how-to-choose-wall-art

How Do You Choose Wall Art?

Any home or interior design is never truly complete in the absence of artwork. Art is how we add drops of personality and transform an otherwise bland space into something exquisite. Moreover, with properly picked art, the space can truly feel like your own.

You don’t have to be a world-renowned interior designer to choose art. Yes, it certainly makes sense for you to consider the art pieces you’ll be wanting to display.

There’s no single formula that can help you choose art for your favorite room in the house, but there is a trusty guide you can refer to, so you can effectively sort the art you want from the art that you truly need.

Why do you even need art in the first place?

Rooms feel unfinished or lack texture when there’s nothing pretty to satisfy your eyes as you stare into empty wall space. In adding wall art and making it the focal point of a room, you are given a good design to work the rest of the interior design with. Plus, you get to add variety too.

In addition, the answer extends far beyond the surface of simply adding decoration or delivering color to a single room. Emotionally and aesthetically, having artwork around has great value.

Notable effects that art has in a room include:

  • Freedom of expression: There is no need for words when art can be one of the best ways to express the homeowner’s identity. And since you love an art piece enough to display it on your wall, then that speaks volumes about your outlook in life, your sense of style, your personality, etc.
  • Breathes life into a home: Your home is essentially, “your place.” For this reason, decorating it according to your vision and preference is important. It makes your room appear finished and shows of the homeowner’s interests to visitors.
  • Inspires various emotions: Whether it’s a feeling or a memory, art always succeeds at evoking powerful emotions whenever one looks at it.

3 Things to Consider in Choosing Wall Art for a Space

Finding wall art to fit the rest of the room’s interior decor can be quite a challenge for some. The general rule is to find something that speaks to you personally, or a piece of art that you can use as the room’s base. Think of the piece as a foundation for how you want the entire room to look like.

There are no specific set of rules to follow when you work on hanging ornaments all around your room, but keeping in mind these 4 considerations can definitely help plenty. And fortunately for you, there are more than two ways of choosing the perfect wall art for a room. You can base it on size, the available space, a specific style or theme, or even the room’s color palette.

#1 Considering the wall art size

In choosing the right wall art, you need to be particular about the sizing. For the most part, a lot of people find it easier to work their way from larger pieces to smaller artwork as they go along.

Image Credit: The Art Ling

Below, you’ll find an outline of sizes and how you can put them all together in a single space for a comprehensive design.

Oversized Wall Art

Image Credit: Beblicanto Designs

Scale: 41 inches or larger.

Oversized wall art works for drawing people’s attention to themselves as soon as someone enters the room. To make it work, you need to prepare carefully, and take the measurements of both the artwork and the wall it’ll be hanging from.

Large Wall Art

Image Credit: Wall Art Prints

Scale: 33-40 inches.

Large artwork, unlike oversized wall decor, can be hung above carefully chosen furniture. But for them to pop out better, it’s advisable that they stand alone, lest you end up overwhelming the space with too much large wall art above a single furniture.

Medium-sized Wall Art

Image Credit: AliExpress

Scale: 25-32 inches

Medium-sized wall decor works well when you pair them with other pieces of art. They can be the focal point of a gallery wall. The trick is to consider where your want your eyes to drift towards when you see it. You can have it at the very far end of a couch or aligned to the middle of the headboard.

Small Wall Art

Image Credit: goindustri

Scale: 18-24 inches

Small wall art is ideally placed in multiples. They look good in twos or threes, and especially when you align them symmetrically. Horizontally for wide spaces, and vertically for narrower areas. They look great in hallways too.

Mini Wall Art

Image Credit: Custom Made

Scale: 10-17 inches

If you have a bunch of frames that are mini-sized, then it’s good to compile them into several clusters. They can be hung alone, but avoid hanging them in extremely spacious rooms. Consider putting up mini wall-art in more intimate spaces like a study or a bathroom.

