An elegantly designed living room deserves a stunning centerpiece. What better way to create visual impact than with a beautiful oil painting? The rich pigments and luminous colors of oils set them apart from other painting media. Oils project a refined, classy ambiance unmatched by prints or other forms of decor.
But with endless options for style, subject matter, and size, choosing the ideal oil painting can feel overwhelming. Follow our guide to identify the perfect piece for your living space.
Determine Which Style Suits Your Interior
When selecting a living room oil painting, consider how its style impacts the vibe you want to achieve. The first step is identifying your interior design style, then matching a complementary painting genre and subject.
For contemporary rooms, abstract paintings pack a punch. The non-representational forms and bold colors of abstract oils create excitement. Geometric abstracts enhance modern spaces with their sharp lines and shapes. Try hanging one asymmetrically over a sleek sofa.
In traditional living rooms, classic portrait and still life paintings promote timeless sophistication. Portraits conjure Old World charm. Florals, seascapes, and impressionist scenes also complement traditional decor through softer colors and forms.
Rustic farmhouse styles tend to feature Impressionist landscapes as their oils of choice. Try a Monet-inspired water lily pond or Renoir dancing figures to cultivate vintage appeal. For extra coziness, frame in reclaimed wood.
Once you’ve identified a style direction, ponder which specific subjects and scenes appeal most. Reflect on your interests and passions. For example, opt for seascapes if you feel connected to the ocean. Lean toward Works if flowers brighten your mood. Let the painting’s imagery contribute to the ambiance you crave.
Popular Oil Painting Styles and Subjects for Living Rooms
Here are some top genres and themes for living room oil paintings:
- Abstract – Color-blocked shapes and designs
- Impressionism – Soft landscapes and daily life scenes
- Traditional landscapes – Mountains, forests, beaches
- Florals – Vibrant bouquets, muted still lifes with flowers
- Seascapes – Waves, beaches, nautical themes
- Portraiture – Traditional people portraits
- Still life – Collections of objects like fruit, flowers, etc.
Evaluate Your Room’s Spatial Needs
To select the perfect painting, take time to evaluate your living room’s specific spatial needs. Consider the room’s size, wall space, lighting, and focal points. This helps determine optimal placement and scale.
First, assess your lighting. Are some walls darker or lighter? Light affects how paint colors appear. Cool, shadowy areas mute hues while warm, bright spots intensify them. Select palette colors that pop in your specific lighting.
Next, measure wall areas you want to hang paintings. Note dimensions and architectural details. Is the space broken up by windows or a fireplace? These architectural factors impact arrangement.
Finally, identify your room’s focal points. Spaces like above the mantel or behind the couch naturally draw the eye. Highlight them with impactful statement paintings. Balance with smaller companion pieces in lower-focus zones.
Living Room Spatial Tips
- Measure wall lengths and heights
- Consider lighting’s color effects
- Identify prime focal points
- Balance bold and subtle areas
Select the Appropriate Painting Size
With your spatial parameters set, it’s time to choose sizes. Oversized paintings overwhelm while undersized pieces look like afterthoughts. Proper scale creates balance.
A common rule is selecting art about 75% the size of your wall space. For example, a 6 foot wide wall suits a 4-5 foot wide painting. This leaves a comfortable border.
However, rules break. Narrow entryways sing with long panoramic paintings. Smaller spaces pack more punch with oversized abstracts. Follow general guidelines, but go bold once you understand the proportions.
When grouping multiple oils, uniformity brings cohesion. Hang pieces at the same height and similar sizes. Odd numbers grouped together provide visual interest and balance.
Tips for Choosing the Right Painting Size
- Leave 4-6 inches between painting edges and wall edges/corners
- Select smaller companion pieces for narrow spaces
- Use one dominant large painting in simple boxy rooms
- Group same-size paintings at the same height for a polished look
Strategically Arrange Your Pieces
Placement and arrangement establish focal points and direct sightlines. These techniques allow your oil paintings to maximize impact.
Hanging above a fireplace or mantel draws attention upwards, perfect for a striking statement piece. Anchor a major sofa or sectional with a bold artwork for a dynamic look.
Repetition creates flow. Line up companion pieces along a lengthy wall at uniform heights. The grouped paintings will read as one large artwork.
Asymmetry heightens drama and energy. Counterbalance a heavy painting on one side with multiple smaller pieces across the room. The weight distribution plays with negative space.
Tips for Hanging Oils in Your Living Room
- Place bolder oils in prime focal areas
- Repeat same-size pieces at matching heights
- Counter asymmetry by balancing visual weight
- Leave sizable negative space between groupings
Coordinate Colors and Subject Matter
Living room paintings sing when their colors coordinate. If your walls feature navy blue accents, bring in analogous cool blues and greens. Your existing palette determines the hues.
Reds and orange oils energize. Serene blues and greens relax. Select dominant colors that enhance the ambiance you want. Neutrals like black and white work everywhere to define spaces.
How do colors impact mood? Warm tones feel stimulating and bright. Cooler shades recede visually, feeling calmer and reserved. Monochromatic tonal schemes promote tranquility.
When selecting imagery, consider your family’s interests. Kids’ rooms may feature playful subjects that engage young minds. Living rooms meant for book groups could highlight literary figures. Let the art reflect your lifestyle.
Tips for Coordinating Painting Colors and Subjects
- Choose colors that complement existing hues in your space
- Use warm tones to stimulate, cool tones to relax
- Select imagery meaningful to you and your family
- Match subject style to your interior design genre
Caring for Your Investment
Once you’ve curated your ideal oil painting collection, safeguard your investment with proper care. Follow these tips and your living room oils will stay vibrant for generations.
Protect paintings from direct sunlight which causes fading. Position them on walls opposite windows when possible. For existing exposure, install sheer curtains to filter excessive light.
Maintain consistent temperature and humidity. Avoid positioning oils near heating and cooling vents where conditions fluctuate. Ideal conditions are 60-75degF and 35-55% relative humidity.
Dust gently using a soft microfiber cloth to prevent paint buildup. Never rub too roughly or you may damage the surface.
Have your oil paintings professionally cleaned every 3-5 years. This removes yellowed varnish and grime. Only hire a conservator trained in safely cleaning oils.
Tips for Protecting Your Oil Painting Investment
- Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading
- Maintain even, moderate temperature and humidity
- Dust gently with a soft cloth
- Get professional cleanings every few years
Choosing ideal living room oil paintings involves thoughtfully assessing your space, style, and artistic preferences. Set a vision, then seek out specialty galleries, local artists, and trusted online painting retailers to find pieces with soul.
While venturing beyond the decorative mainstream requires effort, the payoffs are tremendous. Surrounding yourself with original oils hand-painted by talented artists creates a sophisticated look full of depth and vitality. Let unique artwork transform your living room into a personal oasis.