An artists’ 10 tips on how to choose the right sized art
You may think deciding on the right style of art is the difficult part of shopping for artwork, but in actual fact, choosing the right sized art for your home is a factor many of us forget to take into account. A piece of work that’s too big can overpower the other elements in the room, whilst a artwork that’s too small will look plain silly. Thankfully, there are several ways you can avoid making this mistake, so that your walls are practically gallery-worthy (and isn’t that something we all aspire to!).
1.Find your perfect style
The first thing you have to do when choosing the right art for your home - ignoring the topic of size to begin with - is to find a style that you love and will continue to love for many years to come. This could be broad, such as deciding on a general style of art, or more specific, such as deciding that you would like a modern seascape design in a certain colour palette.
Once you’ve found a style of art that suits your tastes - and home! - best, you can begin to narrow down your search, ensuring that the size of your image is an important factor that you keep at the front of your mind.
2.Work out the size
When considering what size would work best on your walls then use this general rule of thumb; two-thirds to three-fourths of your available wall space should be filled by the artwork. Take your existing furniture into account and work around that. For example, if you’re trying to find a piece of art to hang above a hallway console table then the wall space you’re taking into account is just the wall that is above this table and up to the ceiling.
If you’re struggling to work out what would look best then err on the side of caution and opt for big. Indeed, if you haven’t actually furnished your home yet (but really eager to sort out your art!) then you could work around the art on your walls. A large, statement canvas or print will create a focal point in your home and can become the item that you use to unify everything else in the room.
3.Consider the frame
Working out what dimensions will work best is one headache; realising that you hadn’t accounted for the size of the frame around your new artwork is another. Work out what type of frame you want and add the measurements for that to the ones you have for the art. Many art suppliers provide frames with the pieces they sell, as well as their dimensions. My own prints are professionally framed to order and the dimensions are included on the product page.
4.How high is too high?
Another thing to consider is where your newest artwork will hang on the wall. Galleries always manage to get it just right, which is why following their rule of thumb seems like a good idea. To do so, hang your art so that the centre of the piece falls at eye level. To a person of average height this is around 56 to 60 inches off the floor. If you’re hanging above a piece of furniture then try to get this hung within 4 to 12 inches above the furniture in question.
5.To be or not to be . . .landscape? Portrait?
This may seem too obvious to even be included but it’s definitely something that can cause issues further down the line. When working out the ideal dimensions for your perfect piece of art you’ll also need to work out whether a portrait or landscape orientation would be best for you. This decision will have a big impact on what works are available for your preferences. Large spaces work best with landscapes, whilst tall and narrow areas are portrait perfection.
6.Consider your room
The room that you’re intending to hang your art in will have an effect on what piece, and also what size, you opt for. Small, quirky pieces work well in bathrooms, whilst large landscapes create an impressive scene hanging over dining tables. Consider the effect you want to give off in a room, and the emotional response you want to create.
Gallery walls have grown in popularity over the last few years, as they present an easy way to mix smaller pieces of art which, individually, don’t blow the budget. If you’re considering creating your own gallery wall then opt for smaller pieces each time you buy a new addition to your gallery wall, so that no single piece of art overpowers the others.
8.Add your furniture into the equation
When hanging art above furniture or mantelpieces use this simple equation: the art should be three-fourths of the width of the furniture. If you change your furniture you may have to shift your artwork too, which is something worth bearing in mind when renovating your home.
Art above a mantelpiece should be hung around 3 to 6 inches above, which will give both the mantel and the piece of art enough room to ‘breathe’ without there appearing to be a strangely large gap between the two.
9.Embrace the spaces that you have
All of my designs are infinitely scalable, so if you would like to cover a whole wall with a design then you can request this via my Contact page. Working with the totality of your wall space in this way can make a real impact and this is often an ideal solution for large walls in offices and retail spaces.
However, something else that can be considered is leaning your art, rather than hanging it, and doing so in a way that ties into the height and style of the objects in your home. For examples of this you can look to Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, which was once the home of former Tate Gallery curator Jim Ede. During his career Jim had been gifted so many notable pieces of art that he decided to position these alongside his day to day belongings, to present a harmonious whole. The house is now open as a gallery and pieces are displayed leaning against walls, perhaps half-eclipsed by another piece, and completely without notecards to signify the importance of the piece's visual appeal, over the name of its creator. Is this something that could work in your own space?
10.Buy what you like
Last but not least is the advice to buy what you like. If you can’t find artwork that ticks your boxes in a style that you like, then it’s much better to opt for a size that’s not quite right in order to own art that lifts your spirit each time you see it. After all, walls can be knocked down, furniture can be bought and sold, but art is eternal!
You can shop my selection of framed prints and canvases here.