Unless you work with (or are) an interior designer, knowing what size art to buy can be tricky. A common mistake is to get art that is too small. If you want your wall to look balanced, keep in mind that a tiny piece on a large wall can throw the entire room off. But that might just be the effect you’re going for. Here is (A) the traditional guidelines for art sizes, and (B) my approach.
General Art Sizing Guidelines
Art Over Couches, Beds, and other Furniture
A. A general guideline is to choose art that is ½ – ¾ the width of the wall OR of the furniture it is being placed over. So if you have a couch that is 7 feet (84”) wide and want to hang one large statement piece above it, the art should be 42 – 63 inches wide.
B. My approach
Art over Fireplaces
Artwork hung over fireplaces usually look best when the art is as wide as the opening of the fireplace (regardless of the size of the mantel).
Art on Blank Walls
A. If you are hanging art on a blank wall, use the three eights rule.The “three eights” refers to the blank space you want on either side of the art, and to figure out what size art you need for that to happen, multiply the width of your wall with 0.57. So if your wall is 9 feet wide (108”), a piece around 60” wide would be the best fit.
B. My approach
My Thoughts About Art Sizes
Break the Rules
The above are good and proportionally correct guidelines, but really, I should be the last person telling anyone to follow rules. As you may have noticed, I am not following them in any of the images above.
My feeling is, it’s your home and your art, and if you want to cover an entire wall from top to bottom with an enormous statement piece, do it! Or hang a tiny piece above a large couch. Off center. Put large framed art on the floor and lean it against the wall. Stack a few other pieces in front of it. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t look or feel right to you, change it around until it does.
I think displaying art can be as much of a statement and creative process as the art itself, and the only limit should be your own imagination.
But Try It Out First
Regardless of whether you go with the more exact measurements and guidelines or take my approach and decorate by feel, it’s a good idea to get a visual of what the result might look like before you start putting nails in the wall.
I like to use painters tape and outline the area on the wall where I’m thinking of placing the art to see how I feel about it. Or even better, cut a piece of paper the size of the art and tape it to the wall. To me, that’s the best way to get a feel for how the art size will work with the rest of the room.
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