Size Matters

Sometimes it helps to have a guideline on size when purchasing artwork. It's painful to be a nervous Goldilocks with three bears. The artwork arrives at your house and...yep, you know it when you see it: It's TOO SMALL/LARGE. Ugh.

 I bought this piece and it was TOO SMALL, so I bought this one to replace it and it's TOO LARGE. 

Now you blew your budget on too little, too big. With online ordering, you can't see the work in person when you purchase, and it's no fun to return items when they don't fit. 

Maybe I can help. 

For artwork, the valuable fraction of thirds is magic. For example, in choosing a size for above a sofa (or other furniture, like a bed), the painting should take up roughly 2/3 of the furniture length.



If you choose something less than two thirds, it will make your furniture seem too large and the artwork seem insignificant (I hate it when I do this...).


If you choose something larger than two-thirds the length of your sofa, it will overpower your sofa. Then you will need to buy a new sofa. Sometimes not a bad thing and might be a good excuse when you hate your old (what used to be red but is now an alarming shade of muddy pink) one.

Honey, the sofa is too small...we need a new one.... 


Then, of course, the Goldilocks. For a 7 foot sofa, artwork width of two-thirds its length is around 55"-60" and looks balanced, giving us the "just right" feel.


If you end up with too-small artwork or you love vertically-oriented pieces, you can hang two or more similar pieces side by side, keeping to the 2/3 overall length rule. 

Square artwork works well in this way, too. In fact, you could stack them in grid form to take up more visual space.

By the way, hang the painting with the bottom around 9" above the top of the sofa in a 8-9' ceiling home. That gives plenty of head room and won't be too high.


Speaking of height, for a wall without furniture, the rule of thumb is 58" at center. if your ceilings are high, try 60-63" on center. 

Fill a tall wall with a large, dramatic painting in the middle one-third of the wall, measuring from floor to ceiling, or group several around one larger painting.

Select or group artwork that is the same shape as the wall; if your wall is long, choose a long painting. If your wall is tall and narrow, choose a tall, narrow painting. Accomplish a specific shape by stacking two square paintings side by side or one on top of the other.

BUT!! And there is always a but, isn't there? I have seen many instances where these guidelines are broken. Artwork might be as wide as the sofa and take up a huge space on a wall, or a small, significant piece might occupy a large area. And they OWN it. Do a Pinterest search and you'll see what I mean. 

Ultimately, do what makes you happy. If it feels off, or you don't know what size to consider, maybe these guidelines will help. Empower your inner Goldilocks for the "just right" art purchase.

Thanks for reading my friends. Find joy and peace.

Paintings featured: BalanceDesert Silence,  Thousand Meanings and Mountain Dance, available as reproductions. Earth Nest (last painting) available as original.