Design Question: Hanging an Oversized Painting above a Sofa

I received a design question the other day from Linda who said…

I have a very big painting 5′ wide x 7′ long that is a foot wider than my sofa . Right now it is centered on the sofa. It is about 6″ below the back of the new sofa… and there’s about a foot above it to the ceiling. If I raise it above the back of the sofa it will almost reach the ceiling. Should I move it up above the sofa which would only leave an inch to the ceiling? or leave it where it is to anchor it to the sofa.. it’s an abstract overall pattern so you don’t really lose any of the painting.

This sounds like an awesome piece of art and it’s difficult to answer without seeing, but here are my thoughts….

  1. I am guessing that you have  8′-0″ ceilings.
  2. The photo is most certainly the focal point of the room, the closer you place it to the ceiling, the higher the ceiling will “feel”, yet too close and it will seem cramped.
  3. I don’t think I would like it right up to the ceiling, but I would like it a tad closer. I am thinking since there is 6″ of overhang on either side of the couch, let’s just raise it 3 more inches so there is only 9″ above, 3″ below and 6″ on either side.
  4. I know three inches doesn’t sound like much, but I think it will make a difference.

The other thing that is equally important is to create balance. Make sure to add some bold pillows on the sofa to complement the painting and add a lamp on one, maybe both sides with a substantial base and shade. Anything too small in scale will look out of proportion. A large coffee table is important as well. Not necessarily “physically heavy”, but large in scale. Glass would work well as long as it has a nice frame – it’s really about the scale to balance the size of the painting. The key is to balance your artwork with items that are proportionate, complimentary (don’t compete) and of course beautiful! I made the above OlioBoard to help create an example.

I hope that helps- let me know how it turns out! xo Amy

P.S. Have a design question? Ask away and I’ll pick one each week to answer!


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