When deciding on the size, shape, and location of a painting within a room, getting it correct can make all the difference. Too small and the wall looks empty, too large and the room can feel small. So how do we choose the right size of a painting for the given wall space? It's a great questions and one I want to explore a bit with you.
First of all, how do you feel about the location and size of this first painting? the things I notice right away are that the piece above the fireplace has a really great relationship to the size and shape of the fireplace and wall above. There is a nice space border around the piece of the art, with the art being hung just below the centre of the wall while being up about 6 inches from the mantel, really works well. Both elements have a bit of breathing room.
In addition, the paintings on either side of the fireplace also occupy the space beautiful. They are not hung at exactly the same height, as they are smaller pieces. You can see that by the bottom edge of the paintings are at different levels.
This painting that doesn't quite get it right. In terms of placement within the space, it is sitting too low. There is no breathing room between the fireplace and the painting itself. In addition, the beam or mantel from the adjoining wall, on the right, cuts into the space. Perhaps an off centre hanging would have been better or a grouping of smaller pieces so that the eye isn't distracted by the line of the mantel intruding into the space.
In this example the painting is right sized for the wall space and the width of the mantel. In addition, the colouring of the frame and subject matter go nicely with the rustic wood interior. I think this is a great placement and choice for this lovely mantel.
If you are hanging a painting above a sofa or bed, how do you choose a piece for that space? In this photo I think the proportions are way off. #1 the size of the matt around the painting is too wide on the sides. It really doesn't enhance the image, rather the painting is a bit lost within that white border. The black frame is a bit harsh too. #2 the size of the overall artwork is about 1/2 the width of the sofa, which is too small. You want to aim for 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the sofa or bed that you will be hanging the piece above.
Here's a great example of a painting that is the correct size for the sofa it is paired with. Its close to the 75% of the width of the sofa, hung with 6-8 inches room at the lower edge and centred on the wall beautifully. The minimal frame, likely a metal frame, around the piece complements the painting versus drawing your eye to the frame. The colour of the piece also works well with the soft toned interior colour palette. This is a beautiful painting for the space, the correct size, and hung to the benefit of the other fixtures.
Here's another example. The painting is lovely as is the sofa, but the two do not pair together well. The painting is too small for the wall size and the width of the sofa. The width of the painting is closer to 40% of the total width of the sofa. The colours work pretty well, it's just the size that is distracting.
Here are two examples of using multiple pieces over a sofa to fill the space. They work really well. The overall width is appropriate to the width of the sofa and they are hung with a beautiful space between themselves and above the back of the sofa.
In the second living room 5 pieces have been hung with the centre of the paintings at eye level and spaced regularly across the wall. This is a beautiful symmetrical pattern and is proportionally relevant to the second largest piece on this wall, the sofa.
These pieces are also a nice combination to the sofa, however, they are hung asymmetrically and with variable spaces between them. I think this works really well because the colour palette is relevant to the room, the frames aren't too heavy and the entire grouping of paintings reads as one unit. Very nicely done.
Some helpful things to keep in mind. Leave 6-8 inches between the bottom edge of your artwork and the other large elements on the same wall. Your art should be 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of those other large elements which could be made up of one piece of art or several smaller ones. Keep the colours relevant to the room and choose frames that compliment without drawing all the attention to the frame.
When you hang art on a wall that does not have another architectural feature like a sofa, mantel or bed, then aim to hang your art with the centre of the piece at eye level. Eye level changes for each person however the ideal would be between 57 and 60 inches up from the floor. Aim for the lower end of the range if people in your household are shorter and the higher end of the range if they are on the taller size. Measure the width of the wall space and aim for the art covering 60-75% of that width.
These are guidelines and your interior is really up to you. Use your judgement and give these ideas a try in your own space. You might be surprised how moving your art around with these tips in mind could create a really pleasing space for you.
If you are looking for new paintings to fill these walls of yours you can view my available painting using the link below.
Leave me any comments you might have in the comment box.