Wall Art Ideas for the Living Room

We’ve all walked into a room and just had to pause for a moment to take it in. Perhaps it was an artistically decorated hotel lobby or a friend’s home that was decorated so well that you immediately started taking notes on wall art ideas for your living room. It’s these wow moments that we all want to replicate in our own homes. Usually, the elements that create this reaction are wall decor, which works in synchrony with the furniture and other embellishments of the space. We often put a lot of effort into the interior decorating of a home but tend to focus on furniture and fixtures. Many of us just leave the art until the last minute, hoping that one decent piece will bring it all together in the end. While this tactic may work for some projects, it can be worthwhile to spend some time thinking about how art will play into a room beforehand.

Creating harmony between the elements in a room can seem daunting, especially with the added pressure of creating a wow factor. Understandably, selecting between different wall art ideas for your living room can be dizzying. After all, simply walking into the different rooms of a home can speak volumes about the person who put them together. Their passions, struggles, stories, and personality are all on display through the media that decorate their living spaces. 

Why is Art So Appealing?

People have been using art as a medium of self-expression for centuries. The images that we decide to use as art are rarely arbitrary. What makes a person connect with a particular freeze-frame of the world so much that they love it enough to display it in their personal space? If you ask someone why they chose a particular piece, you’ll probably get an over-explained rationale. Sometimes the answer is related to investing in art or something along the lines of the artistic sophistication of a piece. People often dress up the simple reason that they acquired their art because it is pleasant to look at. Certain aspects of art are naturally appealing to people regardless of background.

There is some evolutionary explanation as to why we are attracted to certain factors, like symmetry or color, and not others. Many living organisms have symmetrical body structures, which may be why we have an evolutionary excitement towards symmetry. Animals and plants tend to value balance and thus have symmetrical body plans. Therefore, symmetry can often be associated with potential food, mates and threats. Meanwhile, bright vibrant colors demand our attention for similar reasons. These are usually associated with potential food sources, like with fruits and flowers, or warning signs, like in deadly poison dart frogs. Lastly, our brains tend to be drawn to particular shapes, especially exaggerated shapes. This may be why abstract art can be so confusing to explain theoretically but visually it can be quite pleasing. We’ve been primed to be drawn to bold clean shapes, even if we don’t always understand why. 

Overall, it is not always a coincidence that art has a rather convincing pull on its viewers. Images often have the power to command the attention of those around them. Even those who may not realize it, have the underlying biology that silently drives their behaviors. However, rather than fight this, you can embrace the attraction to art that you’re drawn to, because chances are others will be too.

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Where We Display Our Art

What we display has little impact if there is no regard for where we display it. Even a Picasso or a Dali would be tragically useless if they were packed away and never met the eyes of viewers. After all, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it even make a noise? Similarly, where you display art in your home has great significance. We want the artwork that we invest ourselves and our money into to be able to have the widest reach possible. For this reason, areas that experience more of your life are excellent backdrops for your art. 

The Living Room

Naturally, the first room that comes to mind, does so for good reason. The living room is where many of us spend our time in the home. Everyone has memories of lounging in the living room watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid or unwinding on the couch after work as an adult. Understandably so,  this room is usually the centerpiece of any home and often the most intimidating to decorate. After all, it is the room in your home with the most visitors.

The living room is also the room that usually displays the passions and personalities of the people of the house. Since the living room is such a melting pot and a central location it’s usually adorned with things that the people in the house love. These can be pictures of family, wildlife photography, paintings, and other embellishments. We often want to share our passions with those who we invite into our homes, and living room decor is a great way to do this.

How to Decorate the Living Room

While it can be tempting to play it safe with this room, it is important to go for whatever excites you the most. Wasting this great space on art that doesn’t connect with you is a lost opportunity for a great conversation starter and set the feel of the rest house. Instead, take the time to seriously mull over potential wall art ideas for your living room.

The daunting challenge of selecting living room decor is that the room tends to be rather large, especially compared to other rooms in the house. The bigger empty walls can be more difficult to fill, especially with the added expectation of that art there being the centerpiece of the house. However, there are a few ways to break this down so that you can select the wall decor that works best for your home.

Single Statement Pieces

For those of us that prefer bold statements, an oversized piece can be a simple embellishment for any living room that is sure to garner attention. The most obvious advantage of going for one large piece of waller decor over multiple smaller ones is that you only need to coordinate it with the furniture. There is no other artwork that it could be fighting with or overpowering. You can invest your time and money in one piece that may have more of a wow factor due to its sheer size alone. Additionally, investing in a singular statement piece for the living room can give you a starting point to build the rest of the room around. It should be noted that negative space isn’t always a bad thing, and if used effectively can really help your art-pop.

If you’d like more flexibility or simply can’t choose just one piece of wall decor, you might consider putting together a gallery wall. After all, large wall art can get to be quite expensive and difficult to transport and hang up. You can opt for smaller artwork that can be arranged as a collage or gallery wall. It can be fun to stick to a theme and incorporate that into the living room decor. You can play with certain colors, components of nature, or styles. For example, wildlife photography can be paired with natural landscapes or you could build a gallery of portraits. You can really experiment here. 

An easy rule of thumb is to hang up two or three pieces that complement each other and flow together. Separate them by 2 inches or more to create a break between them. Feel free to space them out even further if you have a larger space to fill, but keep the spacing uniform. Additionally, be sure that the collection is in the center of the wall.

Hanging Art

An easy way to ensure that your art catches the eyes of anyone who enters the room is to simply keep the art at eye level. This makes it so that the viewer doesn’t have to look around much to take in the art. Given the height of the average adult, you should hang the art roughly 60 inches off the floor, but can be adjusted based on how big the piece is. Additionally, if the art is going above furniture, it is best to leave 6 to 9 inches of paces between them.

What Kind of Images

Living rooms are often areas of life, energy, and personality so artwork that mirrors and radiates these helps to establish such qualities. Images portraying action, movement, or bold shapes are great ways to achieve this. Contrasting themes, like hanging contemporary wall art in a traditional living room, can be a great way to create interest in the space as well. 

In Conclusion

The living room is a room of such interest for good reason, and as a result, deserves some attention. Investing some time into deciding what you want to show off in your living will make it much easier to coordinate all the decor. Most importantly, it’s important not to take it too seriously. The goal at the end of the day is to create a space that you enjoy and the only opinion that matters, in the end, is yours. 

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