#2 Matching wall art with color palettes

Whether you should match the color palette of the room with your wall art is up for debate. There’s one side claiming you shouldn’t, and the other strongly suggests that you should. But the right answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Matching wall art with the color palette in the room has several pros and they include:

  • Right color schemes that make your artwork shine.
  • Artwork relating to the rest of the decor make the art as if it “belongs” to the room.
  • Complementing colors in the room and the wall art will make sure your decor doesn’t stand out terribly.
  • Unifying the room’s atmosphere and overall feel.

But with that in mind, also remember that your artwork should be a notable focal point in the room, and by extension, enhance it too.

The best piece of advice here is to choose wall art that’s based on the colors that are already present in the room. For the most part, sticking to a constant theme is appropriate and more complementary. So how do you make this happen?

  • Use the color wheel as a reference when it comes to choosing complementary shades.
  • Choose wall art that has colors that are already present in the room.
Image Credit: Starwind
  • The most significant pieces of artwork should have background colors that match the wall color.
  • When in doubt, remember that you can’t go wrong with neutral black and white.
Image Credit: Awesome Home
  • Try not to exceed four colors, so you achieve a pulled-together look.
  • Introduce new colors in pairs or trios.
  • Neon or bright pieces stand out on neutral backgrounds.
  • Use frames to emphasize an art piece.
Image Credit: Breathe again
  • Keep colors proportionate with the rest of the color presence in the room.

#3 Choosing wall art based on a theme/style

Decorating the home based largely on the major interior style of your house is perhaps the most natural and the most popular.

For sure, selecting wall art is always a personal choice, but there are certain styles of wall art that look better with the corresponding interior design that is dominant in the space. Matching wall art this way is helpful for fostering unity and cohesiveness in the space.

Classical

Image Credit: Designer Previews

Classicism rose in popularity in Europe during the 17th-19th century. It is easily characterized by music, literature, architecture, and impressionism art. Homeowners with this style of interior design take comfort in formal settings, with plush accents; coupled with sophistication, symmetry, and simplicity.

Heavy drapes, thick gilded frames, and fancy woodwork caters to the sophisticated part of Classical interior design. The neutral, white, paired with complementary hues characterize simplicity.

Contemporary

Image Credit: Modern Art Home Decor

Contemporary design themes refer to the designs of today; the recent years and the now. And for the most part, this type of interior design is prominent in those who have an eye for following trends in fashion and keeping with the times.

At the moment, contemporary art and interior design is all about creamy cashmeres, diluted mints, off-whites, soft pinks, and lilac hues — effectively overtaking the gray and white domination in the past.

In choosing wall art for a contemporarily designed home, it’s safe to check on the latest trends and invest in some abstract wall art or artwork created by popular contemporary artists.

Hollywood Glam

Image Credit: Wall Art Prints

Hollywood-styled interior design is all about making a statement. Often, it’s associated with lavish furnishings, luxury, extravagant accents (metallics and velvet), and color palettes that embody the opulent lifestyle.

From sequinned cushions to varying shades of red carpet in any room, to lighting around a vanity mirror. The corresponding artwork is characterized by bold pieces that match the dominant color in the room, or are direct references to Hollywood itself.

Country Style

Country style interior design is all about ignoring the hardships and the toils of everyday life. Instead, the focus is shifted to the calm and beauty that a life in the countryside can bring to anyone. In a nutshell, nature is the prime muse.

Floral artwork does incredibly well for country-styled interiors, and so do actual depictions of country life.

Art Deco

Image Credit: Interior Design Ideas

Straight out of the 1920s; bold and flashy — three phrases that can describe the identity of art deco-themed homes. This style is famous for glossy furnishings, polished brass or chrome, and warm and layered lighting. It’s all about being bold and artistic (hence the name).

The interior design style materialized in Paris back in 1925, and is both a mix of elegant and historic. So, the primary artwork choice is geometric or graphically patterned wall art.

Industrial

Image Credit: dogler78

Industrial interior design is all about sensibility and primarily rustic. It’s characterized by timbers, bricks, and loads of exposed steel. The best quality design of the 20th century is preserved and encouraged to show off its raw beauty and mercurial appeal.

Going by this, artwork that primarily suits an industrial interior design are the ones that depict rustic pictures of cityscapes or notable landmarks; world maps are a good idea too.

