Doing Too Much (or Too Little): Choosing the Right Art Size
written by Moeima Makeba
Like with any purchase, it's easy to fall in love on sight without thinking things through in terms of usability. Art is no different and size always matters.
Before You Buy, Consider Your Situation.
Living in a studio? House? Or have just a room to fill? Consider your spatial situation and limitations (or lack thereof). Take note of the size and dimensions of the artwork you like, if it's possible to take a picture as well do so. If there's time to think things over before buying - head to the space you think will work for best for artwork and check it out. Do you have space for the work? Will it fit the room without overcrowding it visually? Is it too small and will you need other items to supplement it? All essential questions to run through before committing to a piece. Account for any other art that you have (as well as their frame size) and really consider if this new purchase is the right move.
Go Big and Go Home
Some people automatically shy away from buying large artwork, and they shouldn't. Even in a studio space, a large artwork can issue a bold statement, especially in a minimalist space. Check out your wall space and if you're going big - aim for a size that is ⅔ or ¾ the space of the wall. If you have the space - go for it.
Don't Let Your Furniture Play You
Now, in terms of going big, please be reasonable. Buying a large piece means having the room to actually appreciate it. A large couch or sofa, lack of high ceilings or certain forms of lighting can kill a vibe quick and cause your piece to be swallowed up by everything else in the room. It can also make the room look and feel tiny.
TIP: Determine the width of your artwork above furniture like a sofa, bed, fireplace or dining table:
Step 1 - Measure your furniture width
Step 2 - Multiply by .67 and .75 to determine the range for your artwork width
Let Small Be Great
Speaking of tiny, remember that small works can be the wave. Placing them in unexpected places like above a door frame, or near a light switch or above a side table can offer the perfect burst of personality and potency. Should you decide to collect many small works either all at once or over time, you can group them according size or theme or in specific numbers (3s, 4s or in pairs).
One Wall to Rule Them All
If you're buying small artworks and want to create clusters on one wall - or you simply only have one wall to utilize, you can absolutely make it work with work of various sizes and of various mediums. Mix up paintings, with photography and other wall art, at your discretion. Before committing to a layout, grab your works and assemble them however you'd like them to be placed. Another option is to use a gallery layout for a particular pattern to apply to the wall. Be sure to think of your color palette and furniture of the space so that the art pulls the aesthetic together. There's even apps to generate layouts to your liking. Remember to space each artwork 2" to 4" apart.
No matter what size you inevitably go with - remember your artwork is an investment in taste and your expansion of it. Choose wisely.