The Golden Rule to Follow For Sizing Your Art Just Right

updated Oct 13, 2022
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

There are some rooms you see that look pretty good, that make you think “oh, I can totally do that.” Then there are the rooms that look so put together that you write them off as being too “pro” and unattainable. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a load of pish posh, and you can do anything as long as you know some simple rules. Namely, making sure that the art above a sofa or bed is two-thirds the size of the sofa or headboard.

I was recently deep in the archives of designer/blogger Emily Henderson’s site and came across a how-to video on creating a focal wall with Orlando Soria of Hommemaker. The video has some great tips on setting up a gallery wall, but one of my biggest takeaways was Emily’s 2/3 rule she brought up with regards to the sizing of large-scale art over a sofa (FYI, art placement is a big part of those nearly perfect rooms).

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“A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your piece of art is two-thirds the size of your sofa [or headboard],” she says in her clip, noting that this makes it interesting enough to engage a whole wall.

She also goes on to note this same sizing guideline would apply to multiple pieces of art or a gallery wall (i.e. treat them, in terms of scale, like one piece of art and make sure the whole arrangement is at least two-thirds of the size of the furnishing it’s above).

The Art Sizing Rule—Examples

This isn’t to say it has to be exactly 66.67%, but it’s a great rule of thumb if you aren’t sure how big or how small to go with your art (and by all means, go larger than that should you feel brave enough). To show you what this looks like, I rounded up a handful of great examples:

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

Here’s an example from Studio McGee that uses two pieces of large art that, together, measure about two-thirds the length of the sofa.

(Image credit: Amber Interiors)

Using just one piece of large scale art works so beautifully in this bedroom from Amber Interiors. With a simple black-and-white palette and streamlined furnishings, anything else would have created a bit of visual clutter in an otherwise quiet and serene room.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

While Emily only mentioned the bed and headboard, I think this same two-thirds rule can apply to areas like the space above a fireplace mantel and a console table.

(Image credit: Diana Liang)

While the styling in this Michigan house tour is super pristine and unfussy, it would easily look just as elegant with more knick-knacks because of the right-on art.

Now that you’re equipped with that easy-to-follow golden rule, go forth and hang some art like a pro stylist!