Helpful Hints

The Big Picture: How to Choose the Perfect Artwork for Your Space

Bare walls can make for a boring room.  Even the most minimalist interiors often have some occupied wall space.  The right pieces of art can complement and complete a decor.  But how do you know what the right piece of art is?  Between local artists, galleries, antique shops, and the internet there’s a ton of art to choose from.  It can get a bit overwhelming.  Once you have an idea of what type of art you like and the size of the space you have to fill it gets a little easier.  Here’s what to keep in mind to help pick the perfect art for your home.


Buy What You Like

If you’re going to be looking at it everyday, you should choose art that you enjoy.  Art is a way to express yourself and your taste in your home.  You may need to fill wall space but the ultimate goal is to find pieces that mean something to you, not just take up space.  In terms of style there’s no right or wrong of what’s appropriate for a room.  It’s really up to your personality and your taste.  You shouldn’t feel like your art selections must be dictated by the style of the rest of the room.  Art choices can be eclectic and contrast and complement the decor.  Your opinion is the one that matters most, so find art that you love to fill your home with.


Explore Multiple Media

Don’t feel like you have to stick only with one medium for your artwork selections.  Paintings, prints, photographs, tapestries, and even sculpture are all viable options for wall art.  Mixing periods, styles, and media will look collected over time and tell more of a story than one medium all in the same style will.  Each medium has its strengths and can provide its own contribution to the rest of the decor.  Art is all about adding visual interest, so the more different types of art there are, the more visual interest the room will gain.


Be Mindful of Scale

Size is incredibly important when choosing artwork for you walls.  A piece that’s too large will take up the whole wall and overpower the room.  A piece that’s too small will get lost and look out of place.  If you find multiple smaller pieces of art you enjoy they can be grouped together to create proper scale.  If you’re an apartment dweller, or anyone who moves frequently, try to look for somewhat “standard” sized art that will work in various locations.  Pieces between 12 inches and 47 inches are more likely to fit various walls.  Measure your wall before looking at art to get an idea of how much space is available.  You generally don’t want a piece of art to take up more than two-thirds to three-quarters of the wall.  If you’re choosing art to go over a piece of furniture like a sofa, look for a piece that’s no wider than the furniture or it will make the space feel top-heavy.


Plan Placement

Once you acquire the art you want, proper placement is important to ensure that it looks good and works well in the room.  Vertically oriented pieces will look best on narrower strips of wall while horizontally oriented pieces will shine on wider walls.  The general rule of thumb for hanging artwork is to center it at eye level.  If you’ll usually be sitting in the space, you may opt to base eye level from where you are when seated; if it’s a space you’re usually walking through base eye level off of standing height.  When you’re hanging art over furniture or a mantel it’s best to keep the bottom edge 6 to 12 inches above the furniture.  You could also choose to skip hanging the piece and lean it against the wall using the mantle or piece of furniture as a base.  If putting together a gallery wall, plan out where you want each piece to go before starting.  Using painter’s tape is a good way to mark out where each piece will go and help give you a visual of how much space everything will take up.


There are two approaches to when to select art for a room.  You can choose the art first and then pull colors and other inspiration from it for the rest of the decor, or choose the art last and have it help fill in elements that may be missing in the room, like pops of color or a touch of whimsy.  Whichever approach you choose the above tips will still work in helping you select the appropriate art for your space.

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