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More than just a pretty picture - why do we need art in our homes?

It seems like a simple question, but the answer is complex – in a good way. Connecting with, and taking home, original art goes way beyond bringing a little colour or decoration into the living room.

And it's not about status – well, not for most of us. The price ticket or the name of the artist is often much less important than the content, skill and mood of the piece.

One of the reasons I'm running a gallery is that I strongly believe that having original and limited edition art in the home is vital to well-being. Great art generates great mood. Brain scans have revealed that looking at works of art triggers a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers desire, pleasure and romantic love.

Our choice of art also endorses who we are, what we stand for and what we love. It opens up new vistas for us and connects us with new parts of life and new cultures. Just as making art is a visual expression of being human, buying and owning art should be an expression of our personality. It's a conversation starter: a reflection of the passions and interests of the people living in the home, telling their story.

We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, music, social media – the list is endless. Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic, ethical, political and aesthetic interests by celebrating unique creativity and handcrafted skills.

Hundreds of people who visit the gallery say that, like me, they often buy regional art when they're enjoying a visit to a new place. A means of reminding us of a good experience. Whatever happened around the choosing and purchasing of a meaningful original work will be fondly remembered every time you see it.

In fact, art is an integral part of interior design. Yet it's often treated as an afterthought – after the selection of furniture and soft furnishings, instead of the statement or signature piece in a room. You can come at it the other way too: when rooms have disparate colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can be difficult to work out how to unite the look. The right work of art can do this job perfectly and create a focal point. In short, in interior design, an artwork can be the inspirational starting point – or it can be the ideal finishing, unifying touch. It can serve both design functions.

Of course, a key reason to buy original and limited edition artwork for your home is that you're supporting regional artists, galleries and art education – another means of expressing your values. Loved artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for years and, maybe, in some cases, can be a sound financial investment too.

Let's be honest – and I should know: curating your own gallery is just plain fun. Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists, stocking your home with work you appreciate are fun things to do. Art breathes life into a space. It allows us to express ourselves, encourages dialogue and generates honest emotional responses. It reminds us of what's possible and valuble in life. It turns an ordinary house into a home.

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