What Size Art is Right for My Wall?

What Size Art is Right for My Wall?

What you put on your walls, (or the lack thereof,) says a lot about you and your home. Whether it is a one-of-a-kind original painting, a framed print, or some other piece of wall décor, the size you chose for the space you have can make or break a space. Art can make a room feel larger, grander, smaller, cozier, or in some cases, just plain awkward. Art is a focal point, it’s a key part of décor that changes the mood and energy of a space, it sparks conversation and either finishes and polishes a room, or makes it fall flat.

The biggest problem I find with most art installations is not the quality of the art but rather the size being wrong for the space. If you are DIYing your space, you may find yourself asking “What size is right for my wall?”

Here are 4 things to consider when choosing what size art to put on your walls:

1. The Room –
 If you are investing in art, you certainly don’t want to buy it, and hang it, only to discover your room still feels barren. Measure your walls and measure out different size pieces to fill your space. I suggest taping up craft paper in the dimensions of the measured space just to get a sense for how much space the art is going to take up. Measuring is different than seeing and feeling the occupation of space. Take into account the kind, size, and quantity of furniture in the room. Do you have shelves that will clash with the hanging height of the piece to make it look awkward? If the if the room is sparse, then a large piece of artwork will fill up the visual field the same way furniture might.  Think about your ceilings, are they high? vaulted ceilings? If you have large walls then you have to either go with big art, or something like a gallery wall to fill that visual space. Do you have a low clearance and want your ceilings to seem taller? Just keep in mind that bigger is usually better. I’ve never heard the complaint, “it’s just too big,” but I have heard, “I think the painting is just too small. This is especially true if buying modern, contemporary art, bigger is definitely better to maximize the statement.

2. Orientation of the Art –
When considering the wall, you will probably measure it several times, maybe even map it out with craft paper to see how much space it will take up, then what?  You need to think about two things here, there is the overall dimensions of the wall, but then you also need to think about the orientation and optical illusions you’d like to employ with the painting. For example, if your ceilings are low and you have a narrow space above your couch, you may be tempted to put a horizontal piece in that space. Consider putting in a vertically oriented piece or a square to draw the eye up and make your ceilings look taller. In looking at the overall wall space, your artwork should take up two-thirds to three-fourths of the wall. The same is true of gallery walls, they should take up the same or even more wall space than one large statement piece should.

3. Hanging over Furniture – Many clients who ask for my help in size recommendations for art for their home send me photos of the wall where they intend to hang the piece.  I really appreciate it when I get photos from clients because it really helps be visualize the space and can better assist and advise. The size in relationships between art and furniture is important. For example, a 30” painting looks lost and floating over an 8-foot couch.  Here is a good rule of thumb when hanging art over furniture like a couch, table, fireplace, bed, etc.…  The art should be at least three-fourths the width of the furniture, if not full width.  There should be an equal distance from the ceiling to top of the painting, as there is on the bottom of the painting to the furniture below.  Of course it doesn’t need to be exact, and most of the time I’m a huge fan of off center, asymmetrical hanging or foregoing hanging all together to letting a big painting just rest of the floor. It brings wonderful visual interest and a flowing peaceful energy to a space.

4. Price – Usually I find that people choose smaller art it is because of their budget. When a piece is purchased or commissioned solely based on price sometimes it just falls flat in the space because it’s too small. My encouragement is to think about buying art in the same way you would buying a couch or dining room table. It’s a statement. In the same way that you’re willing to invest money on a big couch or table, it is no different with big, custom, handmade original art. In fact, original art is often more valuable than a couch or table, because it’s handmade and one of a kind, unlike a mass-produced couch you’re going to throw out in ten years. If you’re doing your art buying strategically, art goes up in value over time, unlike a couch or table which decrease in value over time. Invest in your art and walls the same way you’d invest in furniture. The art is going to last longer and be more valuable in the future.  And if a specific piece is out of your budget ask about a payment plan or save up for the right size piece for your space. Never sacrifice size for price.

I hope you enjoyed this sizing guideline. As always if you ever have any questions regarding sizing for you space, don’t hesitate to ask. If you like this post or learned something new, please share it with your friends, family and followers.

