Interior design – Choosing the right artwork for your home or business

A few quick and easy tips for choosing the right artwork for you.

What story are you trying to tell?

My suggestion is to look at your home or business as if you are a realtor. What story does your space tell someone who has never seen it before? What story do you want it to tell? Do you want happy and bright, classy and restrained, beachy and airy, austere and haughty? Now compare what you see (reality) with what you are aiming for (ideal.) Do these two things match? What is needed to bring your ideal to life? If you are looking for hanging wall art, please, continue reading…


Where does the space need to be changed to achieve the feeling you want? Where would you like to:

  • make someone feel welcome
  • add energy
  • surprise someone
  • produce a feeling of calm
  • increase your joy
  • highlight spaciousness
  • impress someone with elegance
  • etc.

Choose where you want to make this happen. Look to the entranceway of your home, room, or business. What do people see first? Where are the major sightlines and what do you want to emphasize? Where will people sit and what will they see when they do? How do you want to draw someone’s attention, including your own? Now envision what would go in that space that would cause someone to react and feel what you want them to. Is it bright and vibrant? Does it have depth and dimension? Is it subdued and tranquil? Once you have an understanding of what you are trying to achieve, and where, now you can consider size.

Galactic Butterfly – Happy and energetic

Sizing and Placement

My basic theory in hanging wall art is the bigger the better. Most people don’t go big enough and the spaces in their room aren’t as dramatic or engaging as they could be. The general rule of thumb is to take up 60 – 75% of the available space, whether that is an entire wall, above a bed or couch, or even above a toilet. This can be in a single piece of art, or multiple pieces, depending on the feeling you are trying to achieve (and frankly, the amount you are willing to spend.) Use painters tape to outline what a piece of art would look like in the space and get a feel for what size would be best. Is it better to hang the piece portrait or landscape? How about different shapes like square or round? After you have determined the ideal size, generally you can go a little wider/thinner or longer/shorter and still be OK.

Pay attention to the height at which you plan to hang your art. Many people start with a focal point 56 – 60 inches off of the floor, but this is subjective so do what you think is best. Again, use your painters tape and see what you like. If you are hanging above a bed, couch, or table, be sure to give it a margin above the furniture to allow the artwork to breath.

Look for Inspiration

Half Pollock

Half-Pollock above a living room couch

Look through sites like Houzz to get inspiration. If you coordinate well enough, you can generally get a great feel for your space without breaking the budget. The key is understanding what you want, taking a realistic evaluation of what you have, and then working diligently to bring the two together.

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