it also depends on your preferred working style and specific needs. 


Online Art Galleries:

Artsy works with esteemed galleries, collectors, and auction houses around the world to bring you museum-quality works from the world’s most famous artists, with the price point to suite. If you’re in the market for an original signed Banksy, this is the site for you.

The site known for handcrafted wares is, unsurprisingly, a great place to pick up art, too. Given the volume of art on offer, it may take some digging before you find what you’re looking for, but having the chance to own something truly unique and support a small-time artist at the same time is worth it.

Odds are that if you can’t find art you love on Saatchi, said art probably doesn’t exist. The site claims to be the world’s leading online art gallery, and with a curated collection consisting of over 1.4 million original works from nearly 100,000 emerging artists representing more than 110 countries, it’s hard to argue with them. Their massive selection can be intimidating, which is why Saatchi employs Art Advisors who can help you find that perfect piece.

As much of a community for artists as it is a store, Artfinder boasts a worldwide network that consists of thousands of independent artists making original, hand-crafted works. You buy art directly from the artisans, meaning more of your dollar goes toward supporting their livelihood as opposed to some faceless corporation. It’s a great place to discover a new artist to be “your” artist.

The concept is simple: send an artist on a trip to find inspiration. There is no agenda or a briefing for the artist during their trip. The artist makes their own plans to meet with other people, visit museums, go on hikes, study neoclassical architecture or whatever else comes across their path. While the artist is on the road, they document their impressions in a travel blog which gives even more insight into the artist’s perspective. After the artist returns home from their trip, the artist channels all of the impressions into an artwork that is reproduced as a limited edition and handmade, silkscreen print. It’s a unique travel document in the form of an artwork. Before the trip takes places, they give their audience to chance to pre-order the silkscreen print before it is made. You know which artist is going where, but not yet what the artwork looks like. This allows you to contribute to making the inspiration possible, while experiencing the creative process from up close.

If we had to come up with one word to describe Minted, it’s trendy. The site’s curated collections of limited prints by independent artists tend to lean into the Instagram-ready, HGTV-influenced decorative style of today. It’s an attractive look, and since experts are putting in the legwork for you, Minted is a great way to make your home look awesome even if you have zero design sense of your own.

Specializing in contemporary art from emerging artists, Tappan definitely has a type. All of their work is tastefully curated and most of what they offer is original. But don’t think this care and attention to detail necessarily translates to big bucks. They offer art at a variety of price points and even have an extensive “$500 and under” section. If their aesthetic matches yours, you’re in for a treat.

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