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Just Be Quiet

Just Be Quiet

Since the new year I have felt like January has been one giant to-do list with never ending administrative work. February still feels this way.

I’m in the process of brainstorming, swatching, and figuring out the narrative for my next series. Sometimes collections come easier, sometimes the conception takes longer. I don’t consider this creative block because I’m still creating, I’m still working, but the concept creation is taking longer right now.

I’m coming off of 2018 a year that was packed with two very strong and developed concept collections. The first being The Divide, a series that delved in the deaths of four family members and two close friends all within a year and a half. The second was a series in collaboration with Marta Staudinger called Coalesce, which focused on the merging of each of our skills, techniques, and a shared color palette to create a cohesive yet entirely separate body of work.

That’s a lot of development in a short period of time. I believe my Divide collection is not finished. There are other deaths that have happened recently in my life that I need to unpack, there are other techniques I’d like to enroll into these series.

I have a million ideas and voices in my head telling me what to create next, but I need to cut through the noise, settle, and pick deliberately what is next.

And that’s the plan. Settle, tackle some of my big to-do’s that have been hanging over my head, clean the administrative space, lay groundwork, free up mental space, and once I’ve tackled some of those basic tasks, I know the air will clear and the next series will emerge as it should.

I think that is one reason people experience creative block because there are too many options and too much head clutter. I’m not blocked, I have too much on my to-do list and tons of ideas, it’s just a matter of tackling them one by one and sifting and allowing the best ideas to emerge.

In my quest to clear the mental clutter, I am looking for a virtual assistant to help with some of the administrative work that has been slowing me down. If you know of a great administrative assistant send them my way and email me at info@christineolmstead.com


Does It Spark Joy: Originals vs. Prints

Does It Spark Joy: Originals vs. Prints

Raise your hand if you’ve seen Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, “Tidying Up”? Okay, me too. I’ve been going through the process of cleaning out the things that don’t spark joy. I wouldn’t call myself a collector. I’m pretty good at always getting rid of clothing before I bring in new pieces of clothing. However, as I’ve become a homeowner, I’ve noticed my collection of original art growing.

I’ve recently been looking at the art on my walls with a more critical eye. I have pieces of ancient Chinese rice paper paintings given to me by my grandmother, that if I were to reframe them, the paper would disintegrate (they probably need to be professionally restored). I have original pieces from fellow artists that I want to support and loved the story behind the work. I have prints that I bought in college to just fill a space when I couldn’t afford original pieces. There are a couple of prints I’ve decided to pass along in the pursuit of only having original art in my home. It is a personal goal of mine to only have original works in my home. Why do I only want originals? A few reasons.

  1. No matter how good the quality of the print, an original feels different. When bringing an original into a space, the energy is different, you can tell there is history, there is something more than merely décor. There is a detail to an original painting that simply isn’t there in a reproduction print. It’s the stray brush hair, it’s the little imperfections that make an original more beautiful and more of a story than a print could ever be.
  2. Originals are always more valuable than prints. Buying pieces from artists that are aware of their brand voice and value in the market means I can choose artists that I believe will only go up in value.
  3. Buying original art from artists, means giving more profit to the artists. When you buy a print from an artist, or third party, the artist is only getting a small percentage of that sale price, it’s usually 10% or less. So if you’re buying a $23.00 print from Wayfair, the artist is only making $2.30 or less. 10% is considered a high percentage in the licensing world. When you buy and original from the artist they receive 100% of the profits after taxes and material expenses. The margins are much greater and more meaningful to artists when collectors buy originals.
  4.  Living with an original changes the way I think about myself. When I look at the Chinese rice paper paintings that are hundreds of years old, I wonder about their creators. I want to honor their art by creating beautiful pieces that will well outlive me. I want to pay homage to their practice and techniques in my own work.

And that is what is most important about originals instead of prints. Originals have a real connection to a human being. Living or dead, someone lived and labored over something I have hanging on my wall. Despite the artist’s intention, the artist made the piece for a reason. Each painting is a part of an artist’s story. Each original painting is a fragment of time from an artist’s life, hanging on my wall. A print is made for profit, to provide the artist margins, and an income beyond the immediacy of what they can produce. An original is made from love, labor, high quality materials, and with a purpose beyond profit.

