With pieces selling for vast sums at auctions around the world, the art world can seem impenetrable. Giles Hepplestone of the award-winning Hepplestone Fine Art at Heskin near Chorley has expert advice for anyone who wants to add art to their home.

Why buy art?

We meet collectors in the gallery with a vast range of motivations for buying art. Some are simply looking to brighten up their homes with artwork while others get great pleasure from the feeling of owning something individually crafted by hand by an artist. For others the decision can be financial, looking for an alternative place to invest their money during uncertain financial times. With investing.com reporting that Blue Chip art has outperformed the S&P500 by 250% since the year 2000, who can blame them?

In my experience, the best reason is because the piece moves you or affects you in some way. A piece of art can evoke happy memories or stir up feelings in the same way as a piece of music, taking the viewer to another time or place.

What does it add to a home?

The art in a home can change the feeling of the space entirely and can create a totally unique atmosphere simply by changing the artwork. When chosen by the homeowner, the artwork is a reflection of their personality, whether cheerful and uplifting or sultry and brooding, it can be an extension of the collectors personas and a key part in making a house a home.

The artwork also gives the owners the opportunity to make their home truly individual. With limited choices of furniture stores and soft furnishings, the incredible variety of artwork available offers the chance to acquire something that you won't see anywhere else.

Must it be expensive?

There is no need for artwork to be expensive. Whether you find a piece that moves you at a car boot sale or wish to invest in something by a well known artist, there truly is no rule with how much you spend. The most important thing is that the work speaks to you and gives the desired feeling every time you view it.

Great British Life: Hepplestone Fine Art at Heskin, PHOTO: Kirsty ThompsonHepplestone Fine Art at Heskin, PHOTO: Kirsty Thompson

Where to start?

The best place to begin is to take some time to visit galleries and explore the wide variety of mediums and styles out there. As great artists are so creative, you really don't know what is on offer until you venture to take a look.

Although galleries can seem a daunting and sometimes intimidating place, all good galleries should welcome you in without obligation or pressure, allowing to enjoy and learn and be on hand with any information if necessary. Whether it be a commercial gallery where you can purchase works, like ours, or one of the region’s many museums, they will all feed the soul with ideas and inspiration.

The internet is also a great resource once you have found some styles and artists you like, but there really is nothing like seeing the work in person.

Who can advise?

You are the greatest judge of your own tastes so try not to be influenced by others who tell you you should like a particular artist or style just because it is in vogue. Most good art galleries and dealers will have knowledgeable and friendly staff on hand to answer any questions and help you along the way of your collecting journey.

We love nothing more in the gallery than talking to people who are interested in all forms of the arts and want to learn more and discuss the works with like-minded people.

Please do not feel intimidated, art appreciation is personal, there is no right or wrong and everybody started somewhere. You don't need to have any qualifications or pre-existing knowledge, just get out there and find what speaks to you.

What should people consider when choosing art?

Although taste if personal, it is wise to consider where you will hang the painting or display the sculpture to ensure it will work in the physical space you have in mind. With potential size restrictions and perhaps specific colour schemes, this must all be considering depending upon your motivation for purchasing the artwork.

Many galleries, including ours, offer a home approval service offering you the opportunity to view the piece at home before committing. This gives a great sense of how it makes your room feel, how it looks in your home and also how your lighting may impact on the viewing of the piece.

The conditions of your room are also important. Although artwork is perfectly safe in most rooms, you will want to avoid direct sunlight or extreme heat sources to preserve the quality of your artwork over the years. In some instances, it may be advisable to ask the gallery about UV protective glass should you wish to display your artwork on a particularly sunny wall for example.

Do different styles suit different homes?

It is not easy to suggest particular styles or artists for different types of homes as although certain styles may be fitting for a country cottage or terraced house for example, it is really the preference of the home owner that dictates the style of the artwork. That way, the work truly reflects the owner and can also be moved to a new home should you move to another style of house in the future. It is one of the few investments in the aesthetic of your home that does not deteriorate with use and can be taken with you every time you move.