fiddle leaf photography
Mar 29, 2021
2 questions that come up over and over again when consulting about photo prints is “how big should it be?” and “where should we put it?”. Both totally valid questions! To help answer them for you, I brought in an expert, Kierstin Smyth of Kierstin Smyth Design. Kierstin’s designs are very accessible and also totally livable. I know as we’ve hired Kierstin to help us with 2 rooms in our house and she’s nailed it each time, creating designs that work with our life and our style. – Kelly
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, the visual appeal of our homes has an impact on how we feel. Intuitively we can usually tell when something is visually right or wrong – we may not understand why it feels that way, but we still have that feeling. Displaying our art and photographs is one of the easiest ways to make our homes feel like us. To showcase our personality and to make a house feel like a home.
You may be surprised by how often I visit a home and see art that is hung too high or that is not the right size for the space. I get it. It’s much less scary to purchase smaller pieces than commit to larger ones. Art can have such an impact on a space but it needs to be done right. To help you out, I want to share with you a few of the basics for the sizing and placement of photographs and art in your home.
HOW HIGH SHOULD I HANG IT
Generally speaking, your art should be at eye level for the average person. Most people will go with 60” from the floor to the middle of the art (luckily for me 60” is almost exactly my own eye level). If you’re doing a grouping of say two pieces of the same size, one above the other, then the space between them should be at around the 60” mark.
If you’re placing art above furniture like sofas, console tables, beds, dressers, etc., one of the biggest mistakes is leaving too much space between the furniture and the art. Aim for just a few inches in between (4-5”). However, if it is above a sofa or other furniture piece where it could get in the way of functional space (as in, you lean back on the sofa and you hit your head on it), you may be able to hang it higher – particularly if the middle of the piece is still at that 60” mark.
HOW BIG SHOULD IT BE
Fill that wall. Seriously. I’d much rather see an empty blank wall above a sofa than one 8×10 inch frame sitting there all by its lonesome. Don’t be afraid to place artwork on small sections of walls either. Sometimes that’s exactly what it needs.
If you’re placing art above a piece of furniture, you want the art (or grouping of art) to be at least ⅔ the width of the furniture piece but not larger than it.
If it’s an empty wall (no furniture on it), you’ll generally want to follow that same guideline of the piece taking up ⅔ of the space.
LARGE ART ISN’T IN MY BUDGET
This is where groupings or gallery walls come into play (or finding ways to make your pieces larger by changing out the mats and frames).
Use the same guidelines for single larger pieces and apply that to your gallery wall. So if your console table is 60” wide, your gallery wall should take up 40” of visual width. And also don’t forget that you can hang other objects that aren’t framed photos or artwork.
If you need to fill gaps in your gallery wall, get creative. Find some small plates that either match your colour scheme or that you can paint to match and add it to the gallery wall. Perhaps a couple mirrors may do the trick. Maybe a small floating shelf or a shadow box is included to display multiple objects that otherwise wouldn’t have a place. Get creative and have fun with it!
To make your photos into “bigger” pieces of art, my favourite hack is to buy an off-the-shelf frame that is much larger than the photo and then have a mat cut to fit both that frame and the photo. Not only does it add more visual interest to the piece but it also gives it more presence (and saves you money vs having it professionally framed).
I also encourage my clients to not rush into purchasing more expensive pieces. I will give them direction on sizing and what to look for so that they can keep that information on their phone. That way, when they are out shopping or come across something they like, they can easily know if it could work for their space.
OKAY, BUT HOW DO I CREATE A GALLERY WALL?
This is truly an entire blog post on it’s own. But here are the two ways I approach it.
For both, it’s easiest to measure and mark out your overall size on the floor with painters tape and then start playing with the placement of your pieces until it feels balanced. Sometimes within this process you’ll realize you have a gap and that may mean adding another piece. Or you may also find you have too much and that you need to pare it down. Once you’ve come to a look that you’re happy with, take photos of the layout and make note of any key measurements. Choose a starting point and start hanging.
BUT AREN’T THERE EXCEPTIONS?
Of course. But unless you’re working with a professional to ensure that the exception still works for the space in terms of its visual weight and balance, it’s best to just stick to the basics.
And don’t forget to use the resources you have available to you!
Pinterest contains endless articles and inspiration for the placement and sizing of art. If you’re working with a professional photographer, they likely also have tips they can pass along for the right sizing and groupings of the photos you’ve just had done. Some even offer services for creating gallery walls – use that expertise! Of course, I also have to mention that your preferred interior design professional is also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the selection and placement of art and decor in your home.
Want to know more about creating spaces that make you feel amazing? Grab the free guide book, Essential Feelings in Your Home and get started today!
Kierstin Smyth is on a mission to help more people love their homes through her Edmonton based firm, Kierstin Smyth Design. She believes that having a home that can support you from a functionality standpoint, while also bringing joy through the aesthetic aspect, can literally change lives. Her approach to design involves understanding how her clients want to feel in their life and thus their homes. She uses her creativity, intuition and design principles to create spaces her clients love while ensuring their best interests in terms of budget and value are always taken into consideration.
© fiddle leaf photography 2019 • site created by three fifteen design
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Lifestyle family & newborn photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta
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