What is Urban Art?

urban art

You might want to include urban art in your urban home décor. But what is urban art? Every art style has its own unique history and signature elements and urban art is no different.

“Urban” means “from the city” and city life is often represented in the artwork. The most common form of urban art is graffiti. Graffiti is spray painted onto cement and brick walls in urban environments and often includes depictions of the culture near the building or sends a political message relevant to the culture.

The most famous urban artist is named Banksy. He has several notorious graffiti paintings around Europe and his style is well known and popular. The purpose of his art and most urban art is to send a message and provoke dialogue among those that see the art. It often tends to be extremely political in nature.

You will need a truly industrial living space to incorporate literal graffiti in your home. This would require exposed brick somewhere in the home for an artist to then create a custom piece on the wall.

For more residential urban art, look for canvases that feature graffiti style artwork on them. A large signature piece overhanging a sofa or fireplace in an industrial ambiance would be a visual focal point for urban décor and an amazing conversation piece for any home. You could also purchase photographs that feature buildings that have graffiti and urban art on them or just urban lifestyles depicted.

For dimensional art, the signature element of urban décor is the many curves seen throughout a room and a design. Incorporate curved artwork and sculptures throughout a room. This could include traditional décor such as floor lamps too.

A mixture of exposed brick and pipes along with curved architecture, furniture and sculptures and one tribute to graffiti in a living room or entertaining space would signify a truly urban setting in your home.

You can find urban art available for purchase online at several well-known retailers and art boutiques on the internet. We prefer purchasing from local shops or even street vendors who feature pieces from local artists in your own city. This creates an excellent conversation piece.

Decorate with Floor Lamps

A signature element of all home design are floor lamps. You need light throughout the rooms in your no matter what décor or layout you prefer.

Urban homes will be filled with decorative and functional floor lamps throughout each room too. Learn how to decorate with floor lamps in an urban home:


You have to primary choices when it comes to floor lamps for your décor. You can choose a traditional floor lamp with a downward facing or adjustable shade or a torchiere lamp with an upward facing shade

The traditional floor lamp will feature a fabric shade with a light that shines down on a centralized or focused location. A more urban version of a floor lamp might have a metal or plastic shade opposed to fabric.

An even more industrial and urban touch would be task lighting incorporated throughout the living space. Task lighting is often reserved for home offices or workspace but it tends to be more urban and contemporary in nature. An urban home might include task lighting in unnatural locations throughout a home.

You will place task lighting and floor lamps directly next to seating areas and workspaces for direct light over inhabited spaces.

A torchiere lamp features a metal cone or shade that points upward. This creates light on the ceiling of the room and the adjacent walls. This effect is known as ambient lighting. This lighting is not as direct or focused as task lighting so you will need multiple torchiere lamps or a combination in order to sufficiently light a room using ambient light.

Torchiere lamps can be placed in corners or away from seating in order to spread light throughout all corners of the room.

For true urban style, select curved floor lamps and metal or plastic finished instead of wood. Opt for metal and plastic shades and incorporate bold colors and patterns whenever possible.

No urban home in 2017 would be complete without a few well placed floor lamps or torchiere lamps throughout each room. These tips should help you to decorate with floor lamps in your home.

Modern vs Urban Decor

urban table

You might hear someone confuse modern décor and urban décor in a home. The two styles are unique from each other but there are similarities too.

Learn the similarities and differences of modern and urban design:


Both modern and urban designs are clutter-free. You will not see an excess of décor or accents in an urban home or a modern one. There is a flow to the rooms in general and items are small and sleek rather than heavy or ornate.

You will notice exposed furniture legs in both styles. This is in contrast to more traditional styles of furniture with long skirts beneath the seating area or bases for stability.

There is also an emphasis on shinier surfaces and finishes in both design styles and both incorporate glass and metal throughout the décor more often than a traditional or classic home would.


Modern homes often feature natural and neutral colors throughout each room. There is a consistent flow and general “overall style” for the entire home where each room coordinates with each other.

A modern home is still warm too in contrast to an urban home. Comfort is still a focus of a modern home with plush cushions and warm textures.

Urban homes have constant contrast with each room its own canvas for various decors and accents. You will find bold and striking colors on the walls, floors and for accent pieces. Some might consider urban design to be cold or industrial too.

A signature element of urban décor is the presence of curves. You will see curves in lamps, furniture and artwork throughout a room with urban inspiration. Often, the curves and style of an urban home limit the comfort of a room. Industrial elements often replace warmth and fabrics for an urban appearance.

There are enough similarities that it is easy enough to confuse the two. You might also here someone refer to either style as “contemporary”. A contemporary home is more similar to an urban home than a modern home. Learn more characteristics of contemporary design.

You now know the differences in the two and can pursue the style you prefer most. For us, that is urban décor in every room.