How to Choose the Best Artwork for Your Home

You've had your photo session and now it's time to choose your favourite portraits and create the final masterpieces.

If I'm your photographer, we'll sit down together to create your custom art. I'll prepare mockups using photos of your home, make recommendations based on my expertise, and be your guide the whole way.

But if you're on your own, there are so many factors to consider. What size fits best in your space? What colours will complement the room? What style? Would three smaller pieces look just as good as one big piece? How about seven little pieces? Is that too many? Is there such a thing as too many?

Don't worry, here are some tips to choose the right artwork that makes an impact:

1. Some Thoughts Before You Get Started

Think about your home as a blank canvas. When you’re choosing artwork to decorate in your home, you’re choosing what goes onto that canvas. Your home is supposed to be a comfortable place that reminds you of the things you love. It’s meant to tell your story in a space that’s entirely your own. That's why portraits of your furry family members are ideal

You want the art you see every day to be a reflection of your story and the things you love. Art is meant to stir up a reaction and add feeling to a space. You'll see your artwork every day, so what better reaction to stir up when you look at it than the reaction you have when you see your dog after a long day at work.

When it comes to choosing what kind of artwork to pick, no one is better suited to make that choice than you because you know your story the best.

For my clients, we work together before the photo shoot to design a custom experience that is meaningful to them. We talk about their pet's personality, their family, and locations they love to explore together or that are significant to them.

All of this planning means you're guaranteed to have artwork that represents the best parts about your pet and your family. Your artwork will bring a smile to your face for decades.

This oversized statement wall features 3 large portraits with rustic wood frames. The artwork helps to create a warm, welcoming, and personal space where family is celebrated.

2. Plan Your Art Around Your Style

Before you choose your wall art, think about where it’s going to go in your home. Take note of the furniture you have in place and the type of décor you have set up already (or your dream décor you haven't gotten around to creating yet). Think about the kind of feeling you want the space to evoke or the feelings you have when you’re hanging out in that particular room.

What kind of wall art would look best in that space?

If you’ve decorated the room in a beachy, coastal style, chances are you want to create a feeling of calm and relaxation. Vibrant, colourful artwork would have too much energy for a room like that. Instead, a serene image in comforting colours would complement the style that’s already in place.

Something else to think about is the style of your home itself. Is your home rustic-chic? Modern-industrial? Contemporary? You want to select wall art that matches, so it feels cohesive and refined. I help my clients choose the right finishings for each portrait (some portraits look better printed on certain materials), and I help them make sure their art is right for their style. For example: classic black frame, rustic frame, metal, acrylic, fine art, aluminium panel, etc.

Open concept homes are becoming more and more popular these days. In a more traditional style home, every room could have its own theme. For an open concept home, the whole floor layout is visible from every angle. Therefore, any art you add should look great from every angle as well.

Finally, do you prefer one large striking piece or a gallery wall? The location for the artwork usually determines which option would be best. One large piece is striking and impressive, and it creates a focal point. It can make the space feel larger, too. A gallery wall tells more of a story but can look cluttered in the wrong space. Since the viewer's attention is divided among many photos, some of the impact can be lost.

3. How to Choose Art by Size

Before you choose artwork, you’re definitely going to want to have made a decision on where it’s going to go.

The amount of space you have available will make a pretty big difference in the type of wall art you end up with. If the size of the piece or pieces you choose aren’t quite right, it could throw off the balance of the room and even cause some uncomfortability.

Art should be approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the furniture it’s hanging over. You don’t want to hang tiny pieces over large furniture or in a large space otherwise it will get lost. The opposite can happen for artwork that's too large. It can make the furniture it hangs over look itty bitty! However, if you're going for the oversized look, the goal is to make the art very large and you can't really go too big.

Some things to consider when thinking about art sizes:

  • Oversized pieces make fantastic main focal points. They’ll immediately draw in the eye of whoever walks into the room. They’re a great piece to hang over an oversized piece of furniture such as a large couch or a bed or as a backdrop just beyond a dining table. Plus, since they're printed large, every detail of your furry family will be captured.
  • Large artwork can also make a great focal point. However, as they’re smaller than an oversized piece, you can opt to rest it on a surface instead of actually hanging it or they can become the starting point in creating a gallery wall.
  • Medium-sized pieces can be used practically anywhere. Hang three in a row over large furniture to create a triptych. One or two would make great additions in a gallery. A single standalone piece could make a small room like a bathroom more dynamic.
  • Small pieces fill out gallery walls perfectly or can be used grouped together to create exciting arrangements in various shapes or diagonals.

