What painting size should you purchase?
When looking for a painting or wall art, size is nearly as important as the composition of the piece. An improperly sized painting can either overwhelm a room or allow the room to overwhelm the artwork, neither of which is aesthetically pleasing. For many of us, art work is both a passion and an investment that is exactly why you should take the time to buy something that’s perfect for your home décor.
Measure the length and width of the wall where you want to hang the painting. If it is going over a bed, couch or other piece of furniture, only measure the open wall space, from the top of the furniture to the ceiling rather than from floor to ceiling.
Account for what is on the wall already when deciding on a size for the painting. Paintings hung over furniture should be less than 75 percent of the width of the furniture; for example, a painting over an 84-inch-long sofa should be 63 inches wide or less. Artwork hung over a fireplace tends to look best when the painting is as wide as the opening of the fireplace (no matter the size of the mantel).
Follow the three-eighths rule. When working with an otherwise empty wall, the general rule is to choose a piece that will leave empty space in the amount of three-eighths of the width of the painting on each side. This means that you can determine the perfect size painting by multiplying the width of the wall by 0.57; for example, a blank wall that is 120 inches wide requires a painting that is around 68 inches wide. When working with nonstandard-shaped painting (like a circle), use the widest point of the piece. With this same example wall, a circular canvas would need to be 68 inches in diameter to work on a 120-inch-wide wall.
Calculate the space between paintings if you’ll be hanging more than one. This includes hanging paintings over furniture, a fireplace or on a blank wall. When choosing a painting to hang next to an existing piece, the space between the two should be included when using the ratios described. For example, if you need to cover 68 inches of the wall with artwork to meet the three-eighths rule, subtract the width of the existing piece plus the space you plan to leave between the current painting and the new one from the 68 inches. If you have a 24-inch-wide piece hanging and plan to leave 4 inches of space, the new painting should be 40 inches wide (68 – 24 – 4 = 40).
Factor frame size into your choice. This isn’t necessary when working with unframed canvases; however, even a moderate 2-inch frame will add 4 inches of width to your new painting, altering the ratio between the artwork and the size of the wall.
How to successfully hang the wall art?
Whether you’re hanging one large piece or a lot of small ones, determining the proper placement of your artwork can sometimes seem daunting. Let this be your guide on how to hang painting and make the process pleasurable.
When you get out your nails and hammer, keep in mind that in most open spaces the center of your art should be approximately eye-level (the average is 60 to 65 inches from the floor). But in the dining room and living room (and other places you sit), hang the art a little lower, still keeping the bottom edge of the frame 6-12 inches above a sofa, tabletop, or chair rail.
Hanging one large piece draws attention to a focal point in the room, like a fireplace or bed, and sets a more formal tone. If just one piece looks too tiny on the wall (especially in a narrow space), hang a vertical series of pieces of the same size. (Groupings of three and five create a natural center.) To unify them, keep the space between the pieces equal, even if the frames are different sizes.
When hanging a set of paintings (3-piece canvas, 4-piece canvas, 5-piece canvas), leave 2” to 5” between each painting for proper spacing. Use low adhesive tape to keep spacing consistent between frames. Hanging paintings too far apart will look disjointed, like you are trying to fill the wall instead of connecting each piece of art.
Dress your walls with the right size and at the right height!