A Room By Room Guide For Displaying Art
Pictures, framed photos & prints are available in a plethora of styles, frame colours & subject matter to suit anyone’s taste.
I never feel a home is complete unless it has some sort of artwork on the walls.
But can you go overboard?
Does every room need a picture? Although a room may not need a picture, it will most definitely benefit from artwork on the walls, as pictures help to elevate & tie in décor as well as inject style & personality into a space.
Rooms can serve many different functions in a house, from a bedroom sanctuary where you sleep each night, a home office where life & business get organised to a living room where the family gathers to play games or share a movie.
Pictures & artwork also serve different functions.
You can have family photos, beautiful landscapes or fine art photography to abstract prints.
Matching the appropriate artwork to a room can really make a difference that elevates & reflects the feel of the space you’re wanting to achieve.
In this article we'll explore art for:
Hallway & Entrance
Where Should You Place Art In A Living Room?
Usually this is where the TV lives & it can be distracting to have pictures hung on the same wall as the goggle-box.
But this will depend on the size of the wall, the TV & where it’s placed.
Hanging an artwork above a television that sits on a cabinet or lower down the wall will be a distraction as it competes for attention.
But if the TV is mounted to a large wall, pictures on either side can be helpful to create balance.
It is possible to use smaller pictures arranged around the telly similar to a gallery wall, & if you have a small space it could be an option.
I personally find this can look too busy & cluttered, but I have seen it done well.
Large artworks in a room with a TV are best hung over the sofa or on the largest blank wall.
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I love open fireplaces & wood burners, they’re so cosy on a winter's night.
There’s no better place for a large artwork than above the mantle or even leaning on it.
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Often this is all that’s needed, especially if the room is well furnished.
The chimney or flue can sometimes run within the wall, other times the chimney protrudes & creates a feature.
Pictures either side can look great & help to create balance, especially if the chimney wall is an accent wall or wallpapered.
If your living room doesn’t have a defining feature like a fireplace, a single large artwork does wonders to create a focal point.
You can even arrange armchairs or other furniture around it to create a sense of a separate area or nook.
What Style Of Artwork Suits A Living Room?
This all depends on your décor of course & the look you’re creating.
But most artwork will work well, from abstracts, landscape photography, portraiture, canvas prints, metal & acrylic prints to paintings.
Depending on the style of the frame, framed prints can offer a decorative & ornate look to more traditional or formal.
Floater frames offer a very sleek & modern vibe, & for that ultra modern & minimalist appeal, metal & acrylic prints look fantastic.
Does The Living Room Need A Picture?
I’d say yes, your living room will definitely benefit from some well chosen artworks. I feel living rooms were designed to display artworks, especially before the television came along.
Choosing Art To Suit Your Dining Room
Hanging artworks in a dining room will depend on the size & shape of the space.
Narrower rooms with pictures on the longer walls will create a sense of the room closing in.
Plus it may not be practicable, as people may need to squeeze past & brush the artworks as well as knock them as they pull their chairs back.
But a narrow dining room with high ceilings means the art can be hung above head height, which whilst practical may look unbalanced.
But the end walls are a perfect space & you can even experiment with multiple pictures or a gallery wall.
With a large dining room you have a lot more freedom.
Larger dining areas often have cabinets or side tables & providing the art is in proportion, you can hang pictures above this furniture.
If you have a window on a large wall, pictures on either side create balance.
If you have tall cabinets, make sure to hang your pictures either side, for when hung above it will look top heavy.
If you live in an apartment or house without a specific dining room, arranging the table & chairs in front of a large artwork will create it’s own area & a separate feel to the rest of the space.
How Do You Pick The Right Art For A Dining Room?
Dining areas are like living rooms in that they can be very formal or casual & relaxed.
Choose artwork that represents the mood you wish to set. Ornately framed classic paintings & prints will further enhance the formal vibe, whereas lighter & colourful prints will lift a space & bring some lively energy.
Does Every Dining Room Need Artwork?
Larger dining rooms definitely require art on the walls otherwise they can be a bit stark & unwelcoming. Providing it’s practical, smaller dining areas will benefit from some well chosen pieces too.
Do You Need Art In A Kitchen?
Kitchens also come in different shapes & sizes as well as layouts.
Modern homes are generally open plan, unlike the older houses that can have a separate room.
Usually there are wall cupboards & cabinets, so it’s often a case of finding a free spot to hang your art.
It’s still possible to add your personality to a small kitchen by hanging art in those spaces between door frames & windows.
Galley style kitchens will often have a wall at one end which can accommodate artworks.
There’s more options with open plan kitchens as there’s usually more available wall space.
But being open plan means artwork can hang in the dining or living spaces & the kitchen area can remain minimal.
Especially modern kitchens, the wrong style of artwork, or too many pictures, will look messy & out of place.
Tips For Choosing The Best Artwork For A Kitchen
Photographs behind glass are also protected from cooking odours.
Like any other space in the home, just choose the best frame & subject matter to compliment the décor.
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Does Every Kitchen Need A Picture?
Ironically, I feel it’s the smaller kitchens that can gain some personality from some well chosen pictures. Too much art in larger, open plan modern kitchens can detract from the clean lines.
