How To Size Art For A Wall

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

How To Size Art For A Wall: Summer Storm No 2 above couch by Cattie Coyle Photography

Art over Fireplaces

A. 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).

B. My approach

How To Size Art For A Wall: Twisted Cloud No 2 above fireplace by Cattie Coyle Photography

To me, this print sized like the fireplace opening looks way too small on this wall.

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

How to size art for walls: Ocean Waves No 5 in living room by Cattie Coyle Photography

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.

SHOP THE STORY

THE PRINTS FEATURED IN THIS POST ARE AVAILABLE AS
PRINTS, FRAMED ART, AND CANVAS WRAPS.

TO SHOP, JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGES

Summer Storm No 2 - Oversized cloud art print by Cattie Coyle PhotographyOcean Waves No 5 - Large scale ocean art print by Cattie Coyle PhotographyTwisted Cloud No 2 - Extra large cloud art print by Cattie Coyle Photography

 

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How to figure out what art size you need on a wall, above a sofa, and over a fireplace (plus my thoughts on art sizes and how I like to display art).

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