Nautical

Image Credit: goindustri

Largely inspired by the deep blue of the ocean waters, nautical-themed interior design is all about sailing motifs, blue color palettes, and various other boat-related ornaments. Rustic furnishings are also popular.

And evidently, the artwork that compliments nautical interior design the most are the ones that showcase depictions of the sea, boats on the shore, or the expanse of the sky and the wide ocean.

Bohemian

Boho is all about being carefree. It’s characterized largely by organized chaos. It’s purposefully messy and is a combination of various materials that range from natural to metallic. The use off accents like rugs, pillows, blankets, tassels, beaded ornaments, and crochet curtains are popular.

Wall art that typically matches the whimsical aesthetic of boho are cubism wall art.

Oriental

Image Credit: Tombates

Oriental often refers to an Asian-style interior design, and is a fusion of various designs. But it’s primarily Chinese and Japanese expression.

Japanese interior design is minimalist, coupled with colors that are inspired from the natural world. So, think green and brown color palettes. By contrast, Chinese interior styles are more lavish — as evident in bold colors like gold, shades of red, jade, and exquisite purple.

Oriental art is easy to find and display in an Asian-themed design, basing it off of the dominant shade in the room.

Wall Arts for Each Room in the House

From the communal area to the hallways and even to your own bedroom, who doesn’t appreciate a touch of personalization in each room they come across inside the house? And when we think about different rooms in the house, it’s their specific uses that immediately come to mind.

Choosing the perfect wall art based on which room you’ll be hanging it is also paramount to tying together the space’s atmosphere.

#1 The Communal Room/ Living Room/ Family Room

Image Credit: Ross Robinson

The living room is the place where you typically welcome guests. It’s the room that everybody in the house shares, and for this reason, it can sometimes appear as perhaps one of the most intimidating rooms in the house to decorate.

It needs to look presentable, communicate the homeowner’s personal sense of style, while being very welcoming at the same time.

One of the most common places to mount wall art is above the sofa. Wall art size needs to be carefully considered here. Improper proportions create skewed results. As a general rule of thumb, the width of the wall art shouldn’t be longer than two-thirds the length of the sofa.

Image Credit: Art Ling

Also, to avoid your wall art virtually floating above the furniture, take note of the height difference between the ceiling and the floor. And to be safe, hang your wall art 8-10 inches above the sofa.

#2 Bedroom

Image Credit: Decoist

Bedrooms are a place of privacy, relaxation, and retreat. So the artwork you choose should reflect that.

Based on your own tastes, or if you’re looking to match artwork with interior design, find wall art that soothes you when you look at it. Consider soft colors. Also think about hanging personal photos that are framed.

Similar to the living room, the best place to hang wall art is above the bed or some other furniture in the bedroom that is just as notable. You can have them in a completely empty wall space too.

Artworks hanging above the bed shouldn’t be wider than the width of the bed itself. But unlike the wall art hanging in the living room, artwork in the bedroom doesn’t necessarily have to be at eye level. Still, you should take note of the distance between your floor and the ceiling. Maintain your wall art’s connection to the furniture rather than have it float above you.

#3 Dining Room

Image Credit: Homedit

Dining rooms are second to your communal rooms — especially if you’re the type of homeowner who likes to host dinner parties once in a while. And of course, it’s also nice to spruce up the decor in your living room.

In decorating the walls of your dining room, you can try:

Creating a Gallery Wall

Image Credit: Bria Hammel Interiors

So, if you have horizontal or vertical wall space available in the dining room, consider building a gallery wall that is comprised mainly of mini to medium-sized wall art. You can have it as salon-styled hangings.

Try mixing and matching various pieces of art or complementary ones to match the colors and the design of your dining room.

Vertical Garden

Image Credit: AddressHome

Incorporating living things (or a variation of it) into your interior design is unique, and definitely lands a different kind of atmosphere to your dining room.

You can either have actual living plants, or faux ones. If you’re going to lean towards the former, make sure your dining room allows enough natural light for the plants to thrive.

Framed Family Pictures

If you have numerous pictures of your family or your kids, you should consider enlarging one or two of them to use as artwork for the dining room. Printing them in black and white makes them look more professional, and you won’t have to worry much about mixing and matching wall art to the rest of the interior.

