What size canvas should I get?
Quick tips for choosing the right size for your wall art.
Deciding what to put on your walls after your photo session may seem like a daunting task. Many clients are stuck on deciding the best size for their wall art, or prints. And many are under the assumption that an 8×10 print is “big enough”. It may be big enough, for a mantel or a desktop frame, or as part of a larger collage or wall display, but on its own, it will look like a postage stamp on your wall. The tips below apply not only to canvas, but to any wall art, be it canvas, metal, acrylic or fine art prints.
Canvas Wall Art Size Guide
What size canvas or wall art you get, really depends on how you’re displaying your images. Are they going over a mantel? Behind a couch? In a long hallway? Over a sideboard or an entryway table? Based on the answers to the above, you will want to choose prints in the appropriate scale to their display “space.”
Take a look at the print size guide below. If you were choosing a portrait to display on this wall, an 8×10 would look silly. For this large empty space, and a single portrait, a 30×40 would fill the area beautifully.
However, if you were doing a set of three prints, you could do one central 24×36, flanked by a vertical 24×16 on either side. This is a very popular choice for clients who opt for multiples. The below image shows this exact configuration of a recent client order. It is a popular choice for newborn sessions!
What are standard canvas sizes?
A traditional rectangular 16×20 or 16×24 canvas size is considered a “small” size as far as wall art goes. This is a size that can be placed on any smaller or narrower width wall. The most popular standard canvas sizes are as follows.
These are popular square canvas sizes:
- 24×24, and so on.
Square canvasses look great in groupings of four, like the below example, or alternatively, in a row across.
Below is an example of two 24×24 square prints, flanking a larger 28×38 print, and several 8×10 prints on either side.
What canvas size do most people use?
The most popular canvas size for my clients are 20×30 prints. This is a standard size- which means that these fit just about ANYWHERE. If you are pairing multiples, you can do a 16×24 as well in a trio, or flanking a 24×36 print as a collection like in the above and below trio sets.
You can literally find a wall somewhere in your home that will fit this size either horizontally or vertically. This is also a great size to flank on either side with a smaller corresponding size. Or build upon with later print or wall art purchases to add to your collection.
For a single print on a normal wall, a 16×24 will just be too small. This size is best when paired with other pieces or in a trio
Can you help me choose the best print size for my walls?
As part of my service to my clients, I design and mock-up wall art for their reveals. Many of my clients choose to send me images of their walls with a simple measurement so I can mock up their artwork to scale for their own home. This helps you to visualize how to hang your artwork and the amount of spacing you’ll need between images.
Examples of 20×30 and 16×20 Canvas & Metal Wall Art
Going back to this image of the newborn session in the olive green color scheme above, I then applied the same images to the space the family had in their own living room. The only requirement was to have it fit between these two sconces, and it fit perfectly! The 16x20s and the 20×30 fit perfectly. With an overall total space of 66″ (with 2″ spacing between), it fit into this 77″ width area great!
Here is another client example of a trio with a central 20×30 canvas, and two 16×20 canvasses on either side. By comparison, you can see a small desktop canvas block in an 8×10 size.
Examples of 24×36 Canvas size
For singular wall art pieces, the most common choice is a 24×36 size to start. This is a great piece for over a bed, smaller piece of furniture, or smaller wall. This is a great option for putting over a chest of drawers or changing table for a nursery too.
35 x 40 Metal Wall Art Print Size
For this gorgeous family, I mocked up a few options on two walls. In the end they chose a 35×40 metal block print, with two metal prints in 16×20 on the side. This set of wall art will live in mom’s office space, and it is going to make her smile everyday! I also gave her some ideas on another wall for building with future photos to tell her family’s story!
The above was the client’s final wall art choice. They decided on a satin metal finish on a greige wood texture block for all pieces. Below are some other options we explored for their home!
What material should I get? Canvas? Metal? Acrylic?
This is entirely up to your own personal taste level and decor in your home. Is your style modern? Minimal? Classic? Farmhouse? These and other factors should influence your choice of material!
Can I mix different print types together?
You absolutely can display different print types together! This is a perfect example for this client who wanted to pair her 16×24 canvas with two Amalfi panel prints, one from her maternity session, and one from her newborn. It tells the perfect story of maternity through newborn with their baby! The buttery softness of the canvas pairs very well with the fine art matte finish of the prints. The wood grain and hand made paper mat of the Amalfi panel elevates the whole grouping by adding textural interest. You can view the different types of wall art here, for more detailed information!
Creating Wall Art Displays with Amalfi Panels
What is an Amalfi Panel?
An Amalfi panel is a super slim profile wall art piece that lends a truly distinctive feeling to your portrait. This piece gets its name from the centuries old technique used to make the deckled (torn edge finish) paper matts that the fine art print is set into. The panels the prints are mounted to can be customized in different finishes including wood grain look, linen, and cotton fabrics to coordinate to your interior finishes. These are the perfect pieces for placing in a nursery, or for a fine art maternity portrait in a bedroom or walk in closet/dressing area.
Related: Product Spotlight – Amalfi Panels
More Examples of Different Wall Art Layouts
Here are a few more examples of wall art mock-ups I have created for clients, to help them visualize sizing. Again, the final size choice depends on where you intend to display the pieces, the wall size available to you, and the setting.
The most important thing to remember about your prints
Whatever you choose, the purpose of your custom artwork is to bring joy to your face every day. Photography is an investment, and it is not one you should store in the bottom of a drawer collecting dust. My clients understand that these photographs of their families only grow in value over time. They take pride in seeing these images on their walls, and their children have a better view of themselves and self-esteem when seeing their own faces gracing their home.
I am here to help you with this process, I promise, I’ll make choosing the best print size easy and painless.
After all, I’m sure you don’t want this on your wall!
Ready to hang your pictures?
Check out this handy guide here to cover all of your picture-hanging needs:
The guide above provides all the information you’ll need to hang your photos properly with minimal wall damage!
Sofia Ribeiro Photography is an NJ Newborn Photographer, NJ Maternity Photographer, and NJ Family Photographer serving the North and Central NJ Areas, along with NYC and Staten Island.