Five things to know before buying artwork - Shane Herring Photography
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Five things to know before buying artwork

Five things to know before buying artwork

A photo of a bedroom interior

When you’re thinking about buying artwork to hang on your walls, the right sized piece will create balance in the room. The wrong sized piece will dominate or be dominated by the room and furniture.

Here are 5 things to consider before purchasing artwork for display on your walls.

Thing #1 – BIGGER IS BETTER!

One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing wall art is to buy something that is way too small for the room!

The amount of furniture you have in the room can influence the size of the wall art. If there’s not much furniture, then a large piece will work by filling up the visual field the same way that furniture might.  If you have high ceilings in a large space, a grander piece will work but if you ceilings are low and a smaller space, a piece that is shorter and with a landscape orientation might be better.

Thing # 2 – What’s it going hang on?

One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing wall art is to buy something that is way too small for the room!

The amount of furniture you have in the room can influence the size of the wall art. If there’s not much furniture, then a large piece will work by filling up the visual space the same way that furniture might. If you have high ceilings in a large space, a larger piece will work but if you ceilings are low and a smaller space, a piece that is shorter and wider might be better.

Whichever way you go, buy the largest piece you can based on the following things to consider.

If you can’t find a large piece, think about buying several smaller pieces that follow a similar theme. Themes such as similar colour palette, artist, or subject and then group them as one.

Thing #3 – Over or Under? Either way, think about it

It’s not just the available space we’re thinking about. We also need to consider the furniture that might be under the art work.

When hanging pieces over a couch, table, fireplace, the artwork should be about 3/4 the width of the furniture. If you’re hanging a piece above a mantel, the artwork should same width as the fireplace, not the surround.

The bottom edge should be about 15 – 30cms above the top of the piece of furniture.

Modern living room interior with a photo on the wall.

Thing #4 – Create your own gallery

A great way to create visual interest on a large wall is to hang more than one piece. If you want to do this, choose work that is by the same artist or the same colour palette or the same subject. Group pieces that are the same size or for a really stunning display, look online for gallery layout examples to group pieces of different sizes.

If you do want to try this, lay the artwork out on the floor first, measure the height and width of the group and follow the same guidelines above.

Here are some ideas on layouts.

Thing #5 – Just how tall do you think you are?

Another common mistake when buying, but especially hanging wall art, is to hang it too high. Any piece of art should be hung with the centre point at eye-level but whose eye level?

In 2011-12, the average Australian adult male was 175.6 cm tall. The average Australian adult woman was 161.8 cm tall. Start with the average height of 168.7cm and go from there. As long as you get it centred at roughly eye level and it looks good, go for it.

If you’re hanging art over furniture, go back and read thing #3. That’s more important.

THAT’S IT

Now that you know what size you’re looking for, have fun with it. And honestly, if you’re a little over or under, no one will notice, as long as the piece is centred.

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