Collection of Ceramic Plates

If you’re an avid collector of ceramic plates and other fine pieces of china, you can actually use them to create beautiful arrangements to have hanging in the dining room walls. You can display them by patterns, colors, or a fun mix-up for a Boho feel.

A Large Mirror

Image Credit: Houzz

This is one wall decor that doesn’t need much planning, other than selecting the mirror with the frame that complements the interior design your dining room has. Mirrors are also a good solution for smaller spaces. Reflections make a small space look bigger.

#4 The Kitchen

Image Credit: The World of Wall Art

Aside from the bathroom, the kitchen is also one of the most commonly used rooms in the house. Adding artwork into the decorating mix isn’t at all bad. In fact, it’s very welcome.

The kitchen is already an area of the house that’s stocked with lots of things — from kitchen cabinets to counters and all of your appliances. There is no need for a large wall art to draw the eye.

Instead redirect your focus on hanging up mini to small-sized wall art above empty spaces. Your artwork should complement, and not clutter the space. For light-hearted atmosphere, consider investing in wall decor that’s social and has humor.

#5 The Bathroom

Image Credit: Completely Coastal

Bathrooms are tricky places to hang up wall art. Aside from choosing art that complements the interior design of the bathroom, your art should also be protected from wear and tear. For this reason, artwork in the bathroom are best hung up with frames and walls of glass.

And if you’re a little tight on space, consider displaying small-sized wall art in grid form or in vertical arrangement.

But what about open areas?

Image Credit: Pinterest

Soon enough, you’ll find that it’s far easier to decorate a room rather than an open space that melds two distinct room functions into one. For instance, a living room combined with the dining room. This begs the question: how do you decorate a room with open floor plans?

Choosing wall art for an open floor plan is more challenging than the room, but the key lies in creating a difference between the areas using your furniture. For instance, rugs under the common area can set it apart from the adjacent dining table and chairs.

Open floor plans need a united feel across all the rooms, but your wall art must be situated in one place, in an empty wall space. You can either have large wall art or small to medium ones packed together to create a mini gallery wall.

As for the artwork, choose one that unites the two rooms. For instance, let’s say your dining room and living room are together. Avoid having food-themed wall art alone. Consider more neutral art pieces that would be good for any room.

How many paintings/artwork should you have in one room?

There is no limit to how many pieces of wall art you can have in a room. The only thing you have to be mindful of is that it doesn’t overpower the space, and it unites the entirety of the room — not swallow it or overwhelm it.

Other factors you need to consider is:

  • The size of the room: If you’re short on space, it’s ideal to have collections of mini-sized or small to medium-sized wall art.
  • The amount of wall space available: If your home is minimalistic and you actually have a huge amount of wall space available, having one large or oversized canvas should be enough.
  • Hallways: These parts of the home are usually abundant in empty wall spaces. So depending on the length of that hallway, you can create a mini wall gallery or hang up large wall art. Keep it at eye-level so you and your visitors won’t have to strain to see it.

Wall Art as a Part of the Home

Wall art adds personality to your home, sets the tone of a room, makes it more inviting, and communicates a little bit of your personality to any visitor you might have.

And in the end it’s all about finding something that appeals to your senses the most, getting art that’s both practical and perfect for your home’s aesthetic needs and a room’s functionality.

Your contentment with your interior design is what matters most, and whether you choose black-and-white photographs, or make use of huge canvas wall arts, that’s on you.

But now that you know what to consider in choosing wall art that would be perfect for your space, it’s time to put that into action and start decorating your house like a true pro.

Related content: 22 Fun DIY Wall Art Projects For All Ages

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Choose Wall Art?”

  1. My partner and I are hoping to spruce up our home a bit before the holidays roll around. I think that it’s really nice that you elaborated on decorating how you want and that these are just tips to follow, not absolute rules. We’re going to draw up a plan tonight using your article so that our house can impress our family and friends this winter.

  2. I really appreciated that you said that you should get family portraits framed. I am thinking about redecorating my living room. I will have to go online to find new products.

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