Using Photoshop To Visualize Art Placement

On Tuesday, we talked about using variety when choosing artwork.

The type of art one chooses is important. Does the space call for a framed piece, a canvas painting, a mirror for reflection, a metal or sculptural piece for texture, etc? Scale (or size) is equally important. Can the piece be a smaller scale, because it is not the primary focus? Does the piece need to be larger so it’s not overwhelmed by a large wall? Or do we need to group multiple pieces for interest – or to properly fill a wall space?  Ask yourself these questions when choosing artwork.

When choosing artwork and helping my clients visualize pieces in their home, one trick I like to use is Photoshop. You can simply “cut out” an image of the artwork you are considering [which is considerably easier now that nearly every store has an online presence you can save .jpegs from!] – and place the artwork on top of a picture of your room.

Here is an example that I did for my client – showing three different options:

Art Focal

This helped us visualize what the different options would look like when installed in her room. You can even see that on the third option, I used her existing piece [that was conveniently resting on the chair for me to copy in Photoshop],  and used it on the wall with some additional gears to add interest.

To prove that you can do this on your own computer [even without the wonder of Photoshop], I edited a picture in good ol’ Paint:


Paint Example



Now that I have this image – I can’t help but use it as a lesson in scale.  Notice how the artwork above extends past the table on both the left and the right. The art piece is absolutely beautiful, but the scale is completely wrong for that wall. We want the furniture piece to ground the grouping – but with that artwork, the grouping is top heavy. The scale of the art is bigger than the scale of the table, so it creates a look that is off balance.

Round Table


Here is the art grouping we used in this living room project. Notice how the grouping of art (2 canvas prints + 2 candle sconces) is still nearly as wide as the one canvas painting above. However, each individual piece is smaller – which gives them less visual weight than 1 large piece. The wall feels complete and full, while still allowing the half-round table to ground the grouping.

Give Photoshop {or Paint} a try next time you are considering artwork. Eliminate the… buy three different options of art, take them home, realize they’re not even close to being big enough, take them all back, buy two more options, beg your husband to hold them up on the wall so you can tell which one you like, hang one, decide you made the wrong decision, hang the other one, realize the previous screw hole isn’t quite high enough, move the screw while your husband’s at work so he doesn’t know you just double-massacred the wall, return the other piece of art, and finish with a margarita because you got to celebrate that the “art march” is all over. And now, that bedroom art is going to have to wait at least two months to get chosen, because you and your husband are at wits end over the whole process of that first art piece.

Okay – so it might not be that bad… and a few of those things might still happen – but plan ahead and visualize the placement to help the process be as care free and fun as it should be!



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