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How to determine the size of art for a wall

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When I started out in the world of interior design, determining the right size of art on a wall was somewhat challenging. In most cases I judged by instinct and still prefer doing so when at site on projects with flexible deadlines. However, when doing long-distance consultancies or on projects where our team cannot be present, we determine the size of art through computer-aided drawings or by using a simple formula that's worked well for us so far. It's a formula I spotted online years ago. I cannot seem to find the source for it any longer, but hope it makes the experience of placing art on your walls easier, as it did mine.

This is a simple calculation that helps put the Golden Mean to use while placing art. The Golden Ratio, Golden Mean, Phi or the Divine Proportion is quite simply a mathematical ratio. The ratio of the Golden Mean is represented by the Greek letter phi and is 1.618. It produces symmetry, harmony and balance in design and is found in nature. You can read more about it here.

An image from a living room in New Delhi demonstrates how we put The Golden Mean to use while hanging art. Our couch was 6 ft wide. We converted that into inches (72") and multiplied the number by 0.618. The number that you get (in this case, it was 3.77’) is the area of the wall behind the sofa that the art ideally needs to cover for a balanced effect. In this case, the artwork was placed at 14" because it looked best at that height for the space we were designing.

You can use this easy calculation anytime you're unsure about what proportion of a wall needs to be covered. Many websites advise people to use 60%-70% of the wall space for their artwork, but what that means in actual measures is anyone’s guess. Instead, use a ratio that is guaranteed to give you a symmetrical solution. Happy decorating!

Applying a simple calculation that helps put the Golden Mean to use while placing art, produces balance in design.

This article was adapted and republished from a journal entry on Shivani Dogra’s website shivanidogra.in.

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