When It Comes to Art, Go Grand

For home décor, large artwork works better than small, though it doesn’t have to carry a huge price.



Photo by Suzanna Scott Photography

In interior design, scale—or the relative size of objects—can really make or break a room. Furniture, lighting, window treatments, rugs: too large, and the space will feel cramped. Too small, and the room will feel chintzy. You’ve got a line to toe here, so how do you make sure you don’t step over it?

Check online for industry best practices. Generally speaking, rugs should fill a room, leaving between 12 and 18 inches of floor space all around. Curtains should be hung nearly to the ceiling, not right above the window frame, so the room looks as tall as possible. And that table lamp next to your sofa? Aim for the bottom of its shade to be at eye level when you sit down.

Artwork, too, has its own guidelines for scale. Art should fill at least two-thirds of the object it sits above (or the wall itself, if it’s flying solo). So if you have a 60-inch long buffet table, the piece you hang above should be at least 40 inches wide. Take out your measuring tape to see what that looks like: It’s pretty big. In the past, art of that scale would come with a hefty price tag; it tended to get exponentially more costly as it increased in size. But luckily, in this age of easy digital printing, that’s no longer the case.

For well-priced large pieces, this designer is a fan of the online retailer One Kings Lane (OneKingsLane.com). The selection of great looking photography, drawings, and canvas prints comes as wide as 50 inches for just above $300. And that includes the frame. If you’ve priced custom framing at a local store lately, you’ll know that’s a real deal. Another advantage: One Kings Lane makes it easy to search for art by scale, meaning you don’t fall in love with a piece only to discover that it doesn’t come in the size you need. Since you can’t immediately discern specs when looking at images online, this is a real time saver.

Minted (Minted.com) is another good bet for large artwork. These prices can be a bit higher than what you’ll find on One Kings Lane, but in exchange, you’ll get exclusive pieces you can’t find anywhere else, limited-edition runs, and signed prints. Plus, you can choose your own frame style, which means you’ll always be able to find something that works with your decor. And a bonus: The site lists the hometown of each artist, so you can easily support a local, like Alameda’s Jennifer Daily or San Francisco’s Sue Prue.

Richard’s 10-foot-tall portrait in the recent Gilmore Girls revival notwithstanding, it’s difficult to go too large when it comes to art. So if you’re in doubt, err on the side of grand. With these stores at your disposal, big impact no longer has to mean big bucks.

Sarah Coombs is an interior designer based in Alameda.

 

Published online on Jan. 24, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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