So thanks Marie, for inspiring to make hard choices when it comes to my art collection. I’m choosing originals that spark joy while tidying up and cleaning out my art collection.

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Selling at Anthropologie

Selling at Anthropologie

Well another bucket list item crossed off, I finally have a product at Anthropology. Okay, okay, it’s probably not as cool as what you are thinking. No, I don’t have prints sold at Anthropologie, (not just yet anyway, but if you know any brand contacts, do let me know!)

I made it to the shelves of Anthropology on the shoulders of my friends at Schmutz Watches. So let’s backtrack and tell the story from the beginning.


Several years ago now, the owner and craftsman of Schmutz Watches, Lee, contacted me to do some art for his watch faces. His whole premise is really cool. He collaborates with artists from around the world to create custom, and unique watch faces. He himself creates the inner workings of the watches and places the faces onto the bodies. He has some truly spectacular pieces and I’m honored to be in his collection.

Lee has partnered with Anthropology now to sell his watches. Congratulations Lee, I know what a long process it has been for you, and thanks for taking me along on the ride!

And while I’m still hoping to land some prints or other goods in Anthropology all based on my own merit and negotiating ability, it sure is nice to know a very small, piece of me and my work has made it to their stores. How thankful I am for the opportunity.

See the watches here and don’t forget to check out Schmutz Watches and the beautiful craftsmanship behind each piece. If you like what Lee is doing at Schmutz Watches, or liked what you saw in this post, please share it with your friends. Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead


Art Basel

Art Basel

Pink Room created by Sadie Barnette, shown at Untitled Art Fair

If you were following along with my Instagram from this past weekend you knew I was in sunny Miami, hitting up as many art shows as possible while still soaking in some sweet sunshine. If you are unfamiliar with Art Basel, essentially it is a huge art fair that happens every year in Miami. Art Miami has spawn from Art Basel and now several huge art fairs gather in Miami for art week. All of the art at these shows is for the most part modern and contemporary, with almost endless subgenres.

I was able to attend several fairs including Pulse, Untitled, Scope, Superfine, and Basel, with Basel being by far the largest representation. With over 60,000 square feet of space housing galleries and artists from around the world. Art Basel was shoulder to shoulder packed and so much fun.

All of the fairs had very distinctive vibes, and seemed to attract very distinctive collectors, galleries, and artists. Here’s a brief synopsis of each of the fairs by my estimation.

Pulse seemed pretty laid back and made with the millennial in mind.  I really enjoyed a lot of the art at Pulse. Lots of abstract, the vibes I got was a sense of calm, with a lot of really great abstract art selections.

Untitled was interesting, there were a lot of installations and sculptural pieces, but still had a lot of abstract and contemporary work. The people in the galleries were a bit more engaging would start a conversation with passersby. This was the only place I saw this happening. Untitled had some really interesting and engaging booths.

Basel was packed, which makes sense because it was the main course of art week. Arguably these are the upper crust of galleries showing during art week. All of the offerings were very polished and with a glass of champagne in hand I muscled through, shoulder to shoulder with the hordes of collectors and visitors.  Being the fangirl that I am, I had the pleasure of seeing up close and personal the works of some of my favorite artists.

Scope felt like where all the cool kids with hang out and smoke week. In fact, as I was walking in, there was an excessively tatted and pierced girl vaping. I was painfully aware of how uncool I am when browsing scope. Scope was like a club. Neon paint, neon lights, lots of chrome, lots of 3d art, it was mostly pop and political art. Which of course has its place, I’m just not a huge fan in general. It was very loud inside, people were wearing lots of costumes, there were a lot of statements being made both artistically and fashionably.

I thought it was a joke when I went in. It was the smallest most claustrophobic space, and way too dark. It’s really a shame that the location overshadowed the art here. Hopefully they can get a better space next year.

Overall I really enjoyed my first Miami Art Week. Saw some of my art idols paintings in the flesh, met some cool people, soaked up some sunshine and left feeling full. Have you ever been to Miami Art Week? What shows should I hit up next year?

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