How to Size a Painting for a Wall

Art adds the finishing touch to any decor scheme.
When you are faced with a blank space, you must understand how to size a painting for a wall. Whether you are hanging one stunning piece of art or grouping several smaller paintings, follow these simple guidelines to maintain proportion.

Step 1

Measure the approximate height and width of the wall, and take into account any furniture that is placed against the wall. For example, a painting to be placed behind a sofa should be proportional to its length and scale. Also consider the scale of the room; a long, panoramic painting is appropriate for a long wall, while it would overwhelm a narrow one.

Step 2

Find a sheet of newsprint or brown paper and cut it to match the size of the painting. Tack the paper to the wall and stand back to see if the painting will fit. If you haven't yet purchased a painting, cut out standard frame sizes such as 18 x 24 or 24 x 30.

Step 3

Take into account the width of the frame. Ornate frames may add as much as 10 inches to each dimension. While a painting itself may appear to be the right size for a wall, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when it returns from the framers.

Step 4

Have a friend hold the painting in place so you can see exactly how it will look from across the room before you mark and drill holes in your wall. Check the perspective from the entryway, and sit on each piece of furniture in the room before making your final decision.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

Tips

  • As a general rule of thumb, paintings should be centered at eye level for a person of average height.
  • Interior designers advise leaving 3/8 the width of your painting on each side of the wall for the ideal proportion.
  • Don't be afraid to go big: large, bold paintings make quite the statement.
  • When grouping small paintings, lay them out on the floor to determine an attractive arrangement.

About the Author

Dorian Gray has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009. She has written extensively on the topics of architecture and design for national magazines such as "Architectural Record" and regional publications such as "At Home in Arkansas." Gray also writes about the topics of beauty, health, nutrition and travel. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arkansas.