Years ago, most people thought of of 8 x 10 pictures as a large size. Things have definitely changed. With gallery walls, collages, and canvas prints it’s not always obvious what the appropriate picture size for walls is.
It’s not just the length of your wall, it’s also what furniture is in the room or along the wall. Pictures can be used to frame in spaces of a room, or draw the eye to an area. They draw attention to a specific space (fireplace), or create sections of a room visually.
Have you wondered if a picture too big for a wall? I love large prints (although they are super expensive) but I don’t want to make a room appear smaller because the picture I want to hang is large.
Appropriate Picture Size for Walls
If want to use one large picture on a wall, you may have to do a little math to determine which size picture you should buy. According to the The Nest multiply the length of the wall space by 0.57. So if you have 60 inches of wall space, you’ll want to hang a picture (or frame) that is about 34 inches wide.
If you are using several smaller pictures make sure the total width does not exceed 34 inches. The general rule with spacing pictures is 3 to 6 inches apart.
Finally, hang pictures at eye level. The recommended height to hang pictures is approximately 60 inches above the floor.
Why larger pictures on walls work
Here are some visual examples that might make you consider having larger pictures printed the next time you’re decorating your home.
While many people use 5 x 7 prints or 8 x 10 prints as framed wall portraits, these sizes are more appropriately used as framed pictures on desks or tables.
In the collage above, the tiniest picture is a 5 x 7. The next image, which also seems too small for the wall is an 8 x 10. Moving up, the smaller of the two canvases is 16 x 20 and the large canvas is 24 x 24. (The canvases are normally on this wall, while I added the 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 to show a size comparison for this post.)
When creating a gallery wall of pictures, remember to keep the sizes similar or to group smaller photos so they visually appear larger.
Personally I love canvas prints grouped together on a wall to give the appearance of a large print. Can you imagine how bare the wall would look without the canvas prints? I broke the rule of spacing to give the appearance of a larger picture even though I’ve used eight smaller 12×12 canvas prints.
For this gallery wall, I used a grouping of 12×12 canvas prints. I’ve always struggled to find frames I liked, so canvas prints are a great alternative. I prefer wrapped canvas, but I made a mistake with this wall. Instead of wrapping the photos, I chose white and black edging. I should have picked white or black.
The nice thing about canvas prints is that they come in a variety of sizes. You can vary picture sizes on a wall or use the same size. It’s up to you.
I order almost all my canvas prints from Walgreens. They continuously run specials (usually 40% off) and you can have it shipped to the store for an easy pick up. Typically they have their discount code right on their webpage when you are in the photo section.
The Right Picture Size for Walls
While a bigger picture is almost always better, it is important to take the size of your wall into account when choosing your wall portraits or art. If you have a large, blank wall in your home and want to hang a portrait or work of art, you will need to use a very large size.
On a large wall, even a piece such as the 24 x 24 canvas shown above would look tiny.
At our home, we got around that issue on a different wall, which is completely blank and very large. Because the wall has a desk against it (amongst other things), we specifically centered a 24 x 24 canvas above the desk. This way, it makes it appear more like the canvas is meant to denote the desk area as a separate part of the wall.
With all this talk of a canvas that is two feet by two feet, which probably sounds huge to some of you, let me show you what this actually looks like above another desk in our home.
Seeing the desk and computer further emphasizes why sizes like 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 aren’t ideal for most wall usage (other than in collections). However, it also shows that sizes like 24 x 24 and 16 x 20 aren’t too big for the wall.
While they are large enough to be eye-catching because the wall is so big, we could have gone even bigger.
The next time hang pictures on your walls, consider choosing larger photos.
If you don’t have a large photo, or the resolution is too low to print a large photo you can use a large frame with a small matte cut out.
Since many of the pictures of my kids are older (and lower resolution) this is a simple solution.
The impact that large pictures will have in decorating your home will make a huge difference!
Need help getting photos of your kids? Here’s five simple tips to capture amazing photos of your kids.
Tools Needed to Hang Pictures on Walls
I don’t love hanging pictures on walls. In fact I try to use bookcases, built-ins, and shelves to display photos if I can. (You can see my hack for no nail picture hanging here).
With every DIY project, it’s important you have the right tools. Here are the tools I use when hanging pictures in my home.
Level: Do not hang pictures without it! I actually own several levels, but I like the magnetic one because it will attach to metal frames while hanging.
Yard Stick : I prefer a yardstick to measuring tape because it doesn’t flop around. If you want to hang a series of pictures in a straight line a yard stick and level are required.
Nails, Picture Hangers, Screws, etc: I don’t like putting large holes in my walls, so I try to use the smallest nail or screw possible. What I like about canvas prints is that you can hang them with small nails.
If you are hanging large heavy pictures, I recommend screwing into a stud or using an anchor.
Drill: While you don’t have to use a drill, if you are hanging heavier pictures it makes things significantly easier.
Stud Finder: Also not a necessity, but it makes finding studs easier. If you don’t have one, you can tap on the wall until you hear the sound change. I hammer in a tiny nail to see if I have hit a stud. I did this for years until I splurged and bought a $20 stud finder.
Butcher Paper: This is a necessity if you have never created a gallery wall. Use the butcher paper to create “frames” then tape them to the wall. You can easily move pictures around and create the gallery wall you want before you put any holes in the wall.
No nail picture hanging method
Having lived in base housing and numerous rentals I never liked hanging pictures and leaving little (and sometimes) big holes in the wall. As a kid I remember taping posters to my bedroom wall much to my parent’s dismay.
If you don’t want holes in your walls, Velcro removable adhesive picture hangers don’t leave nail holes or damage walls! They are easy to use and it only takes a minute to hang your pictures!
For lightweight pictures and posters this is a great alternative to hammer and nails! Everyone living in base housing or rentals can breath easy about getting your deposit back or passing move out inspection. These adhesive picture hangers don’t damage your walls at all!
(Small gallery wall in my home – pictures hung with Velcro adhesive hangers)
Pictures on the walls make a house a home. They are an excellent way to transform a room and create a cozy atmosphere your family and friends will love.
Use a combination of family photos and art to create a unique and special walls in your home.