Tips for Choosing fine art photography that is right for your room

Bigger is Better!

Determining what style of fine art photography and the proper size and placement of that piece can seem daunting. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a straight-forward answer either, but when buying a print, you’ll want to think about and consider these tips.

Determine Your Available Wall Space


“What size do you recommend?” is one of the more frequent questions I receive. Generally, bigger is almost always better, but you don’t want to go too big either or it may be too prevalent. So the first step you’ll want to take to figure out what size print to purchase is to acually determine your available wall space.

Typically, you want to cover two-thirds to three-quarters of the wall with the art so make sure to break out your measuring tape and do a little math on this one. You don’t want to buy an expensive piece only to find the wall still feels barren after your new print has been hung.

Quick Steps:

  1. Measure the length and width of your wall space.
  2. Multiply the width by .57 (4/7) and .75 (3/4).
  3. Multiply the length by .57 and .75.
  4. The piece you should buy should measure somewhere within that range of both the width and length you just calculated. Personally, I would err on the side of being closer to the .75 dimensions. 
  5. (Optional Bonus Step) Hang some painters tape right on the wall in the size and place of the print so you can more easily visualize how it will fit the space.

Other Rules-of-Thumb

  • When hanging a piece above furniture, you want it to be 3/4 the width of that furniture and hung 6-12″ above the top.
  • When hanging above a fireplace, 3-6″ above the mantel will suffice. Select a size with a width that is larger than the fireplace opening, but smaller than the mantle.

Remember to Factor In Frame Size Too!

If you’ll be hanging a framed print, make sure to take the frame size into considerations for your calculations. For instance, if you’re going to be framing a print with a 2.5″-wide frame, you’ll be adding 5″ to both the length and width of the overall size. 

Consider the Space Itself

Furniture – You will want to take into account the amount of furniture you have in a room.  If you have a space that is more sparse, a large piece of artwork will fill up the visual field very nicely. However, if you have a larger piece of furniture or a more cluttered area, a smaller picture might work just as well.

Ceilings – With high, vaulted ceilings, a grand piece would work well, but if your ceilings are lower, a shorter, landscape-oriented picture would might be better.

Orientation – Make sure to take into account the orientation of the space. Tall, narrow walls will work best with art that is a similar shape and vertical (portrait) orientation, while horizontal spaces work best with landscape oriented pieces or even long panoramas.

Again, be safe and go bigger!

Remember Your Own Height

As another rule of thumb, artwork should be hung with the center point at eye level so if you’re above or below average in height, be careful. When you are measuring (and eventually hanging the piece), use an average 5’6″ person as a guideline. This would put the artwork center at 57-60″ off the ground. However, in a dining or living room, art can be lower since those are generally sitting areas. You may also not hit that sweet spot if you’re hanging the picture above a piece of furniture.

Consider a Gallery Wall

Hanging one large piece draws attention to a focal point in the room, like fireplace or bed, and sets a more formal tone.

However, if one piece is going to be too small, consider a gallery of 3 or 5 images. (Groupings of 3 or 5 create a natural center)

Plan for the Future

Buying a piece of art based on a wall in your home now is all well and good, but what about when you move? Or what if you just want to move the picture to another room? Generally, standard sizes between 12 inches and 48 inches can be accommodated somewhere in any home.

And of course, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your specific space!