How to decorate with paintings: 5 useful tips

A painting is a key element to provide any space of its own personality. Through the motifs, colors and textures, paintings communicate a message that we interpret according to our impressions and experiences, allowing us to even “guess” in some way the personality of who inhabits that space.

But what happens if the painting is hung at an incorrect height? Or if it is disproportionate (either because it is too large or too small) to the furniture? Or if there are several pictures which are not distributed in a harmonious way? These mistakes create a feeling of disorder and discomfort. So in this post we want to collect some tips with visual examples, simulations and suggestions to help you decorate with paintings:

1. We hang the paintings… to see them. It seems obvious, right? However, a common mistake is to hang them at an excessive height, which makes they seem “decoupled” from the rest of the decoration. We must hang the painting at eye-level. It will depend on the painting’s dimensions, but the point in which we will hang it should be about 170-180 cm. It is important that this distance is measured from the floor and not the ceiling, since the ceiling may not be at the same height at all points in the room.

2. If the painting is going to be placed above a piece of furniture, we should keep in mind that the width of the painting should not be greater than 80% of the furniture’s width. Here you can see a simulation with this violet butterflies painting (70 × 140 cm):

Esquema cuadro encima de sofá blog

It is also very important that the painting and the furniture are visually linked. If the picture is too separate it will give the impression of being “floating”. This rule also applies to any type of furniture: Headboard Bed, Dresser, drawer chest, etc. If it’s a sofa, make sure you always leave a safe distance (so your head does not “hit” the picture when you sit down).

3. Regarding the second point, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • If you have a large wall, you can consider several options:

- A single large-format picture. For example this painting in fluorescent colours, 120 × 120 cm.

Fluo Yellow-Orange-Pink Abstract Painting [05-079]

- Choose a diptych or a triptych. If the motif of the triptych is continuous, you’ll have to respect a distance of 2 or 3 centimeters between each canvas, in order to keep that continuity. For example, this modern painting in white, brown and red:

Brown White and Red Abstract Painting [05-038]

Some triptych paintings allow us to increase the distance between their pieces, even allowing us to place them on different walls. For example, this floral triptych painting:

Flowers on Wood Painting [06-001]

The central piece could be perfectly integrated into a dining room wall, and we could place the sides, on adjacent walls, without losing that feeling of continuity.

- Put several independent small paintings. In this case, remember that the smaller the size of the paintings, the smaller the distance between them.

4. Sets of paintings: sometimes, when we have several paintings to create a composition, we can be tempted to follow the first impulse and align them by the extreme top or bottom, as in the following diagram:

Esquema cuadros alineación superior
It creates kind of a chaotic feeling because it lacks of visual balance. We can achieve a more balanced composition if we create an imaginary horizontal “line” which will be the center with regard to which the paintings will line up:

5. And finally, we are going to talk about one of the fundamental features of paintings as an decorating element: the colour. We will have to take into account the colour of the wall. Thus, if we have a pale wall, we can go for paintings with dark colors that provide contrast: red, blue, maroon, green, orange… In the picture below we have an example with one of our nudes paintings.

sofa pared clara con cuadro blog

If, on the other hand the wall is dark, it probably has already enough prominence. In this case, our advice is to opt for paintings in light and “neutral” colours, which match with any other colour. For example, we could choose a painting in white, black and silver grey, as this modern painting that you can find at our online store:

sofa pared oscura con cuadro blog

The black and white colours would create contrast without falling into disharmony with the colour of the wall, while silver grey would bring luminosity.

And if you have doubts to choose a painting don’t forget that you can use our free virtual decoration service, available in our online store.