Style & Design
Wall Art Tips: Bring Rooms Together With the Perfect Styles and Placement
Framed paintings. Photographs. Three-dimensional panels. Wall art is a powerful element of interior design. It adds balance, color, texture, and personality to rooms. But before you hammer the first nail, follow these tips for choosing and placing wall art that delights.
Choose Wall Art You Love
Art is subjective. Invest in pieces that speak to you. Be sure to check in with family about your choices, especially for shared spaces such as the living room and kitchen—these are pieces everyone should enjoy. Does the art put a smile on your face? Does it bring a touch of nature indoors? Is it uplifting or calming? You want to find framed art, photographs, prints, and accents that reflect your creative side, personality, and passions.
Choose the Right Art for Each Room
Though art is highly personal, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing pieces for different rooms. Here's what you need to keep in mind:
Bedroom wall art tips
This is your sanctuary. Choose pieces featuring soothing colors and relaxing subject matter, and minimalist frames that keep attention on the art itself. Landscapes are always a good choice for bedrooms, as are photographs that capture nature or a favorite landmark softened by clouds or fog. Some subdued colors to consider for your bedroom art:
- Sage green
- Pastels (pink, blue, yellow)
Living room wall art tips
With plentiful wall space, you can go big in the living room with large-scale art or with a gallery wall. Consider building your artwork collection around a central theme, such as coastal living. Then support that theme with photographs of seabirds, oceanscape paintings, or abstract art in water-inspired hues. Or, take this as an opportunity to share your varied tastes with an eclectic collection of framed art, mirrors, accent pieces, and wall panels.
Kitchen wall art tips
With the focus on cabinets, countertops, and appliances, it's easy to forget art in the kitchen. But this is a high-traffic room that benefits from art that adds beauty, liveliness, and even a sense of fun. Food and restaurant inspired art, prints, and plaques are a natural fit. Think paintings or prints that call to mind farm fresh offerings, coffee breaks, or gatherings. Farmhouse-style wall art suits any kitchen, but add bold modern or pop art pieces if that's more your style.
Bathroom wall art tips
Keep the artwork welcoming and soothing in the master bath, where you spend time getting ready for your day or unwinding after work. Consider art in a spa-inspired palette with blue, white, and grey. If your wall paint and bathroom accessories feature subdued colors, you can add pieces in sunny colors or shiny metallics as a lively contrast. For guest bathrooms, embrace your bold and playful side. Go for that vibrant pink painting or the whimsical painting of a dog wearing sunglasses.
Dining room wall art tips
Much like living rooms, you have large wall spaces to work with in your dining room. Create a cohesive gallery wall with a mix of paintings, prints, and even mirrors featuring an overlapping color palette. Large pieces are at home here too, but don't go so big that you overwhelm the table and diners.
How to Arrange Art on a Wall
Maximize the impact of your wall art with arrangements that prioritize balance and visibility. Follow these simple guidelines:
Choose the right size pieces. When hanging art over a mantle, accent table, or sofa, avoid going too big or too small. Plan for one large piece—or several small ones—to fill about two-thirds of the width of the element below.
Hang art with its center at eye level. This placement ensures people don't have to crane their necks to admire the artwork around your home. When hanging multiple pieces together, use the middle of the grouping or the largest piece in the group as the focal point placed at eye level. Some of the wall art surrounding this piece will have to go higher or lower.
Choose symmetrical or asymmetrical placement when grouping. Create a symmetrical grouping of art that's similar in size and subject matter for visual balance. Keep about two to three inches between each piece. If you have wall art of different sizes but with a common color or theme, group them asymmetrically, such as in a stairwell or behind a sideboard. Try staggering pieces so the top and bottom don't match. Finally, establish imaginary vertical lines as boundaries on either side of the group, and aim for visual balance within those lines.
Group in odd numbers. A grouping of three or five pieces of art is more pleasing to the eye than two or four. It's also easier to hang: center the middle piece first, then hang the others to the right and left.
Accentuate Your Focal Points
Above the living room fireplace mantle. Above a sofa or headboard. Above a dining room sideboard. These are all signature spots for wall art. Arrange your pieces in a line in rectangular spaces above linear furnishings. If you have vaulted ceilings or overhead architectural details and you want to bring eyes upward, stack your art in angles. If you don't have a focal point in a room, select a large piece of art and use it as your focal point.
Use Art to Emphasize Your Style
Whether you're looking to add a centerpiece painting in your living room, or you have several smaller accent pieces in mind, choose wall art in colors and materials to match and complement your existing style:
- Amplify a coastal vibe in a guest bathroom with metallic sea turtles in shades of blue mounted on a weathered driftwood plaque.
- A vintage wood plank sign is a fun addition to a farmhouse dining room.
- Reflect modern style in a bedroom literally and figuratively with a unique three-dimensional wall mirror made of angled, mirrored glass.
Mix and Match Different Types of Wall Art
Framed paintings and photographs are beautiful wall art options, but don't restrict yourself to these mediums. Consider adding these other wall elements:
Shelving. This is a lovely way to showcase art and décor while adding dimension to a room—and they can be artful elements in their own right. Choose shelves in geometric or traditional shapes. And match the materials to the room style; wood and matte black wall shelves match rustic and Craftsman-style homes, while brushed steel shelves suit modern and transitional spaces.
Wall clocks. Artful and useful, wall clocks are stylish additions to any room. If your style is coastal, an oversized iron wall clock with compass design adds nautical flair. Elevate a French farmhouse kitchen with a weathered wine bottle clock. A contemporary living room welcomes an Art Deco wall clock.
Wall sculptures and panels. Metallic botanicals, ceramic florals, and animal sculptures bring a hint of the outside world indoors. Abstract designs and clustered geometric shapes lend beauty and layers to any room. Make the space over an entry table special with a bold display of rectangular panels featuring mixed metals, such as iron and gold leaf, that deliver gorgeous contrasts.
Signs and lettering. Oversized metallic letters and whimsical wording on weathered wood panels lend charm to any room. Though often associated with farmhouse style and kitchens, wordy wall art can complement modern and traditional décor too.