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What size print should I choose?

January 15, 2019

Let's get this right

Getting your print size right is almost as important as the design itself. Too small and the print will look overwhelmed. Too large and the print will look too imposing and out of place. As a general rule, people will tend to underestimate the size of the print they need for their wall, and will usually wish they went one size up. 

Where possible, try to avoid purchasing a particular size based on price. You’re investing in premium quality artwork that will take centre-stage when guests are over. Retropilot isn't disposable Kmart art - your print will be on display for many years to come, so pick your print size based on what will look fantastic rather than what will save you a few dollars. 

If, at the end of this, you're still unsure which size to go for - just send us an email and we will do up a silhouetted mockup for you free of charge. 

120 x 80cm in Natural Timber Frame

 

We offer the following sizes in Canvas and Acrylic (height x width):

  • 45 x 30cm
  • 75 x 50cm
  • 90 x 60cm
  • 120 x 80cm
  • 135 x 90cm
  • 180 x 120cm

Generally speaking, our smaller sizes (45 x 30cm and 75 x 50cm) are best suited when you're not planning on making your print the focus of the space. Smaller sizes suit a cramped office wall and will slot in amongst other framed pictures. They are also suitable if you're going to display them on a desk or buffet piece, or for very narrow walls - but we don't recommend purchasing these sizes as feature artwork. 

If you’re purchasing as a feature piece or to decorate a wall, use the below rules of thumb to determine the most appropriate size. Note that these are just guides and won't suit every situation or your individual taste - we recommend drawing some rough (to scale) plans to do a big picture check prior to making a decision. 

Artwork for a completely empty wall

If you are purchasing artwork to fill a blank wall (e.g. no couch below - just a plain wall), the size of the print should be based on the width of the wall. The empty space either side of the artwork should be roughly 3/8 the width of the print. To calculate your ideal print width, simply measure the width of the blank wall - and then multiply this number by 0.57. 

e.g. If I have a 2m wide wall, my ideal print width is 200cm x 0.57 = 114cm wide. In this case, I would select the closest size, which would be a 180cm (tall) x 120cm (wide) print.

Say you have a very wide wall (4m) - your ideal print width would theoretically be 400cm x 0.57 = 228cm. This is obviously very wide, and we don't have any prints that are this size. Furthermore, because our prints are all portrait orientation, the top of the print would probably be through the ceiling and into the roof - which we don't recommend. 

Instead, in this instance, we would recommend purchasing multiple prints to fill that ideal width. In this case, we would suggest:

  • splitting 228cm into two parts (i.e. 228/2 = 2 x 114cm wide prints, which is closest to our 180cm (tall) x 120cm (wide) print),
  • or into three parts (i.e. 228/3 = 3 x 76cm wide prints, which is close to our 120cm (tall) x 80cm (wide) print). 

 

 

Hang the print so that the gap from the base of the print to the floor is 1.5 x the distance from the top of the print to the ceiling.

To work this out:

e.g. Say I am hanging a 180cm (tall) x 120cm (wide) print on a wall that is 200cm wide x 260cm tall.

= (260cm - 180cm) / 2.5

= 80 / 2.5

= 32cm from the top of the print to the ceiling.

Our prints can become quite heavy (particularly once framed), so you'll need to hang them securely to protect your investment. Ideally, you should hang your print on screws protruding from the wall. Remember to consider the sag in the backing wire when working out where to drill your hanging screws (allow for about 7cm of sag). Unless you have a small print, we recommend using two screws to support your print (one on each half of the print). 

If you're renting and can't drill into the wall, we recommend using removable 3M Command Hooks. Be sure to check that the weight of the print can be supported by the hook you purchase.

Never put a screw or nail straight into the drywall with nothing behind it. If you get lucky, there will be a timber stud behind where the screw needs to go and you can drill straight in. More likely though, you will need to install a drywall anchor. If you're new to DIY or aren't sure what a drywall anchor is - watch this YouTube tutorial on how to install them. It's really important that an anchor is used to hang your print, otherwise, it could easily fall down and cause damage to your print and your wall. Anchors are very easy to install - you can pick up a packet of them from Bunnings

Artwork to go above furniture

If you are hanging artwork to go above furniture, use the below guides to determine the most appropriate size.

Measure from the top of the furniture to the top of the ceiling, and deduct 60cm. This new number is the ideal height of the feature print.

E.g. If I have 180cm from the top of my couch to the ceiling, 180 - 60 = 120cm ideal print height. 

The closest print size to this is 120cm (tall) x 80cm (wide), so this would be my selected print size.

Hang the prints so that the distance from the top of the furniture to the bottom of the print, and from the top of the print to the ceiling, is equidistant (i.e. centered in the empty space).

See the above section for tips on hanging you prints with drywall anchors. 

 

When hanging prints above furniture you will typically end up with smaller print sizes, so you might be interested in hanging multiple prints above the furniture to fill more of the space.