How Much Art Is Too Much?
A wall can be a boring blank space when it’s bare of pictures.
And what’s the point of pictures if they’re not going to be displayed on your walls?
Walls need artwork just like artwork needs walls.
As well as keeping the roof on, walls are made for adorning with your favourite moments, colours & images.
Hanging pictures & artworks is a way to express our memories, creativity & the décor style we wish to reflect within our spaces.
But does every wall need a picture? Not every wall has to have a picture hung on it, but sometimes every wall can be adorned with pictures. Good décor & design can also dictate leaving certain walls completely free from artworks.
When it comes to wall décor, there’s certain guidelines & rules of thumb, but these aren’t written in stone & sometimes rules are meant to be broken.
But like most things in life, balance is the key.
Not Every Wall Needs Artwork & Here's Why
We’ve probably all moved into a rental home at some point in our lives.
As well as the usual bare ceiling lights, the walls are blank & very uninviting.
Furniture & other furnishing play a major role in creating a place to call home, but with bare walls it never quite seems complete.
Wall art is an important component that ties décor together & adds that personal touch.
But on the other extreme, a room with too much art & pictures hung on every wall can look cluttered as well as smaller & even intimidating to step into!
Creating style & a balanced décor is about choosing the right elements that work together to compliment each other.
Busy walls can do the exact opposite.
Things can seem like a mish mash & a visual overload that actually detracts from any style.
Understanding where, as well as when to hang art, is what makes for a well balanced space.
Negative Space & Blank Walls
No, negative space doesn’t mean there’s a moody person in the room!
Negative space is a term used in art, but is also applied to home décor & design & is the area of an artist's canvas that is left white or empty.
If there’s too much going on in a picture, it can detract from the main subject.
This also applies to home décor & wall art.
As mentioned, too many pictures can simply look cluttered & closed in, there’s nowhere for the eye to rest & no artwork or picture stands out from the rest.
By leaving areas of the wall, or an entire wall blank, the eye will rest on particular pieces of art.
Negative space creates focal points, as that familiar saying goes: “less is more.”
How Do You Know When A Wall Needs Or Doesn’t Need Art?
You’ll know when a wall needs a picture as it will enhance the space, not detract from it.
However much wall space you may have, usually some style of art can be hung.
You don’t need a large wall area, as even smaller walls can accommodate some sort of picture or artwork.
It can be easy to get enthusiastic, but some restraint needs to be applied when hanging pictures.
Making sure the size of the picture sits well in relation to the dimensions of the wall space is important, as well as the art suiting the style, colours & general décor of the room.
An example would be a small picture sitting on a spacious wall .. it’s going to look lost & out of place, almost like an afterthought.
A really large artwork hanging above a small side table will also look disproportionate.
It will loom over the table & be too dominant.
So as well as matching to the wall size, consideration needs to be taken for furniture & other elements in the room.
When doing anything, your job, creating a service or product or decorating your home, ask yourself “does it add value?”
You’ve probably also heard the saying: “ the devil is in the details.”
Sometimes we can get lost in the details, but sometimes it can be the tiny details we pay attention to that helps to enhance the finished look.
So when hanging pictures, being able to judge if the art is adding or subtracting from the space will guide you in making the best choices.
How To Determine Which Walls Need Pictures
As already discussed, if it looks good & is elevating the space, then go with it.
But if you’re only going to hang art on one wall, usually the largest wall space will be the one to choose.
When pictures are hung on a smaller wall & the larger walls are left bare, this can create an unbalanced feel in the room.
Exceptions to this can be if sizable pieces of furniture are placed against a big wall space, as this can actually make the usable wall area less than the smallest wall.
So hanging smaller artworks may fit the wall space, but can be disproportionate to the furniture the art is hanging above.
Fireplaces can be positioned on the largest or smallest wall of a room.
But generally, whatever size wall, a picture will look appropriate when hung above the fireplace or mantle, even if the other walls are left bare.
When choosing which wall to hang a picture on, damaged walls are usually a good candidate.
It’s a great way to cover an unsightly spot & if you’re lucky the damage will be in a place where the picture will look right!
When To Leave A Wall Empty
This really comes down to what we’ve already discussed, if it isn’t adding value or simply looks wrong, then an empty wall is the better choice.
There can be other reasons for not hanging art on certain walls though.
If you’re going to bump into it as you walk past, then you’re soon going to become bored of straightening it each time!
But other wall spaces may simply be impractical.
Certain walls in a kitchen for example can attract grease or grime, in this instance this can build up on the artwork which could potentially ruin it.
Although it is possible to hang art in the bathroom, certain prints will fare better in humid conditions than others.
Walls that catch a lot of direct sunlight can be an issue for certain pictures or photographs.
There are ways to protect artwork from UV fading, but exposure to sun is generally not ideal for any type of print.
It’s quite popular for an accent wall to be painted a different colour or be wallpapered.
An accent wall can be the largest or smallest wall too.
Sometimes it can look odd when other walls have art & the feature wall is blank.
So the case may be that the accented wall will look best hanging a picture.
If you’re concerned about hanging art on wallpaper, I’ve put together a guide to create minimal to no damage.
How Many Pictures Is Too Many?
It’s not so much about how many, but how they’re arranged.
Gallery walls are a wonderful example of this as they can be really creative.
For a more formal look, pictures that are the same size & frame styles are used.
But you can let your imagination of the leash with different sizes, frames & colours.
The fabulous thing with this technique is that pictures can be arranged horizontally, vertically & even diagonally.
Perfect for staircases & other awkward shaped wall spaces.
Another way to work with an odd shaped wall is by using split panel prints.
These often use the same image or photograph that is divided over 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 panels.
But some companies do more panels & in unusual shapes such as hexagons.
Pictures & art play an important role in our homes & spaces where we live.
But similar to music, your favourite song can’t be appreciated when trying to hear it above other music.
If a picture is worth hanging on your wall, it’s worth being noticed & not lost in a cacophony of visual noise.
So an understanding of how to display them well & how many to use will help you create a well balanced & harmonious space.
I hope this article was helpful & remember sharing is caring!