How Much Room Should Wall Art Take Up?

When you move into a new home, the idea of filling hundreds of square footage of blank walls can seem daunting. You are faced with questions like what pieces to hang where, whether certain works should hang solo or be clustered together, and of course, how to determine the ratio of blank wall space to that which is filled with art.

The latter question is one that can especially tricky. If you hang one single work over the bed for example, you run the risk of it looking insubstantial. Hanging a gallery wall, on the other hand, can easily turn a serene space into a cluttered one with an overly heavy hand.

So how much room should wall art take up? The answer will depend mostly on the scale of the room and the context of the space.
wall art to wall ratio
Use furnishings as a guide.
An easy way to help benchmark the amount of room wall art should occupy is to think about it in relationship to the surrounding furnishings. Ideally, wall art hung above a sofa or bed should be right around two-thirds its length. If you have end tables or nightstands flanking a sofa or bed, you can go larger with the artwork as visually, the furniture arrangement will represent one whole. In general, the length of wall art or a gallery should not exceed that of the relating furniture. The exception is if you decide to do a wall-to-wall gallery, which then acts almost as a backdrop or wall covering instead of a singular art arrangement.

Thing about the scale of the room.
Like all things in interior design, when it comes to choosing the size of your artwork, scale is one of the most important factors to consider. In a large room, for example, a gallery wall of three to five works will seem insignificant and cheap. Even an arrangement of 20 small pieces can feel misplaced in an oversized room. High ceilings and large expanses of wall demand equally sizable wall art, so opt for fewer, larger pieces instead. Likewise, in a small room or apartment, one large piece can typically stand on its own with nothing else hung on the wall.

Remember white space.
Blank space, or white space, is just as important as the art itself. Make sure you factor in white space when hanging multiple works on the same wall. You’ll need to leave at least two-three inches between smaller pieces hung in a gallery wall style, and 6″-12″ for bigger works of art (those that are more than 18″ wide).

Need help hanging wall art in your home? Get in touch with our professional art installers here.