picking-art hero image

How to Pick Art for Any Room in Your Home

The first rule is there are no rules. Ultimately, it is your home and you can do whatever you want in accordance to your taste and style. That being said, there are some tips and recommendations that will help you to get started.

Painting Location

You walk around your home and you notice you have quite a few empty walls. You want to put up some artwork, but where?  

First thoughts are usually the most obvious ones. Such as above the couch, above the fireplace, or over a mantle. However, there are many other places that artworks can go that most people seem to overlook. The most overlooked areas tend to be best ones. In particular the entryway, a hallway corner, bathroom, and the staircase.

Why are these spots so ideal for artworks? Simple. They will bring you physically close to the artworks. For example, picture a painting right above the towel rack in your bathroom. How far away are you from the painting when you're using the towel rack? Inches away most likely. Obviously you're going to have to pick the artwork for such locations very carefully. An artwork that yields well to such close scrutiny. An artwork with elaborate and fine details that can only be truly appreciated from up-close. In contrast artworks above a fireplace or above a piece of furniture make it difficult to see the details of the artwork. Of course, sometimes that's ok. In fact, many paintings are best appreciated as a whole.

While your hanging your art keep this in mind, to prevent any room from looking too busy or cluttered, pick only one wall in that room to hang your artwork. This doesn’t mean you have to have just one painting in a whole room. You can still hang multiple paintings, but on just one of the room's walls. The moment you start scattering paintings on multiple walls in the same room, the room will begin to look cluttered. If you have several paintings that are all part of a motif you can create a gallery style wall with multiple custom paintings. We'll give you some more details about sizing and spacing apart multiple paintings in the Size section bellow.

Open floor plans

When it comes to choosing custom artwork for an open floor plan it can get a little tricky, but have no fear. First, you must define separate areas of the open floor room. For most houses, those two areas will be the kitchen and the living room. After you sectioned off the two areas, you can apply the previous tip of hanging artworks on just one wall of each area. For instance, the kitchen area will have one wall of artwork, and same for the living room area.

Leopard canvas print
Canvas idea for the entryway

Painting Size

You’ve picked a wall in a room of your home, the next important thing to consider is the right size.

Generally speaking, small rooms and large paintings do not go well together. Large artworks will overtake the room, and a small artwork in a large room will get lost. That is, unless you group several small pieces together in an art gallery style.

Placing artworks above furniture - what to measure

When hanging your art over a couch or other furniture, only measure the open wall space from the top of the furniture to the ceiling, not from the floor to the ceiling.

The artwork should be a maximum 80 percent of the width of the furniture. Try to keep the bottom edge 6 - 12 inches above the furniture. To find the max artwork width here is a handy formula: Max Artwork Width = Furniture Width x 0.80

Sizing artworks for above a bed

Ideal size canvas above a 76-inch width King size bed should be a maximum width of 60 inches/ for one large artwork you’ll be looking for a 48×60-inch size canvas Ideal size canvas above a 60-inch width Queen size bed should be a maximum 48 width of inches/ you’ll be looking for a 36×48-inch size canvas Ideal size canvas above a 54-inch width Double size bed should be a maximum width of 43 inches /you’ll be looking for a 32×40-inch size canvas Ideal size canvas above a 39-inch width Twin size bed should be a maximum width of 31 inches / you’ll be looking for a 24×30-inch size canvas

Ballerina painting above a queen size bed
A 36x48 inch canvas over a 60 inch queen size bed.

If the wall you’ve chosen for your custom artwork is empty

Measure the width and length of your entire wall. To find the max artwork width empty wall: Max Artwork Width = Wall Width x 0.57

Multiple artworks

The three-eighths rule: Leave empty space in the amount of 3/8 of the width of the painting on each side. To measure the space on each side of the paintings use this formula: Space between each painting = canvas size x 0.375 Remember that when choosing a painting to hang next to an existing piece, the space between the two should be included when using the ratios described.

Multiple Pieces of artwork above a bed

If one large piece of artwork above your bed or other furniture doesn’t seem right, you can substitute the one large piece for two, or even three smaller pieces. This tends to work especially well in rooms with low ceilings. If you choose to go forward with this method, you will need to treat all of your smaller artwork as one big piece. What this means is that you must keep the outer width of the grouped artworks to a maximum width of 80 percent and space each individual art piece three-eighths of the width of the art piece on each side.

Painting Color

The hardest parts, the sizing and spacing, are now done. You’ve picked the perfect location and you’ve determined the right size artwork for your room. Now the fun part. Choosing the or better yet, making the artwork.   Choosing the right colors depends on your aim with the canvas. Do you prefer it to blend in with your room or stand out?

Option 1 - Blending your artwork with your room

Assuming the room has a few accent colors and you want to tie them into each other, you can make a custom canvas that carries many of the already present colors in the room. As a general rule, try not to use more than four colors. Choose artworks with as close of a color shade as already present in the room. If that's hard to achieve, pick artwork with a lighter shade than that of rooms colors. When in doubt, of course you can always stick to black and white artworks. Black and white will match just about anything. If you're aiming for blending artwork with the room, you should stay away from bright colors such as neons. Neons rarely match up with neutral coloured walls. Keep the colors in your wall art equal in proportion to their presence in the room. If your room has 25% gray, 25% yellow and 50% purple, ideally you want wall art with the same proportions or as close as possible.

Option 2 - Stand out Art

Choose wall art for your room that introduces new bolder shades in the same color scheme.   If you’re using the multiple artworks approach, try to pick an artwork that follows a similar art style. With each painting emphasizing a different color. You can make an art piece stand out furthermore by the addition of a bold frame. Introducing a new color into a room in twos or threes is probably the most effective way to make your wall art stand out.

Canvas print with bold colors in modern kitchen
Bold colors with muted tones

Art Styles

What exactly constitutes an art style?

A quick explanation of some of the more prominent art styles that you may come across:

Abstract art: Out of all the variety of art work styles, abstract art style is the most open to interpretation. To many abstract art looks like nothing more than paint spills and splotches. Abstract art uses shapes, colors, forms, and patterns over subject or meaning. Cubism: When I think Cubism, I think Pablo Picasso, angles and sharp edges. It consist of interlocking shapes and geometric forms to represent a subject. Impressionism: A realistic representation of a subject. Recreating an objective reality using thin brush strokes of pure unmixed color, while focusing on overall visual effects instead of details. Modernism: A deviation away from traditional art towards experimenting new ways to paint subjects. Pop Art: The imaginative interpretations of identifiable images from popular and mass culture. Surrealism: The release of the unconscious mind. It is often a mix between reality and surreal objects.

Light hue colored painting
Pick a painting that matches the color hue your room

If any of these styles speak to you and you think they would mesh well with your home this a great place to start. The most important thing is to make your decisions based on your taste and preferences. While still considering a few factors such as location, size and color scheme.

Back to site