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Tips for Choosing Art That is the Right Size For Your Room

Don Elliot

Whether it is a unique, one-of-a-kind original painting, a framed print, a canvas print, or photographs, any designer will tell you that adding wall art to your home decor will enhance your room with color and style and will often become an eye catching focal point in a space.  However, the task of determining the proper size and placement of new artwork can sometimes seem daunting.  As an artist creating custom paintings for clients, I want to help with that frequent question that so many have when planning for their art purchase: "What size painting should I choose for my wall?".  Here’s a guide on how to decide what size of wall art will be just right for your room, to help make the selection process a little bit easier, and more importantly fun!

Here are things to consider when deciding what size artwork to buy:

1.  The Room -  When picking art for any room BIGGER IS BETTER!  My clientele of designers and homeowners are amazing!  Any interior designer can aid you in sizing your artwork.  However,  there is one decorating mistake that I see made every so often when I receive a nice photo from a homeowner showing me my painting hanging in their space.  It is that people tend to choose wall art that is much too small for the room!  If you are investing in art, you certainly don't want to buy it, and hang it,  only to discover your room still feels barren.  Take into account the amount of furniture that you have in a room, if it is sparse, then a large piece of artwork will fill up the visual field as furniture might.  Think about your ceilings are they high, voluminous, vaulted ceilings allowing for a grand painting, or low -where a shorter canvas height with landscape orientation might work best?  Just remember - to be on the safe side, GO BIG!  This is especially true if buying modern, contemporary art, bigger is definitely better to maximize the statement.

 

2.  The Wall - Well, of course, you will consider the wall, and you will probably measure it once or twice, but then what?  You need to think about two things here - of course there is the overall dimensions of the wall,  but then you also need to think about the orientation.  Tall, narrow walls will work best with art of a similar shape, created in a portrait, or vertical orientation, while horizontal wall spaces (often found over sofas, in a hallway) work best with landscape-oriented artwork.  In looking at the overall wall space dimensions your artwork should take up two-thirds to three-fourths of the wall.  Like I stated above... go big!

 

3. Over Furniture or Mantels - Many of my clients who ask for my help in recommendations for art for their home send me photos of the wall where they intend to hang the piece.  This is great!  Along with the measurements they provide me, I can quickly tell them just the right size canvas for hanging.  However, I sometimes receive photos sent from clients of my work hung in their rooms, and I wish they would have consulted me on size selection prior to purchasing,- because the beautiful 30"  painting they just invested in looks lost over their 8 foot couch.  Here is the rule of thumb when hanging over furniture like a sofa, table, fireplace mantle, etc.:  The art should be three-fourths the width of the furniture and hung 6"-12" above the top.  It is that easy!  Of course it doesn't need to be exact, sometimes an off-center piece brings wonderful visual interest to a wall, but when in doubt, fall back on that rule!

 

4.  Gallery Walls - Gallery walls are a fun, eye-catching way to fill a large space when you are drawn to more than one piece by the same artist, when you find several prints or paintings within the same color palette which you'd like to group together, or to display amazing photography in frames.  You can group together wall art which is all the same size, or create real visual interest by grouping together art of varying sizes in one of many gallery layouts that you can find online.  Whichever layout you decide on for your gallery wall, lay the artwork out on the floor first, measure the total groupings height and width and make sure it follows the same guidelines above for filling up your space.  There are many online websites which can provide you with free downloadable gallery wall templates to guide you in your layouts.  Read more about gallery walls here.

 

5. Just how tall do you think you are? - A close second in sizing mistakes to art being too small for the wall, is art being hung much too high!  You need to think about this when determining the size of art to choose, any piece of art should be hung with the center point at eye-level.  Not with the bottom edge 6 feet off of the floor on an otherwise blank wall.  (If you are very short, or very tall, use the average 5'6" person as a guideline.)  Again, don't be afraid to fill up that space!


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