How to choose the right size painting for your room?

As soon as you decided to buy a painting, next question is: “Will it fit? Is it the right size for that wall?” The paintings are in the gallery, and you are stuck at home leaning to the wall with a measuring tape trying to make the decision. And you ask your significant other: “Too big? Too small? Which one would be just right?” That is why commissioning artwork is the way to go, especially if you want a painting of certain size, and it is not available in a gallery collection.

Picking the right size artwork for your space can be tricky, and yes, it is highly subjective.

Illustration of a miniature painting
A display case with 18th-century portrait miniatures at the National Museum in Warsaw

Here’s a quick overview of the most common art-canvas sizes I use. Whether you need a miniature painting, something in between, a painting on multiple canvases, or one rather large piece to go on a certain wall, you can have exactly what you need and have it delivered exactly when you need to have it. Like any other person, I am subjective and so are size categories below, they are my personal objective choices. Obviously, what seems small or medium to me might seem large to another person.

First, small  sizes:

  • 4-by-4 inches
  • 4-by-6 inches
  • 7-by-7 inches

In short, small canvases are great for working on finely detailed pieces or a single, bold image. They can be a good size for creating artwork to scan and turn into postcards, greeting cards or other stationery

a painting in acrylics commissioned cake
A recent commission for a confectionary, acrylic on canvas, 12-by16 inches.



Second, medium sizes:

  • 8-by-10 inches
  • 9-by-12 inches
  • 12-by-16 inches
  • 16-by-16 inches

Logically, these sizes are ideal for smaller rooms and corridors. They’re big enough to evoke visual interest but not intimidatingly large.


”The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek” (ca. 1625) by Peter Paul Rubens, 80 in × 98 in.

And finally, large sizes:

  • 18-by-24 inches
  • 20-by-20 inches
  • 20-by-30 inches
  • 24-by-36 inches
  • 36-by-36 inches
  • 36-by-48 inches

Most importantly, large canvases are exactly what you need to make an impact in a room. Consequently, they allow an artist to portray monumental beauty of a landscape, to show light nuances, and also to express rich color variations.


General guideline regarding sizes

So, regarding the size, the general rule of thumb we use is that artwork should be about 75% of the width of the furniture, and this applies to a single piece of art or a grouping. There are some general principles of decorating a wall or a space.  One of them, is to choose smaller pieces for narrow walls and larger canvas wall art pieces for big walls.

  • So, for Small Spaces we look for a tightly-grouped even number of pieces in a small area, such as a stair landing, is perfect and gives a window effect. Light colors enhance this effect.
  • And for Large Spaces we would prefer a tightly-grouped even number of pieces, which works great to balance out a large space or a high wall. Note that large spaces can handle slightly larger spacing than small spaces.

Your judgement is the main rule

In conclusion, my personal opinion is you should be able to judge for yourself and have your space reflect your personality, taste, style and your vision. Certainly, in those rare cases when the artwork does not integrate well into the space, I will paint a different piece to match your interior. So far it never happened to me, but I heard one artist I respect did it for his client, and this is why I would do the same. Above all, a happy client is the best advertisement for an artist.

Below, you can look for more useful information on how to go about decorating your space and choosing the right size for your commissioned artwork and how to hang it, just go through the article “Hanging Wall Art – The Complete Guide” by Ballard Designs.




Leave a comment or find me on social media, if you have any questions about paintings, canvases, painting supplies, and art in general. I’m not selling anything, so my advice will not be affected by affiliation to any brand or store. In this post you can get a few ideas of how to improve your painting and start making quick progress. And if there is any additional information you need, I’d be happy to share, just let me know.

And, as one of the coolest painters said: “All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.”
Bob Ross