D.A. Findlay | Photographs | The Right Size


Choosing a Size that is Right for Your Space

When choosing artwork, size is nearly as important as the composition of the piece. An improperly sized piece can either overwhelm a room or allow the room to overwhelm the art, neither of which is aesthetically pleasing. 

Determine available space

If you have a huge open wall, you will want to work around your furniture using the general rule of covering 2/3 to 3/4 of that area with your artwork.  This can be accomplished with one large piece or a number of smaller pieces. But if you have a small bare wall (like in a hallway or between two windows), you can keep the space a little more open by using the next step.

Doing some math

One guideline is to leave 3/8 of the width of your art on each side of your area. In other words, the art should take up 4/7 of the selected space. Since this isn't a fraction we see very often (if at all), use this math trick to get the size art you need: multiply your wall space (in inches) by .57 (4/7 turned into a decimal). So say your area is 36 inches -- you want to look for art that's 20-21 inches wide.

Hanging your artwork

When hanging your art work, 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.

General considerations

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.

A visual guide …