Dos and don'ts

There is basic, common-sense advice from both professional art consultants and the lawyers who have the job of finding the right piece of art to buy.

One partner says, as a rule of thumb, that good pieces need space – don't crowd the walls.

There are several other pieces of advice:

take plenty of time in making your choice;

do not necessarily buy the first piece that you see;

one good source of art is shows by graduates, where work can be bought much cheaper;

always assemble a collection over a period of time – do not buy a 'job-lot';

try to decide on a general plan or structure, or even a particular theme – do not just buy willy-nilly;

the Corporate Art Buyer's Guide to Galleries and the Contemporary Art Society are good starting points for reference purposes;

try not to clash with the decor and don't buy anything too controversial.

Many chambers have discovered that art can be used to project a sharper profile, says Julian Thomas