How to Pick Large Art (and Where to Place It)

April 04 2019 – Chelsea Vincent

How to Pick Large Art (and Where to Place It)
How to Pick Large Art (and Where to Place It)

Why You Should Absolutely Incorporate Statement Pieces

By Chelsea Vincent

How to hang large wall art and where to hang it

If you imagine this space without the painting, it’s nice enough – and neutral – but the addition of large, colorful artwork really makes the room pop.

Having just moved into a new place (and our first house) only a few short months ago, I’m excited to make the space feel like it’s really ours. We’ve summoned the painters, we’ve re-caulked the shower, we’ve added most of the furniture. And now begins the best part: tying it all together, with art.

“Man, this place is bare. You need some posters up or something.”

Think about friends you knew from school, who went on to have careers and spaces of their own, but when you visited, you just felt like, “man, this place is bare. You need some posters up or something.”

See? Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an art buff, your intuition felt that a key ingredient was missing.

That’s where art – especially large art – can really complete a space.

How and Where to hang large wall art

Start with Size – Bigger is Generally Better

Size really does matter, when it comes to art. Tiny artwork is cute, but when you put it up on a wall, it gets lost. While having some smaller paintings is fine (like the vacation-inspired art that reminds you of your trip to Hawaii), having a central, large image to anchor others is key.

How big should art be, you ask? Great question (and lots of people wonder this). When thinking about the size for your solo stunner, think of choosing a size that is bold enough to make a statement and have a presence, but not bigger than the biggest furniture item in the room.

Small Artwork can be cute...

While there’s nothing wrong with this artwork, the size of it in this room makes it feel like an afterthought – like a cool, free poster from an event – versus an intentional design element.


As a general aesthetic rule of thumb, choose a large piece of art that’s at least two-thirds the size of your largest piece of furniture around it. (That sounds weirdly large, but trust us here – art and spaces are our jam!) Or, choose a handful of paintings (2-3 medium ones) which can be clustered together, to take up a comparable amount of space.

Creating a room theme with wall art

Determine a Color, Theme, or Feeling You Want Expressed

Once you’ve surveyed your space, and you’ve got a size in mind for your large art, the next step is deciding what kind of art you want. With literally dozens of categories of art out there, this can feel overwhelming. So, rather than just Google-searching “art” (and having your brain explode), think about what appeals to you.

What do you already have in the space where the large art will go? Are there certain colors which you really like, like those canary yellow throw pillows, which could be brought out with a painting of a similar color? Do you have a theme in the space, like industrial or summery, which a painting could enhance? Or is there a feeling you want the space to convey, like whimsy, peace, or adventure? All of these considerations will help you narrow down the playing field.

How to place art unconventionally

See how the mirror over the fireplace runs lengthwise, complementing the shape of the fireplace and the low ceilings, which also favor a landscape orientation? This creates balance.

Place Art with Like Lines

Last but not least is placing your artwork in such a way that it works with the architecture of the rest of the room. Believe it or not, in this instance, the architecture includes the lines created not just by the floor, walls, and ceiling, but also by the furniture and other decorative items. To place your art in a position which complements these other lines, think about elements that already exist in your space.

If you’ve got high ceilings, then a large work that is oriented in portrait-style is sure to dazzle. On the flip side, if you’ve got low ceilings, work with those horizontal lines, baby – grab a large piece that has a landscape orientation! Aligning large art with dominant lines in the space already create harmony and that feeling that all is well spatially.

"To place your art in a position which complements these other lines, think about elements that already exist in your space..."

Fun tip here: If you want to get an idea of what the painting will look like once hung up (and you don’t want to put seven nail holes in the wall, like I used to do), get some painter’s tape and tape out the size of your art on the wall first, or put up some light poster frames with velcro hangers. You can reposition until you’re happy.

Unique ways to display large wall art

If you know that the giant void in your living room needs some love, now’s the time to take action by adding some large, inviting artwork. From an aesthetics standpoint, you and your guests will feel more at ease, as you turn a once-dull room into a warm, thought-provoking oasis.

Where has large art stood out to you, and how has it contributed to your experience or the general ambiance of a space? Let us know below! 


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