Designing your space can be an exciting process – there are so many colors, styles, accents, and themes to choose from! But we also know it can be a little intimidating, what with all the options available.
Below we provide a list of 10 rock-solid tips for choosing wall art that will have you feeling empowered about your next step in designing the perfect atmosphere!
How to start decorating with wall art?
You probably already have a favorite piece of art – maybe it’s a photograph or a print you have tucked away at your desk. Maybe you’ve saved it to your phone and it’s currently serving as your wallpaper. If so, you’re already ahead of the game. You can use this favorite art piece as an anchor for the rest of your wall art. It serves as a starting point that makes bringing a room together that much easier. Ideally, this favorite piece contains several of the same colors in the rest of your décor so you can easily pull a color scheme together.
Now, if you don’t already have a favorite piece of art and you’re literally drawing a blank when you try to think of one, don’t worry. Start with the kind of emotion you want to feel in the room you’re decorating.
- Do you want it to be exciting because that’s where you’ll be entertaining?
- Do you want to create a soothing, calm environment where you can curl up with a favorite book, a soft blanket, and a cup of tea?
- Or, are you looking to find inspiration inside your office space while you type away?
Identifying how you want to feel in a room helps you find the color palette you should be working with.
How many wall art pieces do I need?
You can have as little as one or as many as your heart desires! If you want to make a big statement in the room you’re decorating, you can choose one piece of wall art that does all the talking. Think of this piece as the life of the party – you know that one guest who always arrives with energy, moves effortlessly through the crowd, announcing his presence and leaves a host of smiles in his tracks?
When you’re working with just one big statement piece, try leaving your other walls bare. To keep from an empty-feeling room, however, work toward incorporating different textures throughout. A tufted armchair, for instance, or a handmade throw pillow. You can even add texture with a woven blanket and some plants or flowers. Your wall art can be a painting, an awe-inspiring photograph, or a shimmering metal sculpture.
On the other hand, if you love the look of a collage and you’d like to display a set of prints or use multiple complementary pieces, go right ahead! Wall art serves a purpose and that purpose is your enjoyment – if you love it, hang it up!
What size should wall art be?
The beauty of wall art is it can bring a vision for your unique space to life. Wall art sizes range from mini pieces to oversized pieces – how you use them creates a specific look for your environment. A general rule for wall art is to cover anywhere between 2/3 to 3/4 of the wall. This can be done with one or two statement pieces or by combining several smaller pieces to create a gallery wall.
Mini pieces are usually no bigger than 17” in either height or width – these, even though tiny, can stand alone in small spaces but most often are used in conjunction with other pieces to create a collage look. Small art pieces are a little big bigger, up to 24” and can fit perfectly into small spaces, like hallways and bathroom.
Medium sized wall art gets up to 32” and can bring a personalized feel to your office or foyer.
Large wall art has more of an impact, as it gets to be up to 40” – these pieces can easily stand alone on your wall, serving as a focal point. When used in this way, a large wall art piece creates a clean and classic feel.
Any wall art that is larger than 41” in height or width is classified as oversized. Like large pieces, oversized art looks great when it’s left to stand alone to impress a room with its grandeur. However, since these pieces can easily overwhelm a tight space, it is recommended you first measure the space and put up some markers, like sticky-notes, to get a good visual of how the art will look once hung.
How to create a specific ambiance with wall art?
Ambiance is important – it sets the mood and if you’re looking to create a peaceful and tranquil space, you’ll need to know how different colors can affect your mood.
- Colors can be active, evoking strong emotions like red and yellow
- They can be passive, creating a serene mood like blue and green
- They can be neutral like nude and gray, serving as a backdrop that allows other pieces within the room to shine.
Use unexpected pops of color along with neutral shades to spice up the room and prevent it from looking drab.
- Light colors like pink and white open a room up, creating a sense of open space.
- Darker colors like deep purple and burgundy create a warm, more intimate environment.
While you can work with a dark or light color palette, you will also benefit from understanding how specific colors affect how you feel.
- Red is an energizing color – it is lively and meant to lift you up from whatever state you’re in. Think of it as a strong cup of coffee. This is great when you’re looking to entertain, particularly during the evening. It invites a social, buzzing atmosphere.
- Yellow, like the sun, brings life into a room. It’s joyous and evokes a sense of happiness. While it does create some positive feelings, too much yellow can evoke frustration. Use this color purposefully and sparingly.
- Blue is ideal for inducing a calm and relaxed state. However, this is a cold color, so be sure to balance it with some warmer hues.
What are the different types of wall art?
The most obvious kind of art that comes to mind is a painting. Paintings have long been used as accent pieces to decorate a room. Oil paintings in ornate wooden frames lean toward traditional environments. Vibrant abstract art is the best choice for modern settings. However, you have many more choices than paintings.
