The Great Art Debate

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of home decor lessons the hard way. If you’ve been a long-time follower, you might remember the great rug debate of 2018 or the time I bought side tables from West Elm that were way too short to be practical as nightstands, which is what I wanted them to be. One of the great things about home decor, is that nothing is too permanent, and it’s easy to change as your style evolves or you realize the hard way, like I so often have, that you actually prefer something different.

It feels like this apartment of mine in Arlington is always a work-in-progress and I want to be better about taking you along on the journey with me, instead of just showcasing the final product. As such, today, I wanted to talk about the great art debate I’m having with myself.

I purchased my current couch when I moved into my first apartment without roommates almost five (!) years ago—in both that apartment and in my Dupont Circle studio, my couch was not against a wall, so I didn’t need anything to hang above it. In this apartment, the most logical furniture layout meant putting this couch against a wall. I didn’t have a piece of art large enough to fill this wall, so it sat empty for the first six or so months of my residency here. I eventually found a beautiful sailboat watercolor print—you can see it here—and while I liked it, I was never in love with it the way I am with some other pieces of art around my apartment. Additionally, it was rather cheap—part of the mat had started warping, which was driving me nuts every time I looked at it. So, I started casually looking around for another option.

Fast forward to this winter, and I was watching TikTok before bed. A creator I follow had a beautiful navy and white “loops” piece of art, and when I found out it was from TJ Maxx, I immediately went on a mission to track it down for above my couch. I think I was drawn to it because reminds me a lot of Kayce Hughes work, which I absolutely love, but am just not at a place in my life to afford one of her larger pieces right now. One day!

Unfortunately, this exact piece of wall art was sold out on the TJ Maxx website. (As of this post, it still is sold out, but here’s the listing if it helps at all. It’s the Colleen Karis “Loop Language Wall Art” and is 30×40″ in size.) So, I did what any sane person would do. I drove to every TJ Maxx within a 30-minute radius of my home. (In case you’re wondering, I live that close to seven TJ Maxx.) And I struck out at every. single. one. So then I emailed TJ Maxx customer service to see if they planned on restocking; they kindly let me know they didn’t know. And I even had a few Instagram followers looking out for this piece for me at their local TJ Maxx. I didn’t know how, but I figured that I would eventually track one down.

About a month later, I was at a TJ Maxx in Maryland shopping for a freelance project, and on a whim, I decided to swing through their art section. Hidden in the corner, there it was—the elusive loops wall art! I have never bought something so fast.

Conveniently, this piece was the same size as the watercolor sailboats I had on this wall prior, so I didn’t have to put any new holes in the wall. But when I hung it up in this space, something just felt off. I still love this art, but I think I’m craving something lighter and more airy to really brighten up this main living space. Something about this piece just makes the room feel heavy and darker to me.

So the search for the perfect above-the-couch wall art continues—and I have a good feeling third time will be the charm. I know what I’m interested in buying, just saving up for it. And, I’ll be sure to share whenever this space gets updated.


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