How to select the right size artwork for your space

You are ready to decorate your walls and select art that works well in your space. Choosing the right size of artwork is essential to creating a great look. Whether hanging a single picture or a collection of décor, follow these proven decorating tips to select the size of art that complements your furniture and enhances your style.

 A picture above a coach showing the 2/3 rule: the picture should be at least 2/3 of the length of the couch to look balanced and centered over the sofa

Balance art with furniture - use the ⅔ rule 

When hanging art above furniture, select art that is about 2/3 the length of the furniture. If art is too small it gets lost, and if too large it can overwhelm the item it is meant to complement. The 2/3 rule is just the right size for a balanced look.

It’s easy to calculate the size of art you need: Measure the length of your furniture, say a couch is 6 feet long. Multiply this number by .66 and that is the width of the art that will work best above the furniture. In this case, art that is about 4 feet wide will work well for a 6 foot sofa. Use this basic calculation as the first step to getting the right size of artwork needed, no matter the space you want to fill above furniture.

Once you know the size of artwork needed, apply these additional decorating tips to hang wall décor so it looks great in any room.

picture of a sofa with the correct centering and height of a picture above it and a picture of sofa with the picture too high

Anchor art to furniture

Be sure to hang the art about 8-12” above the furniture so that it is anchored with the piece. If it’s too high it will look like it’s floating on its own instead of connected to the furniture. 

Start with these measurement guidelines and try a few different heights until you get the right look. We all have an innate sense of balance, so trust what looks good to you. If you are hanging art above furniture that will have accessories on it like a hall table or bedroom dresser, then add the accessories before you try the different heights to see how they look together.

large picture above a couch and centered over the sofa

Hang a single piece above furniture

The simplest arrangement is using a single piece of art. Measure the length of the furniture and then use the 2/3 rule above to calculate the size of art to hang. Be sure to center your art with the furniture.

A single large piece can make a bold statement in any room. And, it’s easy to hang only one item. If you want a little help when it comes to hanging pictures check out this Hang & Level™ playlist on YouTube. With our picture hanging tool, you can mark exactly where to put the nail. No measuring is needed and no mistake holes!

 two images each with a couch with either a 2 set artwork or 3 set artwork hanging centered above the sofas

Hang 2 or 3 pieces above furniture

Once you have used the 2/3 rule to figure out the right width of artwork for an area, the space can be filled with a single picture or a collection of items hung together. There is lots of art readily available online or in store in sets of two or three pictures. Select a set so that when the images are grouped together, with about 2 - 5 inches between each picture, they fill the length you require.

Gallery wall with various decor items centered above a couch

Create a gallery 

If you have a collection of different pieces you love, then consider creating a gallery arrangement that fills the width you want. It is really easy to do whether you have pictures all the same size or different sizes. Lay the items you have on the floor and try different arrangements. Keep the space between items the same distance for a cohesive look. We usually start trying from 2 - 5 inches between frames when we are decorating. Have fun and let your creativity flow. Start building the arrangement from the center outwards and keep things balanced as you add items to the top, bottom or sides. Read this blog  for more inspiration and easy tips on how to create the perfect gallery wall.

Rectangle painted with a picture centered in it and the rectangle and picture are both centered above a couch

Paint behind the artwork to take up more visual space

If you have an item you want to hang that is smaller than the size you want, here’s a trick to increase its visual presence. Simply paint an area behind the artwork a darker or contrasting color to set it off from the wall.

Determine the size of the shape needed using the 2/3 guideline above. Generally it’s best to follow the shape and proportion of your artwork. Use painter’s tape to mark the outline of the shape and center it over the sofa. Select a color that complements the picture and room décor. Paint the space, let it dry, remove the tape and hang the picture in the center of the painted shape.

Follow your instincts

These rules are guidelines only. You are the best judge of what looks best to you in your space. Use these tips as a starting point and let your creativity flow. Be confident and select the look you like the best. 

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-The UTR Team

At Under The Roof Decorating our mission is to design innovative products that help you Create the home you love™.

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