It’s a dilemma. You’ve got space on a wall that’s inviting. Here’s an opportunity to display, to impress and, either shout out or absorb with a piece that gels with your personality. But when it comes to making the choice, how do you choose wall art size?
There’s guidance from interior designers out there who have an ’eye’ for this and I’ve been looking around to see what the thinking is.
Try to avoid extremes. It would be easy to either go over the top and install something so big that it takes over. This is more likely to happen than the other extreme where an expanse of wall is ready and waiting for a big art piece but you’re tempted by a piece that’s too small.
Before making a choice, you need to think about the furniture in the vicinity. There is a formula that you could try that suggests viewing the wall expanse where you want to make a new display and, taking into consideration the furniture and other items, allow ½ to ¾ of the view to be taken up with the artwork.
If you want to be technical about it, I’ve found a mathematical calculation that may help.
Take the measurement of the wall, either the width or height, then multiply that measurement by 0.57, which is just over half the measurement. This will give you a height or width dimension of artwork that should work for the space.
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If we apply this theory to a wall that’s 120 inches wide, for example, then you have space for a piece that’s about 68 inches wide.
Following this through will allow the piece to occupy the wall area, leaving a comfortable buffer of clear wall around it. It helps to strike a balance that doesn’t allow the artwork to impose too much.
What size art fits your wall?
The main aim of displaying artwork in the home is that it gets noticed. This will apply regardless of the type of art. When it comes to the question of what size of art would suit a particular wall, it can be calculated using a formula or you can just take the view that big is best.
This will depend on the population of furniture in the room and various limiting or enhancing features but the general feeling among interior designers is that the most common mistake is to choose a piece that’s too small. This is most convenient because so much contemporary art tends to be on the large side.
Then you have to consider orientation. For this, it appears, going with the flow is a safe approach. For a tall room with plenty of space upwards portrait will sit comfortably while a wide expanse of a long wall will almost command that landscape be displayed. If imposing furniture is competing for some of the space then this needs to be taken into consideration. If there is plenty of room upwards but furniture is taking a significant proportion of the lower area then landscape may be the only option.
The general all-round view on the question of what size art fits a wall, think big from the beginning.
Choose art for the living room
How many inches apart should pictures be hung?
There appears to be no hard and fast rule for this. If we are considering a display of similar sized artworks which are to be shown in a collection on the same wall, focus on having even spacing. Don’t allow the spacing to be too far apart as this will make it look as though you are just try to fill the wall space. Settle for a gap that looks and feels comfortable. You have to plan the collection display so that the collection looks good as a complete entity.
For a gap distance that will work, the general view is to allow for a 2 inch or 5 inch gap between frames. This is can be used as a helpful rule of thumb.
There’s a handy way of doing this that avoids any complicated measuring.
Decide on the gap that you want between the frames in the collection. Hang the first frame taking into consideration where the others in the collection will be going. Then cut pieces of tape to use as spacer guides e.g. 2 inches long, and stick it on the wall beside the first frame.
Next position and hang the next piece.
For a regimented or symmetrical look you will need to cut spacer tape all the same length.
For a less formal casual look, it will work if you vary the spaces according to any variation in the artwork sizes.
Keep going until the full set is in place. You will probably need an extra pair of hands to make this work.
See how to choose art for your apartment
How big should a painting be over a couch?
The best thing to do here is to measure the wall area from the top of the couch to the top of the wall. This is the area that you have to work with. In most cases you will probably settle for a portrait image or possibly square to occupy the space.
You must aim to achieve an even boundary of wall-space around the piece or, at least, sufficient distance to separate the piece from the couch or whatever other furniture that’s beneath it.
To give you a guide as to the size of artwork that you could comfortably place here, you could measure the height of the available wall area and multiplying the measurement figure by 0.57. This will give you a figure that will be the ideal height for the piece. Do the same for the same for the width.
Go for the largest artwork that measures up to the measurement parameters that are available to you. Your couch is, most likely, going to be in your main living area. Here’s an opportunity to make a bold statement, so why not take it.
See how to choose abstract art
What height to hang a picture?
This will depend on whether you are hanging a piece in a room where you spend most of the time sitting or where you and guests will be standing. The main consideration is the ‘eye’ level. If you are sitting, this will be lower than when standing.
The problem here is how do we define eye level? Eye level to a short person isn’t the same as eye level to a tall person. So, how do we come to a compromise? Well, we can’t. The best we can do is place an art piece at a lower level that suits the current occupants, finding a point that caters for all who are resident. When guests call, they will have to just make of it what they can. Nature isn’t standardized.
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