Integrating Large Artwork into Your Living Space September 21 2015

Designing your décor to include large artwork will make an impact that affects everything in a room including how people interact and feel in the space.

To help with integrating large artwork into a living space, Wall Fiction asked artist Lori Dell whose show Gates and Portals is currently showing on, and interior designer Janine Anderton of Urban Oasis Interiors for advice.

“You can approach integrating large artwork into a living space in a few different ways but I think the important point to make before we get into it is not to be afraid of large artwork. Many people are, but experienced artists, interior designers and art collectors are not. For their living spaces, they seek out large pieces,” says Janine.

From the artist’s perspective, Lori says that there is a difference between creating large artworks and smaller ones:

“Larger works involve an engaged physical and energetic component. It’s similar to a dance of mind/body/spirit. Whereas in smaller work, a specific and intimate focus comes into play. Large artworks add dynamic vitality to a space.”

Here are three ways to add large artwork to a room.

  1. Draw attention and make the artwork a focal point.

If you’re just starting to decorate and collect art, plan your room around a single large artwork. First, find a large artwork. Second, source décor items that echo the colours, textures, shapes and lines of the artwork.

“Fine art is timeless,” states Janine, ”so shop for art carefully and don’t be afraid to spend some money on it. You will be intuitively drawn to artwork and the lines and colours within. Take your time.”

When a large work is a focal point, “unexpected contrasts can heighten interest and attention. A singular prominent painting, in and of itself, can breath life into a room,” states Lori. Highlight colours found in the artwork and place them throughout the room to increase the power of the artwork.

For Lori’s large painting Petra as a focal point, Janine suggests:

  • Mid-century modern or 1960’s furniture – think Mad Men
  • Reclaimed wood and teak
  • Clean sleek lines and shiny surfaces to balance with the complex lines of the art
  • White low pile or shag carpets
  • Accents with blacks, greys, ivory and bronzes
  • Finishes with non-flowering plants
Lori Dell, Petra, 2009, 60 X 60 inches


Here are four rooms recently featured in Architectural Digest that would easily host Petra (shown above):

  1. Generate emotion in your living space.

Use large artwork to create a feeling of comfort, inspiration or intrigue. Add more than one piece from the same artist’s series and surround yourself with the affection and sentiment the works provide. Artwork from the same series will share colour, line, tone and subject, and hanging together can fill a room with emotion. Lori reminds us:

“All colour has a distinct energy. White can set a serene, pure tone; hot colour, vitality; organized shades, an earthy comfort.”

Related to Gates and Portals, two key colours in Lori’s work are blue and brown. Blue is known to slow metabolism and have a calming effect. Blue is also associated with cleanliness – think water, sky, air – and intellect. This is seen in Lori’s large painting Babylonia (shown below).

Lori Dell, Babylonia, 2014, 60 X 40 inches


Brown reflects the earth and signifies stability and a sense of belonging. It’s a refined colour that relates to quality. It’s warmth mixed with other tones and colours such as white, ivory and grey can reduce stress and add a sense of security to a room. See Petra pictured above.

Lori’s paintings have these emotions. They are sophisticated, intellectual, comforting, calming – and large. Lori feels that her large artworks in this series “evoke a curiosity, an intrigue and a whispering connection to our common histories.” They tell stories and comfort us in our living spaces.

  1. Create balance between architectural features and furnishings.

A large piece of art can create the illusion of a perfectly proportioned room. It can lengthen a room or heighten ceilings. Janine provides this example:

“A large piece of art can act as a headboard in a bedroom, but if the ceiling is low, chances are it will draw attention to the low ceiling. Use large artwork where it won’t overpower the room. Use proportion to create balance.”

Have your décor follow the lines and shapes within the art to create your desired sense of longer, shorter, higher, lower, bigger or smaller proportions than what they actually are.

Highly stylized with architectural features, rooms with large art can be transformed into creative and reflective living spaces. Just like what Lori has achieved in these large artworks featured in Gates and Portals, you can achieve in your rooms. If your room is void of architectural features, use Lori’s work to add them. 

For new collectors, selecting a large artwork can be more affordable than you might think. Using smaller works to create an impact in your space could be more costly than purchasing one large quality piece. As well, small works normally need framing whereas large work may not.

“Fine art doesn’t go out of style, but frames can,” Janine cautions. “Large art can be hung unframed thus making the wall become the frame. So if framing large work, keep it simple not to detract from the impact of the art.”

Some may think that wallpaper is a decorating path to consider in creating an interesting space. But specialty wallpaper can cost a lot of money too and you can’t move it into another room or take it with you if you change homes or cities, or your furnishings. When you buy artwork you love, you will never get tired of it and it will always match your décor.

Purchasing one large quality artwork can take your décor and new art collection farther than buying multiple small works or adding wallpaper to your living space. Large artwork can add depth, emotion and impact. Think long-term and spend your money on something you can keep and cherish.

Whether your rooms are gathering places like the living room or kitchen, or sacred and mystical like the bedroom, let large artwork create unique living spaces for you to continuously enjoy.


  • Ask for help.
  • Have a budget and a plan.
  • Always buy what you like and can afford.
  • Don’t worry if it matches the couch – if you love it, it will match everything.
  • When hanging large artwork, aim to have the middle of the artwork at eye level
  • Large artwork can be hung lower in rooms where people are almost always sitting; let it be enjoyed when sitting on the sofa without straining your neck.
  • Don’t be afraid of large artwork.
  • Bigger can be better for new collectors.

Visit today to view Gates and Portals, work by Lori Dell.