Over the past dozen-plus years, I have helped many people choose art for their homes. As I wrote last week, some people look for art to fill a specific space in their home, while others purchase art simply because they like it, and they commit to making it work somewhere.
This blog post shows different sizes of art in different homes, giving you an idea of what sizes look good in which areas of a home. So, whether you are shopping for a certain spot in your home, or are trying to decide where in your home to hang a new piece, hopefully you will find this helpful.
I hope it goes without saying that there are no actual rules! These are merely examples of art installations that I think work really well, and that my collectors and business friends* have been kind enough to share with me.
*Some of these photos show my art in homes that have been staged.
Small-Medium: Art size of up to 18”x24”
Paintings in this range are awesome because they are flexible – they can fit a lot of different places. And, they’re small enough that you can group them with other art and décor.
Left photo, 18”x24” print: This print looks great on this credenza paired with other décor items.
Middle photo, 18”x24” painting: This painting hangs on a small wall between a corner and a door. The painting is a nice way to fill this space; this size could also work on a larger wall. Likewise, a slightly smaller piece of art would also adequately fill this space.
Right photo, 16”x20” painting: A small wall, like this spot at the top of the stairs, or the space above a bedside table, is perfect for a painting this size.
Medium: Art size of 24”x24” to 24”x30”
When people are thinking about a painting in this size range, I always say, “This is a great size. The painting feels substantial, but you’re not going to have to rearrange your whole house to accommodate it.”
Left photo, 24”x24” painting: This one is interesting. Typically, I would think you would want a larger piece of art for this living room wall; however, because this room is so white, and bright, I like the amount of visual “white space” around the painting. The room feels uncluttered and the art isn’t crowded.
Middle photo, 24”x24” painting: This painting is a nice way to frame the large windows in this dining room.
Right photo, 24”x30” painting: Given the size and layout of this living room, a 24”x30” painting is too small to be the focal point; however, it is right in front of you as you round the corner from the entry into the main part of the house. In this way, it greets you. Read more about the perfect symmetry achieved with this painting in this room.
Large: Art size 30”x30” to 30”x40”
Alright, now we’re encroaching on statement-piece territory. Paintings this size can definitely be a focal point in a room, but they don’t have to be.
Left photo, 30”x40” painting: This painting makes a wonderful welcome to the home.
Middle photo, 40”x30” painting: The painting is not nearly as wide as this couch, but paired with the large bouquet, the space is filled appropriately.
Right photo, 30”x30” painting: This painting is the perfect size to break up the fireplace wall.
Huge: Art size up to 60”x48”
It's official: We are talking about statement pieces. Paintings in this size range will command a room and could even be the main attraction that you decorate around – or not. As I’ll explain, bringing huge art into your home is often easier than you think.
The paintings shown here are all either 60”x36” or 60”x40,” which are often perfect sizes for over a couch, fireplace, or bed. Of course, the right height painting will depend on what the painting hangs over and how high your ceilings are. A painting hanging over a couch, for instance will be hung lower than a painting going over a fireplace; therefore, you may have room for a taller painting.
Left photo, 48”x60” painting: This was my dining room when we lived in Wichita. I love showing this photo to illustrate to people that you can have big art. My dining room was very “normal” size and my house was full of windows. But, we had this one wall, framed by windows that was perfect for hanging a huge piece. Hanging there, the painting really felt like it was commanding the head of the table. What a statement in the room!
Middle photo, 48”x60” painting: I installed this painting for Portland-area collectors in their generous entry-way. They loved this location because it would greet their guests, bring tons of color to an otherwise quiet portion of their house, and it would be visible from many locations in their great room.
Right photo, 48”x60” painting. This photo is from another one of my homes: A small apartment that we lived in when we first moved home to Portland. We were lucky to have a ton of windows, which meant very limited wall space. This large painting was the main attraction, connecting the dining area to the living area. To have a big painting, you only need ONE wall to hang it on! You don't need a huge house full of huge walls.
Have you read my post "Learn to hang art like an interior designer?" That post will give you some other things to think about besides just the size of art.
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