How Can I Decorate My Living Room With Wall Art?

by Pamela Johnston October 04, 2021

My Toronto, The Original Logo Art | Totally Toronto Art

Thinking of decorating your living room with wall art? There are lots of different ways to use wall art within a living room. This post lists a few tips and rules when it comes to hanging art on your living room walls. 

Reasons to Decorate your Living Room with Wall Art

Displaying wall art in your living room could have many benefits:

  • Bring your living room alive: If your living room feels a bit sterile or lonely, adding some art to the walls could immediately make it feel more alive. Paintings and drawings depicting scenes of ‘life’ (such as nature or urban scenes) are very effective at this.

  • Build your home’s character: Wall art can help to provide character to a home. If your living room contains a lot of mass produced furniture, you could consider hanging up some original artwork or limited edition prints to give your decor a unique touch. 

  • Create an explosion of color in a neutral room: If your living room contains a lot of black, grey or white, you could consider adding some vibrant wall art in order to provide an explosion of color. This could make such a room feel warmer and more energetic.

  • Add depth to a small room: Wall art can also bring extra depth to small rooms. A landscape scene painting could give off the impression of having an extra window so that your living room feels less enclosed. Try to stick to smaller artwork in smaller rooms - you should be able to stand back and take in the whole painting/drawing at once. 

  • Provide a focal point beyond your TV: TVs tend to dominate modern living rooms. Hanging a large and colorful piece of wall art opposite a TV could help to add a competing focal point so that the TV isn’t automatically the first thing people notice. 

  • Spark conversations with guests: Artwork can be a great conversation starter. If you regularly have new guests around, consider adding wall art to get them talking. 

  • Choosing the Content of your Wall Art

    First, you should consider the content of your living room wall art. Ideally the artwork should bring you joy. It could simply contain colors and shapes that you love or it could have a deeper personal connection.

    Paintings and drawings of meaningful locations can be very popular. Our vintage scenes of Toronto could be perfect for anyone with a personal connection to the city - check out some of the works by David Crighton here on our site Totally Toronto Art

    Matching the Style of your Living Room

    Your wall art needs to match the style of your living room. There are a few features to consider when choosing wall art.

    Art Style/Movement?

    There are so many different styles of artwork. Think about the style of your living room furniture and the style of the building. A period still life painting could look great in a period living room. A funky abstract print is likely to look better in a more modern, eclectic living room. 

    Framed or Frameless?

    You should also consider whether to opt for framed artwork or frameless artwork. Framed artwork tends to work better in busier living rooms with lots going on - the frame can help the viewer to focus in on the content of the art. Frameless art can work better in large open spaces - if your living room is fairly minimal and you’ve got a large blank wall, you may want to hang some frameless art on it. 

    How Big?

    Will you choose a large canvas that takes up the entire wall? Or will you choose a tiny picture? The right choice is likely to depend on the size of the room and the scale of the furniture around it. You shouldn’t hang a large piece of wall art in a tiny room. Similarly, you shouldn’t place a tiny piece of wall art in the middle of a large bare wall in a large room (although you may be able to fill more space with multiple small works). 

    Where to Hang Living Room Wall Art?

    When decorating your living room with wall art, it’s also important to consider the location. A few popular places to hang wall art are listed below.

    Above the Sofa

    If you have an empty wall above your sofa, this could be a great place to hang some wall art. Wall art can look particularly striking when placed on a wall above a sofa opposite a TV. 

    Above a Mantelpiece

    If you have a fireplace with a mantelpiece, you could consider hanging some art above the mantelpiece. This space is commonly used for mirrors and clocks, but wall art can be just as effective.

    Above a Sideboard

    If you’ve got a sideboard in your living room, you could also consider hanging some artwork on the wall above it. Multiple works of art can work well when placed above a sideboard containing lots of small ornaments. 

    Rules for Hanging Living Room Wall Art

    It’s worth considering a few rules when decorating your living room with wall art. These rules will prevent your art from looking messy or out of place.

    Maintain a Sense of Symmetry

    Art should be placed in the centre of an empty space of wall where possible. Placing it too much to the left or right will disrupt the symmetry of the room.  If the whole vertical length of the wall is completely empty, hang the painting at eye level. If the lower part of the wall is taken up by a sideboard or sofa or fireplace, this eye level rule usually does not apply - instead hang the art an equal distance away from the ceiling above and the obstacle below it. 

    Keep Art Relative in Size to Furniture

    Think about the items around your art. If you’re placing artwork above a large sofa, consider a large art piece of multiple pieces of artwork taking up a large area. If you’re placing artwork above a small chair, a smaller piece of wall art is likely to look better.

    Evenly Space Multiple Paintings

    If you’re placing multiple pieces of art on one wall, make sure that they are all evenly spaced. This also applies to clusters of small pieces of art - if the spacing isn’t right, it could look messy.

    Be Wary of Hanging Art Around the TV

    Hanging art directly above or next to a TV could be distracting - especially if the artwork is large or colorful. When decorating a wall near a TV, go for something small and subtle. Otherwise place it far away from a TV (ideally on an opposite or adjacent wall). 

    Pamela Johnston
    Pamela Johnston


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