How To Choose Wall Art For Your Living Room

So you're finally decorating your living room! For most of us, it's one of the most used rooms in our homes and a place to relax after a long day. It's often the first place guests will see when they walk into your house, so we want this space to be warm, comfortable and welcoming.

Adding wall art is one of the easiest ways to transform the space, and it's also one of the most affordable ways to bring personality, colour and style. So, where do we start when it comes to choosing the perfect piece for the living room?

Green Lili Seas The Day Abstract Canvas
Seas The Day Abstract Canvas ~ by @flypyourhome

1. Find your living room's focal point.

The focal point in your living room is the first thing that catches your eye when you walk in. If it's the sofa where everyone sits, then a large piece of abstract wall art on the wall above is always a great conversation starter.

If it's the fireplace, you might want to hang something simple and minimal to avoid detracting. It might be your super cosy rug; if so, make sure you choose wall art that compliments the style and colours. Remember to leave enough breathing space around the artwork so you and your guests can fully appreciate the piece.

Green Lili Quiet Mind above Fireplace
Quiet Mind Abstact Art ~ by @theblondeabode

2. Think about how you want the room to feel.

Cosy & calming

Some of us want our living rooms to be the most relaxing space in the house; for those precious weekends and evening hours we all crave after a busy day's work! Bring nature's colour palette into the space with warming neutral wall art and earthy hues. Add soft textures and candles, and choose modern abstract wall art that soothes the tone of the room.

Full of energy

Maybe you have a large open-plan living space full of life and great for entertaining - choose artwork that makes you smile and brings energy to the room. Think bold abstract shapes, stripes, checkerboards and botanical prints.

Green Lili Checkerboard Abstract Canvas
Checkmate Abstract Canvas ~ by @danisdomain

Elegant & formal

For the formal living rooms that sometimes feel like a treat to enjoy, the "watch the carpet!" ones, these relaxed and elegant spaces suit a stand-out piece that takes pride of place, something unique and personal to you. Go big in this space with an abstract landscape.

Green Lili Abstract Mountain Landscape Above Sofa
Summit About You Abstract Canvas ~ by @flypyourhome

A place to forget the chaos

For those with hectic schedules that need a place to forget the chaos with absolutely no clutter - choose minimal abstracts in a fresh, light colour palette with clean lines and neutral tones.

3. Decide on the size of the artwork.

The size of the artwork can play a big part in the overall feel of your living room. Maybe you've got your eye on a piece of artwork, but is it the right size for your space? Or you've got a space and are unsure which size to choose?

Small wall art

Great for leaning on shelves in alcoves or a media wall. Consider using different heights to create interest. This could be leaning a tall portrait piece on the same shelf as small decorative bowls, plants, or wide landscape prints with tall vases or candle sticks.

Medium Wall Art

Medium wall art can be a great option placed alongside an occasional chair or paired with another smaller piece of furniture, like a side table. This creates interest whilst not overwhelming the space.

Green Lili For Shore Abstract Art Print Above Side Table
For Shore Abstract Art Print ~ by @my_neutral_place

Large Wall Art

Large wall art works great above a sofa or a focal point like a fireplace. It's easier and cleaner to go with a large framed canvas or framed print. Think about the height of the room and leave enough space around the artwork to avoid it making the room feel smaller.

Green Lili True Grit Abstract Canvas Above Sofa
True Grit ~ by @michellewhitelyhome

The good thing about wall art is that you can mix it up and move it around as many times as you like to make the space work for you.

Pro tip: Outline the artwork's dimensions on your wall with masking tape or sheets of paper. Then, take a step back or even leave it on your wall for a day or two, and you will get a good feel for its size. If it's a toss-up between two different sizes, mark the first one out and take a photo, repeat for the second and compare the photos on your phone to help decide which size looks right.

Check out our wall art size guide for more info.

Use masking tape to measure the size of the artwork
Pro tip: Use masking tape to measure the size of the artwork.

