What Size Photographs Should I Hang on My Wall?

This marks the first in a new series: Decorating With Photography. This monthly-ish series will give you practical tips on how to display family photographs in your home, starting with the most common question for most people “what size photographs should I hang on my wall?”

I want you to love the photos on your wall, not put them up and wonder why they just don’t look quite as good as you’d hoped.

The biggest cause for disappointment when people hang photographs on their wall? They hang photographs that are too small.

It’s not your fault. We’ve been conditioned to think that 4”x6” is ‘normal’, 5”x7” is ‘special’ – like for Santa pictures or the dreaded school photos – and 8”x10” is ‘big’.

But that just doesn’t apply when it comes to hanging photographs on your wall.

Here’s what a ‘big’ 8”x10” photograph matted and framed to 11”x14” looks like on your wall.

I think we can all agree that’s not the best look.

Obviously you need to go bigger. But your nervous. How about just one size up? An 11”x14” photograph matted and framed to 16”x20”. Sounds huge, right?

Still just not quite right.

So if ‘big’ didn’t look right and ‘bigger’ still doesn’t look right… what size photographs should I hang on my wall?

The general rule of thumb is: the artwork you put on the wall over your sofa – whether a photograph or painting – should be around 2/3rd’s the width of your sofa.

And the same thing goes whether you’re filling the space above a fireplace (go 2/3rd’s the width of the mantle) or sideboard (go 2/3rd’s the width of the sideboard).

You don’t need to just use one photograph to fill that space – though that looks amazing. If you’re doing a gallery of multiple photographs, the distance from the left side of the left-most frame to the right side of the right-most frame should be 2/3’s of the width of your sofa.

So here you go, mama. You can either fill the wall with one large photo….

Or you can fill the wall with a gallery that equally fills the space.

Filling your wall space with appropriately sized prints and frames elevates your family photographs to true works of art.  Now that you’ve sorted out what size frames you’ll hang on your wall, it’s time to figure out just what to fill those frames with.

Next up in the Decorating with Photography series I’ll help you with what type of family photographs you should hang on your wall. Spoiler alert… it’s probably not the one of you all smiling prettily at the camera.








  1. I love decorating with photos but often have a hard time translating the vision in my mind to my the walls in my home! Thanks for these tips.

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