Wall decals are a popular choice for apartment living – they save the wall from holes and can bring a unique aesthetic to an otherwise plain apartment. Best part is they can easily be peeled off when it’s time to move.
Photography is another fantastic type of wall art – it can be one large print, or a set of several smaller prints placed neatly together to create one cohesive look. For example, black and white photos housed within sleek metal frames look fantastic in minimalist environments.
We’re almost certain you’ve displayed posters on your walls – these are also considered wall art; in fact, some vintage pieces are proudly displayed in many homes and offices where nostalgia is welcome.
Tapestries are great for decorating a wall in bohemian homes, as they easily bring varied colors and/or textures into a room.
You may even enjoy some personalized or hand-painted wall art pieces. For example, you can hang a wooden, personalized sign that uses your family name – “Welcome to the Smith Home” or something more playful, like “The Bar is This Way.”
How to choose wall art for the kitchen?
Since the kitchen is a very task-oriented space, it can be forgotten on the list of places to hang wall art. However, art should be welcome here. In tight apartments, you may not have the large window that overlooks a garden, so you may want to consider wall art that offers a splash of nature to open the room up. Beach scenery, fields with flowers, and mountain ranges can make an apartment kitchen feel like a beachfront home or like you’re atop a mountain.
Since the kitchen is a busy space, you may prefer a wall sign with humor. Something that says, “it’s not drinking alone if the dog is home,” or “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.” The pieces you choose for the kitchen can be light-hearted and fun, allowing for a good mood while cooking for yourself, family, and friends.
How to choose wall art for the bedroom?
The bedroom is your resting place – the location where you arrive every evening to unwind from the worries the day brought you. This environment should induce a state of relaxation and serenity, so you can cuddle up with your partner and/or drift swiftly into restful sleep. Choose wall art that fits right over your bed or on the other side of your bedroom, placed at eye level.
Select soothing tones and colors – light colors like blues and pastels are fantastic for the bedroom. If you prefer photography, choose landscapes and desaturated photographs to create a softer feel.
Although frames can often enhance a piece of art, for the bedroom choose something with less of an impact – canvas and understated, minimal frames are ideal here. Keep the number of pieces minimal as well, as you don’t want too much stimulation for tired eyes and overworked minds. Think soft, simple, and light to create the optimal peaceful atmosphere.
How to choose wall art for the living room?
Your living room might just be the most enjoyable space to decorate – there is more room to work with and you can go for a livelier feel than the soothing theme in your bedroom. Here, you can play with active colors like orange, yellow, and red – think bright tones that invite wakefulness.
When guests enter a living room, they often bask in the visual appeal you provide and the kind of wall art you choose can set the tone for a delightful and conversational vibe. As outlined above, large and oversized wall art are fantastic statement pieces that can stand alone and provoke lively conversation. Framed canvas is a popular choice, so long as it pulls colors from the rest of your décor to create a structured look.
Remember, you don’t have to choose a painting or even photography for this piece. Abstract metal sculptures protrude from the wall in a unique way, serving as great conversation starters; and if you’ve ever been inside a cabin, you know art takes a much different form on those walls!
Even wall lights can be used to decorate your living room. To keep your wall art functional, choose an antique clock or a striking set of shelves.
How to choose wall art for the office?
Your working space, whether at home or at your place of business, can always be personalized to keep you feeling inspired. Your office is a space for focus and motivation and so, your wall art should reflect your goals and values. You may find that photos of your family bring you the most joy while working – these can be displayed inside frames or can be printed on a thick canvas that protrudes slightly from the wall.
Or, if you’re an artist, you may prefer to have your favorite art pieces displayed to set the mood for your continued pursuits. Sometimes, words offer the best inspiration and a quote serves you well when placed strategically within sight. Floating ledge shelves are great for office spaces because they’re compact and can hold pieces you value. Photos, succulents, even cards from loved ones can all be displayed together on one or a set of small shelves.
How to choose wall art for the bathroom?
Ah, the bathroom. This space is often the most neglected – but it deserves some wall art too! The pieces you choose here can be decorative or functional. Flower and landscape paintings bring a touch of color and a sense of serenity into a bathroom, whereas decorative wall shelves double as storing units for toiletries. The size of the art does depend on the size of the bathroom, of course, but generally, mini to medium sized pieces work well within this room.
Where the bathroom is located also affects how you go about picking décor. The master bathroom, for example, should keep with a relaxing theme. Botanical prints and marine themes are quite popular. A guest bathroom can be brighter and more fun, a way to greet guests in a lively fashion – similar to the living room vibe. Here you can incorporate active colors – sunset paintings achieve this look beautifully. Abstract paintings that include yellow and red hues along with bright notes of pinks and oranges also work well to evoke a spirited feeling.
Each room can have its own personality and you get to dictate how that personality is created. With a foundational understanding of color, wall art types and sizes, you can start looking for inspiration in photos online – or, head to a home décor store and check out how wall art looks in person!