Choose the right image size for your wall
WHAT SIZE PRINT DO YOU NEED?
If there's one thing I've learned in my 18 years of helping people put art in their homes, it is this:
YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SIZE ART YOU NEED.
I'm not judging! I'm just saying. It's a thing :D
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Choosing art sizes is not intuitive for many people.
Even though folks know what inches are, and know how to use a ruler, artists and photographers will often hear things like this actual message from one of my customers last month:
"The print is so beautiful! I love it! And even though I knew I was ordering an 8x10, I thought the image would be much larger and make more of a statement on my wall."
I really hate to hear that. I hate for people to love the image but be disappointed because they bought it too small.
And let me tell you - while I have heard this SAME thing dozens of time, I have NEVER, not once in 18 years, had someone tell me they wish they had bought their print in a SMALLER size.
Nope. Not once. Thousands and thousands of prints sold.
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So how can I help?
Here is a graphic showing common print sizes in one space - PLUS a few tricks you can use to determine the best size print(s) for your space.
(Shown in this example: my best-selling succulent image.)
Want a print for a desk or table? A 5x7 or 8x10 might be perfect.
Groups of smaller prints can also work together to fill a larger space on the wall - but as you can see from the above picture, an 8x10 by itself would look awfully lonely above the couch.
The picture below shows an 8x10, matted to 11x14 and framed, above a small shelf. IIn this sample, the print is big enough to make an impact but fits in nicely with the other items on display.
Small 'reading nook' type spaces (think chair and small table in a cozy corner) often do well with an 11x14 or 16x20 accenting the wall above.
Depending on the space, the furniture, and whether or not you're framing and matting the art (which can add several inches to the dimensions), these types of spaces generally call for mid-size art between 11x14 and 16x20.
The desk space below is a good example - measure it out, but you're likely going to be happy with an 11x14 or 16x20.
Larger spaces above loveseats, couches, and beds need bigger pieces to balance them out.
Look again at that image on the top of this post. A 30x40 might sound like a huge print to you, but the average couch is 72-80 inches wide. So 30x40 is not only NOT HUGE for that space, it's probably not big enough.
To balance a sofa, I'd generally use either one large panoramic / wide piece, or several smaller pieces grouped together to balance out the space. See my article about Gallery Walls for more help with designing larger spaces.
SO WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP?
If you think you know what size print you need, cut a piece of kraft paper or newspaper in the size of the print or prints, and tape it up on the wall.
Step back. How does it look? Too big? Too small? Just right? Walk all around the room and look at it from different angles. Leave it up for a day.
MORE THAN ONE PIECE?
Not every display is just one piece of art. If you're planning a wall gallery, cut out a piece of paper sized for EACH print, and tape them up. Keep in mind that one of our 8 Mistakes To Avoid When Hanging Art is spacing them too far apart - a general rule is to leave 2 to 5 inches of space between pieces.
Check out my post on gallery walls to help you visualize and plan installing multiple pieces of art in one display space.
WHAT ABOUT FRAMING?
And also keep in mind that if you're framing and/or matting the piece, that adds size to it. Typically, a 16x20 print would have a 22x26 mat (3 inches on each side of the print) and then your frame could add another 3 inches per side too - resulting in a final piece that is sized at 28x32 - that's quite a bit different from 16x20!
IF YOU'RE NOT SURE - ASK!
I'm always happy to help people choose the right print and the right size to beautify their home. :)