My clients send me photos of the rooms in their homes so I can create to-scale mockups to present them. That way they can see the portrait options and sizes in their home and know exactly what to expect.

This canvas portrait of Casey's chihuahuas was printed in a custom size to fit perfectly above the TV and between her existing prints of horses.

4. Selecting Art by Colour

Just like your home’s style is a good starting point to choosing artwork, so is your home or room’s colour scheme.

Now, this isn’t to say that if your room is earth-toned, your art has to be earth-toned. The idea is there but there’s just a bit more to it.

If you want to choose your art by colour, one way to go about it would be to choose art based on accent colours. Accent colours are one or two colours that create contrast in a room to add a bit of personality or feeling. They complement the main colour scheme and add depth. Like wearing an elegant green dress and adding a glistening silver necklace and earrings. Emerald jewelry might have gotten lost, but the silver makes a striking difference.

Another way to go about it would be to just go bold. Pick the most dominant colour in the room and incorporate that colour in your artwork. It can be varying tones and hues of your colour choice but all still within the same colour family.

For example, if you absolutely love your fiery orange armchair that all your friends keep telling you is a little wild, make it fit into your room by choosing artwork that has orange in it. A great autumn scene with bright orange and red leaves would do just the trick!

Since we plan ahead for your session, we'll be able to choose a location and time of year that offers a backdrop with the perfect colours for you. Studio sessions are also great if you have a specific colour in mind. With a variety of backdrops to choose from, there's sure to be one that will fit your colour scheme!

5. How to Hang Wall Art

Now that you’ve picked your art in the perfect style, just the right size and complementary colours, how in the heck are you supposed to hang it??

Don’t worry. Here’s a quick guide to hanging your art like a pro:

The basic rule of thumb is art should be hung at eye level. This means that the middle of your art (NOT where the hook is!!) should be within your eye line. This creates a sense of balance in the room (normally this is between 58-60” off the floor).

If you’re hanging art over furniture like a sofa or a table, it should be about 6-10” over the top of the furniture, give or take 2 inches. This process goes for gallery walls as well.

And as a reminder, art should be approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the width any furniture it’s hanging over. Make sure to center the art over/between the furniture.

If you’re ever unsure of whether your art will look as good on the wall as it does in your head, don’t be afraid to cut up some craft paper in the correct sizes and tape them to your walls just to see how it would look. (That’s a much better option than creating a bunch of holes in your walls.)

This fine art print of Tucker is the perfect size for above the entryway bench. This portrait features a lot of the landscape and looks best as a large piece. The portrait could be centered better, however. Make sure to measure!

6. How to Create a Gallery Wall

I’ve mentioned gallery walls quite a bit so far and if you’re not sure how to create one or not sure where to start, you’re in luck. There's no exact science to creating a gallery wall.

It can be in practically any style that suits your personality. From perfectly symmetrical to minimal to the cram-all-the-art-into-all-the-little-spaces approach – there’s no wrong way to go about it. Gallery walls are meant to have personality.

Some things to consider:

  • Start by hanging the largest piece of artwork. Unless you’re going for the symmetrical look, it doesn’t necessarily have to be centred in your space.
  • Keep your second largest artwork separate from the first piece. This creates balance. Putting all the large pieces to one side will make that side seem too heavy.
  • Mix up horizontals and verticals to create some variety. You can even mix up frame colours and styles!
  • You can also add small shelves with items like jars or flower vases for some depth. It doesn’t all have to be art.

If you don’t trust yourself to make this work the first time around, try arranging all your art in a large empty floor space first. Or you can use the craft paper hack again and tape various pieces all over the wall before you make holes.

This asymmetric gallery wall works perfectly with the minimal/industrial/Scandinavian decor. A few vases to the left hand side adds perfect balance.

I hope you found these tips helpful! These are standard rules of thumb, but don't be afraid to bend the rules to create a space that feels perfect for you.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect piece of artwork. However, once you have it and once it’s up on your wall, I promise you’ll be glad you put in the effort to plan it out properly.

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, book a free 15-minute consultation with me and we’ll turn those artistic ideas into a beautiful reality!

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