4. Consider the colour palette of the room.

The colour palette of your living room can be a great starting point for choosing art because it allows you to determine how much contrast you want between the piece and other elements in the space.

Remember, you don't have to be too matchy-matchy! Just because you have all green living room walls doesn't mean you must have green artwork. Accent colours work great here so does toning down rich colours with neutrals or black and white artwork. If it's cosy and calming you want, then by all means, make it tonal!

Green Lili Forever Wandering Abstract Canvas Above Fireplace
Forever Wandering Abstract Canvas ~ by @flypyourhome

If your room has warm neutral tones, consider wall art in warm earthy colours like browns and spicy hues. It's easier on the eye and helps to create cohesive harmony. In contrast, if your neutrals have cooler undertones, choose artwork in a similar hue, like blue or grey.

If you have an all-white living room, bring it to life with a bright, colourful piece or add drama with bold abstract shapes.

Maybe you already have a big piece of artwork that speaks your language but doesn't fit in the room. Bring in accent colours and accessories, or don't be afraid to change the room's colour palette to match the artwork.

If all else fails, remember: you can't go wrong with something neutral!

5. Think about what style of artwork you like.

Probably the most important decision is choosing what type of art you want to hang in your living room. We always say when picking out artwork for any room, you should find pieces that reflect your personality. Don't follow trends; try to find artwork with heart and meaning.

Green Lili At Ease Minimal Abstract Art Above Sofa
At Ease Abstract Canvas ~ by @homebyfell

Think about the interior style and aesthetic of the room. If you like a pared-back Scandi or Japandi look, then chances are you will love minimal abstracts. If elevated bohemian is your style, play around with colour and pattern. Love a rustic living room? Abstract landscapes and nature's colour palettes are your friends.

If you're not too big on interiors and don't have an "interior style," that's cool - this is your space, remember! Think about things you enjoy; if you're an adventurous person who likes to travel and explore new things, select artwork that reminds you of being in that place. If you like nature and the outdoors, bring elements with botanical prints, floral wall art, or colourful abstract wall art in earthy tones.

Green Lili Reconnect Abstract Canvas above sofa Swiss Alps
Reconnect Abstract Canvas ~ by @thealixirproject

Where to hang art in your living room

When choosing where to hang wall art in the living room, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are different sizes and frames and so many ways to arrange them that it can be hard to know where to start. We've rounded up a few ideas below:

  • Over your sofa - It's the first thing people see when they walk in. One large canvas or set of two works well here, depending on the wall space. Pro tip: Keep the artwork to 2/3 of the sofa width.
  • Above your fireplace - Hanging artwork over a fireplace gives it a focal point and keeps it within view from everywhere in the room.
  • On a wall opposite a window - Hang your artwork opposite a window so you can enjoy both your art and the view at the same time.
  • Shelves - Shelves can be a great idea if you want to add smaller artwork, postcards or photos of your favourite holiday.
  • Sideboards - Leaning art on your floor or sideboard is particularly trendy at the moment, especially large minimal abstract prints.

Ok, so shelves and sideboards are technically not hanging but are both great options if you rent a property and don't want to start hammering nails or drilling holes in your walls!

Green Lili High Spirits Abstract Canvas on Sideboard
High Spirits Abstract Canvas ~ by @mishkashoe
Green Lili Silent Seas Abstract Canvas Art above Blue Sofa
Silent Seas Abstract Canvas ~ by @camillas_casa

Here are the takeaways:

  • It's your lounging space, so choose art that is interesting, relevant to you and reflects your personality.
  • Find pieces that complement the other colours and furniture in the room but don't stress too much - if you're feeling it, go for it!
  • Keep things simple, don't cram your walls with art, and choose more meaningful pieces.
  • Have fun and switch things up. Wall art is so easy to change and can completely transform the space. Try moving artwork around the house until you get it exactly how you like it.

We hope this has given you some new ideas on choosing wall art for your living room. Yeah, it can be daunting, but with these tips in mind, we are confident you'll be able to pick out the perfect pieces and create an inspiring space.

Further Reading

How to choose wall art for the kitchen