Ideal Art Sizes for the Most Common Placements

Ok, so you've found a piece of art you like, but how do you know if it will look right over the bed? Or be proportionate to the sofa? Scale is sometimes hard to know until you see it once it's in the space, so here are a few tricks of the trade to help you select the appropriately-sized artwork for the most common areas:

Pictured above is "Road to Alignment: Mile 21" and "Road to Alignment: Mile 20", 30" x 30" each

Generally speaking, the width of the artwork should hang 6-12" above the top of the sofa and take up 50-65% of the width of the sofa to look proportionate. This could be in the form of a single artwork, or the total from a group/pairing. The height will depend on your ceilings - the higher they are, the more vertical you can go to fill the room. Lower ceilings should steer towards horizontal pieces.

Photo: courtesy of CW Interiors. Pictured above: "First Kiss" and "Law of Attraction" by Julie Pelaez bookend "Alligator" by Kimberly Zukley, each 20" x 20" and framed in acrylic shadowboxes by Wexel Art, available HERE.

Artworks over the bed should hang 8-10" above the headboard and take up 50-80% of the width of the bed. For a Queen, that's 34-50" wide, and for a King, that's 48-60" wide. A landscape-oriented artwork is the most common, but don't forget about a triptych or diptych as options. These collections are most visually successful when tied together by the same frame.

Pictured above: "In the Deep" 30" x 30" Framed art print 

Couple of options here:
1. Designers recommend artwork to take up 2/3 the size of the fireplace surround. 2. Having said that, of all the places to hang artwork, this location is the most changeable with seasonal decorations, hanging stockings, etc. that you might consider a more flexible casual/wall-friendly approach of leaning & layering art rather than hanging it. With this option, you can have overlapping artwork of varying heights, as long as there is enough difference between them. And framed don't have to match in this case. A common color, subject matter or gestural style can serve as a throughline. As little as 2 artworks, with the smaller piece at 1/3-1/2 the height staggered in front of a larger one is enough to create the effect - but there's one other thing you'll need: an organic shape like a plant, decorative item or vessel to layer in front on the opposite side to break up the lines and keep it from feeling stiff. 

When hanging artwork on a wall all to itself, use the general gallery rule, which places the center of the artwork around eye level, or 62" from the floor. In this case, I think bigger is better (see next section).


Pictured above: "Chasing Tomorrow" 60" x 60" canvas print.

Similar to how a small rug doesn't look right, an artwork that has tons of wallspace around it can feel swallowed up, and almost accidental. Pushing the scale of the art really gives it an impactful presence in the room, making a statement and contributing style, color and personality.

This is one of my own personal shopping rules I live by that I'll throw in there. Don't just buy something because it's on sale or it's the right color. It has to check the most important box of all: Do you love it? Not just like it, but LOVE it. Especially with art that will hang on your wall for years, it should elicit a connection, a feeling, or remind you of a happy time. 

Art doesn't have to be expensive. I honestly just wrote this entire article and realized all my above examples feature paper or canvas prints instead of original art! If you're wondering what the difference is, original art is the one painted by the maker, which can then be scanned. Prints are copies made from the digital scans, and can be printed on paper, canvas, metal at various sizes. If you're filling a large wall, prints can help your budget stretch a long way. However... there are plenty of artworks that won't/can't be available as prints (many of my latest collections featuring 3D aspects cannot be replicated), deeming them truly one-of-a-kind, garnering a coveted status that is enticing for collectors who satisfy that "Love Rule" mentioned above. 

Art is one of the best ways to personalize your space, express your style and make any interior more unique. I hope these tips help to give you more confidence when picking out art so you can hang like a design pro. Happy art hunting!