Can Art Be Hung In The Bathroom?
The bathroom is often overlooked as a place for displaying art, I think because being a wet area people are concerned about water damage.
But with modern print mediums like aluminium & acrylic prints, this is no longer an issue.
The methods for hanging pictures in bathrooms may require more than a simple nail in the wall, as some bathrooms can be tiled floor to ceiling.
Where Do You Hang Art In A Bathroom?
Above the toilet is always prime real estate, especially those amusing & quirky signs.
Either side of a vanity mirror if there’s space, just be sure to hang the pictures high enough to not get splashed.
Depending on the layout & position, above the bath can be a good wall space for art.
Again, just make sure it’s hung at a height where it won’t get splashed.
As with a small kitchen, in a tinier bathroom you can use those narrower spaces between the door or window frames.
What’s The Most Practical Art For A Bathroom?
Humidity is the main consideration, so you can’t go past the highly durable & moisture resistant acrylic & metal prints.
But if it’s a larger bathroom & well ventilated, canvas prints could be an option.
Paintings created with water-based inks are probably a bad idea, as an accidental splash may ruin it.
Does Every Bathroom Need A Picture?
Perhaps not every bathroom, but certainly don’t dismiss this humble space as a room to display art. Some bathrooms really benefit from some colourful or stylish prints.
The Bedroom Is A Must When It Comes To Art
What’s a bedroom without any artwork on the walls?
Whether it’s a teenagers room with music posters or an elegant ensuite with classy prints.
The bedroom can look uninviting without pictures on the walls.
Displaying Art Above The Bed
Above the bed is one of the most popular places to hang prints & with good reason.
The right style & size artwork above a bed can really set the mood for the whole room.
Multi panel prints work incredibly well above the headboard too.
Above bedside tables or nightstands is a good place for smaller pictures or prints & can help to create balance.
If your dresser doesn’t have a mirror, it can look very boho to simply lean an artwork on top or alternatively hang it off the wall.
It can also make a wonderful focal point if you don’t have artwork over the bed.
If there’s a wardrobe against a large wall, hanging pictures either side will prevent it looking lost.
What’s The Best Artwork For A Bedroom?
This can depend if it’s an adults bedroom or a children's room.
For grownups, we want a space that offers relaxation & calmness.
Whether it’s photography or paintings, landscapes always sit well in a bedroom.
But abstracts can look fantastic too.
There’s plenty of fun & colourful prints available for a child's bedroom, & for the teenager there's music related prints, abstract sci-fi & movie prints.
Does Every Bedroom Need Artwork?
I’d say a resounding yes! Bedrooms need to be welcoming & even teenagers & children’s rooms can look stark without any pictures on the walls.
Don't Ignore The Hallway When It Comes To Art
The first space you see when you walk into a home is the entry, foyer or hallway.
Being greeted by some beautiful art can really set the mood for the entire house.
As that old saying goes: “ You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.”
Like other rooms throughout the house, the size of your entryway will determine the size of artwork that’s going to work & be practical.
If the entrance walls already have wall lights, a mirror or other elements, then smaller artworks placed in proportion will look good without looking too busy.
Large foyers & entrances will often have some sort of furniture, like side tables or comfy chairs.
Hanging the right sized art pieces above these furnishings is a good way to tie these different elements together.
You may think a narrow hallway may not be a great space for displaying pictures, but surprisingly, hanging artwork along the entire length of the walls can work really well.
If you have a blank wall at the end of a hallway, hanging a picture or large canvas print will draw the eye through the house.
Sometimes an entry will open up to a staircase, & pictures on the wall below the stairs is a wonderful spot for art as well as running up the staircase wall.
Does Every Hallway Need Artwork?
I feel this is a yes & no answer. If there's space & it's practical, then definitely a yes.
As mentioned, a well decorated hallway or entrance really sets the mood of a house.
A small hallway could look cluttered, especially if there's already elements like hooks, coat stands & other items occupying valuable wall space.
Other Rooms In The House
Other spaces in the home can also be uplifted by displaying artwork.
Wall Art For The Laundry Room
The laundry, or utility room (depending which side of the pond you’re on) can sometimes have awkward wall space due to cupboards & wall mounted washers & dryers.
But don’t let this deter you, smaller pictures are ideal for those tinier spaces, but often a utility room will have at least one blank wall.
Art For A Sunroom
Some homes have sunrooms, which are mainly glass & windows & this can present it’s own challenges.
Not only the lack of wall space, but hanging artwork that won’t fade from lengthy exposure to sunlight.
Homes are like the people living in them, no 2 are the same & they all have their individual personalities.
Artwork allows our personalities & unique style to be expressed in our homes.
Sometimes artwork is used for adding colour, style or for creating a certain mood.
Other times we just love the subject matter, as in a great photograph for example.
Probably the most popular use of pictures in a home is to display family portraits, memories & snapshots.
So does every room need a picture?
Some spaces in the home can simply be too small & hanging pictures can be impractical.
But most of the time I’d have to say yes .. a room will always look & feel better with some well chosen artwork.
I hope you found value in this article & share it around if you feel the urge.