Our tips will help you to evolve from art-buying amateur to expert eye.

You’d love to decorate those bare walls, but you’re not sure where to start when it comes to buying art. Here’s how to select pieces that will not only bring warmth and beauty to your home, but may also become sound investments.

• Educate yourself. Visiting galleries is an essential part of the process, says Hlengiwe Vilikati of Jo Anke Gallery. “The more you visit, the more you’ll learn about the different styles, periods and subjects you prefer,” she says.

• Buy only what you love. Leigh Rein, curator of the Art Collective (showing at the Mall of Africa during October), notes that art is a contribution to your home, one you will have to live with every day. “Art should be a reflection of who you are and your personality,” she says.

• Consider investment pieces. Hlengiwe doesn’t write off pieces that reflect current trends, such as decorative items and pop culture pieces; these too have a place in a collection, she says. However, although they may initially cost more, their value is unlikely to appreciate in time. On the other hand, works by young, emerging artists may well become items of real value. Remember that if you ever wish to change your interiors, you can always trade in your existing pieces for something new.

• Take your time. Leigh says it took her almost 20 years to decide what she really likes and, during that time, she’s made some mistakes – but once you truly know your tastes, you can have a lot of fun.

• Support local artists. South Africa is bursting with talent, and by purchasing from local entrepreneurs, you’re helping to develop that talent – and your investment will grow, too.

• Get to know a gallerist. They’ll help you to hone your knowledge of the art world so you’ll see important artworks before anyone else – and they may help you with discounts, too.

Mall of Africa Art Collective. Contact Leigh Rein 083 267 5567

Mall of Africa Art Collective. Contact Leigh Rein 083 267 5567

Mall of Africa Art Collective. Contact Leigh Rein 083 267 5567

Mall of Africa Art Collective. Contact Leigh Rein 083 267 5567

James Tambula – Bonding – 60cm x 80cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za

Mccloud Simango – Skywalk II – 80cm x 120cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za

Isaac Mkhwanazi – Chaos – 120cm x 160cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za

Splash Motong – Jozi – 120cm x 160cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za

Simphiwe Mlangeni – Trees and Taps – 120cm x 160cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za

Solomon Omogboye – 160cm x 120cm. Contact Living Artist Emporium – www.livingartistemporium.co.za