How do you know what size of art to buy for a space? Whether you aim to liven up the family home or you’re decorating a new property, there are a few important ideas to keep in mind.
Here’s my top 8 considerations when deciding on the size of an art piece to buy.
- What is the ceiling height?
- What’s the size of the wall?
- Is the space big or small?
- What is the style of the art?
- Do you want to make a small room look bigger? Or fill a big room?
- How is the art going to fit around furniture?
- Consider your overall décor style.
- How will the piece be supported?
What is the ceiling height?
When it comes to choosing the size of art to buy for your wall, the first thing you should take into consideration the height of your ceiling. For example, if you have a high ceiling, you should avoid a piece of art that is too small. This will not only make the piece less effective but it will also make it appear lost in a large space, or even worse, too big for the room.
On the other hand, if you have a low ceiling, you should avoid a piece that is too large. This will make the piece look out of place and will make a room appear even smaller. Long and thin paintings work great for big rooms like lounges and dining rooms that have a low ceiling height.
Check out my guide here on xxx
What’s the size of the wall?
Another important consideration when purchasing art for your wall is the wall surface area. Think about how the wall looks now, and what it will look like once you add your art.
Is one big piece going to adequately going to fill the space? Or will it only exaggerate how much empty space there is? You may need 2 or 3 paintings (especially if you’re choosing portraits over landscapes)!
Using the gallery wall technique is a clever way of filling a big wall with lots of small paintings, to fill the space in the same way one large painting would. You can read my guide to creating your own gallery wall here.
Is the space big or small?
Following on from the two points above, you’ll want to consider is the size of the art piece itself. For example, if you have a very small space and want to fill it in with something to make it look bigger, you will want to avoid too large of an art piece.
On the other hand, if you have a large space, you can go a few sizes bigger and still have the same impact on the space.
Finding a good balance between the size of the art and the size of the space is essential in making your art piece look great. If anything, I recommend to always go a little bigger than what you would think.
What is the style of the art? Go big with abstract art!
The style of the art piece you’re looking for also matters. For example, if you’re looking for a piece that is more abstract, a large piece is not required. However, if you’re looking for a piece that is more realistic, you may want to go a bit larger, particularly if you have a larger space to display it in.
What’s important here is understanding that images of people and objects have an inherent sense of scale, and won’t look quite right if they’re blown way up out of proportion. Abstract or landscape style paintings don’t have this effect and can look just as good whether small or large.
For example, a painting of a person’s face that is twice as big as real life will produce a dwarfing effect, which may be uncomfortable in a lounge setting – but may be desirable in a large foyer or atrium.
A sparse seascape painting of the ocean will look in proportion no matter how large or small!
Do you want to make a small room look bigger? Or fill a big room?
Another thing to keep in mind is how much space is an issue in the room. If you want to liven up a small space, you might want to go a few sizes bigger so it looks better. For example, a huge piece over a bed could take the pace of a headboard. After all the rules are made to be broken!
However, if you have a large space, it’s not as important to make it look bigger.
Check out this article which is full of helpful tips to make your room look bigger with art!
How is the art going to fit around furniture?
Another thing to consider is where you want to put the art piece. For example, if you’re planning to put the piece above a bed or couch there are certain size rules you’ll want to abide by.
I’ve written a helpful article here which discusses what size art you should buy based on the furniture in your room.
There are opposing views on whether the art piece should match the furnishings or not. If you can repeat the colours in the room with the art piece, I think it always looks great. On the other hand, an outstanding painting will look amazing in any surroundings. Don’t let either view hinder your decision to buy!
Consider your overall décor style.
If you have a certain style in mind, you can pick a size that will fit the space, and you can fill in the other areas with other pieces of art in your style. However, if you don’t have a style in mind, you might want to consider picking a piece that will work in many different styles.
Finally, how is the piece supported?
This is one thing I so often see people think about only AFTER they get their chosen artwork home.
Is it freestanding, framed on a wall, hanging from the ceiling or a rail?
I do a lot of paintings on doors and these will need to hang of large nails that are driven into a stud in your wall. The stud locations in your wall are obviously fixed, so there will only be a few locations around the room where the hooks (and therefore the painting) can go.
The size of a piece also depends on how it is displayed and whether it is displayed on its own or as part of a group.
Small paintings can be hung wherever on either small picture tacks, or adhesive hooks. Where you’ll run into problems is with large heavy paintings.
While many people purchase art pieces based on their own taste, there are also many practical aspects you should before you pull the trigger. Namely, the size of the art piece, the dimensions of the room, and the style of the space.
If a piece is too large, it will overwhelm the space and become a distraction. If the piece is too small, it will feel lost in the space. When buying an art piece, it’s a good idea to consider the size of the artwork relative to the size of the space in which it will be displayed and how it will work around any furniture in the room.
So, the next time you are thinking of getting some art, consider the size of the art in relation to the room.