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What to Put on Either Side of Large Painting?

what to put on either side of large painting

Finding a large, show-stopping painting that is perfect for your home or office is an incredible feeling. The payoff can feel extra rewarding because the process of finding the right piece can take years. 

Unfortunately, finding the painting is the easy part. Now you have to decorate around it. 

Figuring out what to put on either side of a large painting is tricky. You want the space to feel full and cohesive without taking focus away from the central painting. 

In this guide, we’ll talk about what to put on either side of a large painting and how to properly decorate a room around it. 

What to Put On Either Side of a Large Painting

On either side of a large painting, you should put smaller art pieces, framed photos, mounted sculptures, or sconces. You can also situate a large painting evenly between two windows so that they frame the piece. 

There are as many decorating choices as there are people who decorate their homes. What you put on either side of a large painting can vary greatly depending on your aesthetic preferences. 

Here are a few of our favorite ideas and wall decorating tips to keep in mind. 

Hang Your Painting on the Largest Wall 

Start by hanging your painting in an open area of the largest wall. Make sure it has at least 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.61 meters) of free space in every direction. This leaves you lots of room to play with different decor options. 

Keep in mind that exceptionally heavy pieces will need to be hung where your wall’s support studs are located. Make sure you take this into consideration when brainstorming potential layouts for the wall where you want to show off your painting. 

Create a Gallery Wall  

One of the most popular ideas for decorating around a painting is to create a gallery wall by filling the space on either side with smaller pieces of art. Let’s talk about how to decorate a wall around a large central painting. 

Look for pieces that have similar colors or themes to those of your large painting. Try to pick ones that fill up the blank space nicely without becoming the focal point. 

Once you’ve picked out a few pieces that compliment your painting, place them around the sides and bottom at regular intervals. Leave 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 6.7 centimeters) between each piece. This keeps your gallery wall from looking too crowded or busy. 

If you plan on incorporating larger pieces, place them toward the lower part of the wall. This prevents them from taking attention away from the main painting. 

Make sure to keep in mind the fact that most people read from left to right, and will therefore look at your gallery wall from left to right. Coordinate your layout accordingly and if you have an odd number of smaller pieces, hang the extra one on the right side. 

Get Creative With Your Gallery Pieces

Not every piece you add to your gallery wall has to be a painting. This is your chance to get creative and incorporate decorative elements that speak to your unique personality and preferences. 

Think about incorporating framed photos into your gallery. This is a great way to personalize the display and really make it yours. 

Try to coordinate the frames with your large painting. If it’s a modern piece or abstract art, go for modern, minimalist frames. If it’s a softer, more eclectic piece, think about using several different vintage photo frames. 

Another great idea to spice up your gallery wall is mounting small shelves to hold statues or knick-knacks. This gives the entire display a three-dimensional pop of interest. 

If you’re big on crafting, consider hanging up some of your favorite handmade pieces. Displaying your own art is another great way to add warmth and personality. 

For an elegant touch, consider installing wall-mounted sconces on either side of your painting. These light fixtures will draw attention to the piece and provide additional warmth to the room. 

When incorporating lots of different pieces into your gallery, try to tie them all together with a color or theme. The pieces you select should coordinate with the other furniture in the space as well. 

Decorating Around a Large Painting

Now that you know what to put on either side of your art piece, let’s talk about how to decorate around a painting.

The first step to decorating an entire room around a big piece is to make it the focal point of the space. Try to hang the painting in the center of the longest wall. Make sure it’s hung at eye level so that it will draw the viewer’s gaze. 

Next, establish the layout of the furniture in the room based on the painting’s position. In a living room, large paintings look excellent above the right couch or sofa but will get lost if they’re placed behind the TV. Arrange your furniture in a way that compliments the painting and draws attention to it. 

Then, try to pull colors in the painting out into the rest of the room. Pick out accessories like pillows, curtains, rugs, and lampshades that have color schemes corresponding to the ones in your painting. This makes the room feel like a natural extension of the painting and vice versa. 

Incorporate the mood and tone of your painting into the room as well. If you have an abstract or modern piece, choose sleek, modern furniture. If you have a pastoral landscape, choose warm and homey pieces.  

Enjoying Your Painting to the Fullest

The perfect painting is hard to find. So when you do find one, it’s important to think in detail about how to decorate around it. That way, you can enjoy your painting to the fullest. 

Now that you know what to put on either side of a large painting, you can start planning the room of your dreams. For more design inspiration, check out our article on color coordination

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