Christmas is done for another year, it’s cold, we’re all heading back to work soon, and, to top the lot it’s nearly January. Urgh!

Not to worry - we’re ever the optimists at Art Gallery - let’s focus on making our home or workplace a happy place with affordable art. We believe in art for all, so here’s a selection of happy paintings that don’t have to bust the budget.

The science of happiness

What makes people happy is a question that’s often researched by scientists and academics. Studies have shown that it’s a range of areas and elements that brings joy into people’s lives.

Although the study showed that money does buy happiness (sorry), the common theme or thread amongst happier people is that they take time out and hit the pause button on the chaos of life.

The research also found that spending time with family and focusing on relationships were also key criteria for happiness, as well as general downtime or simply taking time out to stop and smell the roses.

The increasing popularity in mindfulness reflects this need to hit the pause button every now and again. We’re also seeing this in art with abstract paintings that are almost hypnotic in their nature and encourage you to switch off and ‘be’ in the moment.


Paintings of the sea or countryside can also bring about a mindful moment or make you happy simply because it’s a beautiful or calming scene.

Back in the days before photography, a painting was the only way to capture a moment in time, or a specific location, and would leave people excited and happy viewing a scene they may not see on a regular basis. Imagine how people felt back then when they first saw a landscape painting that presented a scene from another country.

This really hasn’t changed much in the 21st Century, even though we have cameras and smartphones. Landscapes or images of the beach or sea still bring about a sense of happiness, fascination and joy. Not to mention nostalgia. Why not put a bit of that on your wall?

There are so many styles or themes of landscape art that can make us happy. Whether it’s a winter scene or a blazing hot beach, they can both make us smile and feel happiness in different ways.


A recent study has shown that owning a pet can increase your chances of being happy and successful. In fact, of the 1,000 pet owners studied, researchers found that they brought laughter to six in 10 owners and made seven in 10 feel more relaxed. As a nation of die-hard animal lovers, it’s not surprising they make us happy.

It’s not just pets that makes us happy either, we do love a light-hearted animal painting or photograph. On our site alone, we have over 300 paintings of Dogs, the same amount for Cats and nearly 400 works on animals from across the globe.

Sam Fenner is an artist who mainly paints livestock and wild animals. What makes her art so popular is that she captures their personalities and really brings out their character. As a result, her art is amusing, charismatic and really makes you want to smile.

At work

Ok, so we know that work isn’t necessarily the place where we always want to be, but a super-productive day, positive feedback or a fun atmosphere can make us happy.

From an employer’s perspective, it’s important to have motivated staff and to ensure morale is high. Otherwise, productivity can decline, leading to unhappy and demotivated employees.

Research from the University of Exeter found that minimalist interiors and blank, white walls does not reduce distractions or increase productivity, for that matter. In fact, they found that people who worked in ‘Enriched Offices’ with art and plants were 15% quicker and had fewer health complaints than employees who worked in ‘Lean Offices’ with plain walls.

Visually challenging art is ideal for the workplace as it can help to positively distract staff and encourage them to take breaks away from their laptop or PC. It’s easy to stare at a screen for long periods at a time, so breaking it up with interesting art is a great way to recharge and have a focused and happy moment.

Colour can also impact mood. Bold tones can increase staff happiness levels, whilst inspiring a more driven and productive mindset. As you’d expect, calming colours, such as Blue create a relaxed atmosphere, whereas bold Reds and Yellows drive energy and creativity.

Affordable means affordable

Buying art doesn’t mean you have to take out a small mortgage to make it a reality. There are paintings out there for every person, every home and every business. Whether it’s a sketch for £20 or a large-scale painting for £200, there is a work of art out there with your name on it.