Whether you’re into abstract art, traditional oil paintings or striking photography, nailing down the right size piece for your space can seem daunting. But as any interior designer will tell you, it’s all about scale. As an abstract artist who creates custom pieces for clients all over the country, I am often asked for advice on what size art my clients should hang on their walls.
After nearly four years of refining my approach to offering size advice, and as an avid art collector myself, here are my three best pieces of advice to make sure you pick the right size, every single time.
1. BIGGER IS BETTER
If there’s one rule of thumb to follow above all others, it’s that larger art is always better than smaller art. Now, I know that along with larger art typically comes higher price tags, but in my opinion it’s better to save up for that really big piece of art rather than to fill a wall with a small piece that sticks out like a sore thumb. In general, art should take up roughly 65-75% of your wall space. For example, if your standard sofa is about 84”, then the length of the art hanging above the sofa should be roughly 60 inches. Standard canvas sizes in this range are typically 48x60 inches, or 40x60 inches, and either one of those sizes will usually work over a sofa. Just remember, BIGGER is always better. This is especially true when it comes to abstract or contemporary art because you can really make a statement.
2. GIVE IT BREATHING ROOM (BUT NOT TOO MUCH!)
For height, bigger is also better, but you should leave a little breathing room between the top of the piece and the ceiling (at least 6-12 inches), as well as the bottom of the piece and the furniture below it (also 6-12 inches). It drives me crazy when I see a piece hanging a little too high above the piece of furniture below it.
3. WHEN IN DOUBT, TAPE IT OUT
My interior designer,Kristen Nix, taught me that you should always tape your space out before investing in artwork. This is especially important when you’re purchasing a large statement piece, or compiling a grid or gallery wall. I advise clients to do this all the time, and I’m always happy to review their photos of taped out walls before they purchase a piece or commission me. You simply use painters tape to outline the piece on your wall. It’s always smart to sit with the painters tape for a few days to ensure you like the size and placement of the “art.” It will peel right off when you’re ready to make a decision.
Original art is an important investment that will likely be around your house for a very long time! That’s why picking the correct size is essential to the process of purchasing the perfect piece of art.