Gallery walls have received the lion’s share of design attention during the past few years, and for good reason: They’re a wonderful way to make a big decor statement with smaller artworks. Some people find them too busy, though, especially in rooms where they’re striving for a tranquil ambience. (And if you cannot tolerate artwork that is even slightly ajar, a gallery wall could have you continually straightening frames.)
For those reasons, we’re happy to see oversize artworks also getting some designer love. When displayed to best advantage, a large piece of art proves that less really can be more.
If you’re considering opting for a large painting, photo, or other work, consider this rule of thumb: The art should be about two-thirds to three-fourths the width of the sofa, bed, or other furniture piece below it, and the bottom of the artwork should hang roughly five to eight inches above the furniture.
Not that you have to anchor your art to a piece of furniture. If you’re choosing a painting or photograph to display in a hallway or any other expanse, the two-thirds/three-fourths guideline still applies, this time in relation to the width of the empty space. As for height, the center of the art should be approximately eye level—57 inches or so above the floor.
A few other helpful tips:
• Consider designing the room around the art rather than choosing art to accommodate the furnishings. This is especially if you’re decorating from scratch or you find a work that you can’t live without. Too often art is an afterthought.
• Be sure your screws and anchors are sturdy enough to support the art. Don’t skimp!
• When buying new art, make sure you can fit it into your doorway, up your staircase, or into your elevator. If you can’t, consider hoisting it through a window, as people do when moving pianos.