Five Things to Consider Before Buying and Hanging Large Wall Art, According to Experts
Big pieces of artwork can really change the look of your home, making empty spaces feel more intentional while also providing an opportunity to try something different without committing to a more permanent changes like a statement or accent wall. However, choosing large wall art that will work well in your home requires forethought and planning. These three art pros explain everything you need to know about shopping for and hanging large pieces of wall art.
When adding a large piece of art to your home, Megan Becker, lead art restoration specialist at ART of Northern NJ & Hudson Valley, says you're opening a window to a world of possibilities. The trick is figuring out how big that window should be. "Most of the time it's recommended that your art fills 75 percent of the wall space," she says, adding that you need to take into consideration things like eye level and centering. "For example, if you have a ten-foot-high wall you don't want an eight-foot masterpiece because nobody is looking at the bottom two feet." So, if you're shopping for a large piece of artwork you need to keep in mind that the center of that piece should fall at the average eye level, which is 57-inches, and expand from that center point.
Consider the Surrounding Area
If you're opting for a single, oversized statement piece, Emily Dubin, senior direction of innovation with Artifact Uprising, says the general rule of thumb is that it should be large enough to take up at least two-thirds of the space and take into consideration any furniture that sits up against that wall. "The art shouldn't completely dwarf the furniture or conversely look too small," she says. "In terms of placement, if I have a single, large piece on a wall, I do like to center it, either over a piece of furniture or centered on the wall itself." Dubin says off-center arrangements tend to work better for smaller pieces or groupings. You'll need to consider all the things that will be up against the wall your piece is hanging on, like additional pieces of furniture, before you mount it.
Where to Buy Large Wall Art
If you have a place you'd like to hang your large wall art but don't already have your eye on a particular piece, Patrick Hayes, founder and designer at 1767 Designs, says you should start looking for artists whose work both you (and they) feel passionate about, and then contact them directly. "Supporting the artist directly is the best way to buy art because 100 percent goes to the artist instead of having to give a cut to a gallery," he says. "Personally, I find a lot of my inspiration for art on Instagram."
When choosing a frame or matte for large wall art, Becker says simpler is better. "Large ornate frames can look great on a smaller piece, but many times large frames can overwhelm [the wall] and become the artwork, taking away from the piece's beauty," she says. "Also, with more weight between the piece and its frame comes more liability and access for accidents." If you're stuck on ideas for framing, she suggests sticking to solid colors and simple shapes for big pieces.
As for matting, when it comes to large pieces you can usually skip it. "Matte boards can be done with a large piece of art, but I don't recommend matte boards since it provides a window," she says. "Large art doesn't need a window, it is the window." That being said, Becker says there should always be a layer of material between the art piece and its frame to avoid any damage. "A good framer knows to include a bumper and will recommend installing a float frame or cover the piece with plexiglass."
How to Hang Large Wall Art
The hardware and equipment you'll need to hang the piece will differ depending on both how heavy it is and the materials your walls are made of, according to Dubin. "For a light to medium-weight piece on drywall, a simple thin nail or picture hangers you can purchase at a hardware store should suffice," she says. "For heavier pieces it's safer to nail into a stud or to drill in a wall anchor." If you're worried about mounting, she says that you can always forego it and showcase your large pieces another way. "Another option is to simply lean your art against the wall," she says. "This works great for art on a mantel or shelf. Though if you live in an earthquake-prone area (or have rowdy kids or pets!) it's still a good idea to secure it to the wall."