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Should I hang a picture above my bed?

Quick Answers

Whether or not you should hang a picture above your bed depends on a few key factors:

– Size of the bedroom – Smaller bedrooms may look cluttered with a large piece of art above the bed. Larger bedrooms can likely accommodate a larger piece of art or gallery wall.

– Height of the ceiling – Lower ceilings call for smaller pieces of art, while higher ceilings can handle larger pieces.

– Personal style and decor – The artwork should fit in with your existing decor and reflect your personal taste.

– Feng shui principles – Hanging artwork that evokes positive emotions or serenity is recommended in feng shui above the bed. Avoid artwork with chaotic scenes or violence.

– Purpose – Some people like to hang artwork above the bed as the focal point or to finish decorating the space, while others feel it’s unnecessary.

– Lighting – Properly lighting artwork hung above the bed can help it stand out.

So in summary, hanging artwork above the bed can look great in many bedrooms as long as it fits the space, complements your style, follows feng shui guidelines, and is properly lit. But it’s also fine to leave the wall above your bed empty if you prefer minimalism or don’t feel it’s needed. Do what works best for your bedroom!

What to Consider Before Hanging a Picture Above Your Bed

The Size of Your Bedroom

One of the first things to think about is the size of your bedroom. Hanging art above a bed can make a nice focal point in the room and add visual interest on an otherwise blank wall. However, in smaller bedrooms it can start to make the space feel cluttered.

Some guidelines for artwork over the bed based on bedroom size:

– Small bedroom (less than 125 sq ft) – Opt for one smaller piece of art, 16 inches x 20 inches or smaller.

– Medium bedroom (125 – 150 sq ft) – You’ve got room for something in the 24 inches x 36 inches range.

– Large bedroom (over 150 sq ft) – Go for a larger statement piece, 36 inches x 48 inches or even bigger. You could also do a gallery wall with multiple smaller pieces.

In a tiny bedroom, it’s best to skip the art over the bed altogether to keep the room from feeling cramped. Focus your decor efforts on other blank walls or accessorizing with bedding and pillows instead.

The Height of Your Ceiling

Ceiling height is another important factor when determining if you can hang art over the bed. The general recommendation is to hang artwork 6-10 inches above the headboard to allow breathing room.

For standard 8 foot ceilings, a small to medium piece of art usually works well. But if you have higher ceilings of 9 feet or above, you’ve got more space to fill and can opt for a larger piece of art.

On the other hand, lower 7 foot ceilings start to limit your options. Keep artwork on the smaller side so it doesn’t overwhelm the space or feel like it’s crowding in on you. Anything too big will dominate the room.

Measure the wall area carefully and use those ceiling height calculations when shopping for the picture or gallery wall pieces to hang over the bed.

Personal Style and Existing Decor

When choosing what kind of art to hang above your bed, you’ll want to pick something that fits in with your current room decor and personal taste. Here are some art style considerations:

– Color palette – Choose artwork that incorporates colors already used in your bedding, furnishings, curtains and other decor. It should complement the overall color scheme rather than compete with it.

– Style – Make sure the artwork matches the existing style of your room, whether that’s modern, midcentury, traditional, farmhouse or other aesthetics. The art you hang above your bed will set the tone for the whole space.

– Subject matter – Decide whether you want an abstract piece, landscape, still life, portrait or something else. The subject matter should appeal to your interests and personality.

– Medium – Paintings, prints, photography, tapestries, macrame and mirrors can all work well over a bed depending on your decor.

Take stock of the design elements you already have going on and select artwork that enhances them. The art will dictate the mood of the bedroom, so make sure it’s a piece you connect with.

Feng Shui Principles

In feng shui, hanging the right art over your bed is key to promoting good energy flow in the bedroom. Here are some tips:

– Evokes positive emotions – Choose artwork that invokes peaceful, happy or uplifting feelings rather than anger, sadness or fear. Serene landscapes and nature scenes are recommended.

– Avoid violence and chaos – Don’t hang paintings or photos with war, destruction or turbulence as this encourages restless energy.

– Neutral is better – Stick to art with neutral tones and colors rather than wild, crazy patterns and colors.

– Features water – Art depicting calm lakes, rivers or the ocean promotes good chi (life force energy).

– Inspires romance – For couples, choose romantic artwork featuring pairs of objects like candles, flowers, hearts, birds or swans.

– No family photos – It’s best not to hang family portraits or pictures of loved ones over the bed in feng shui.

By selecting artwork that aligns with feng shui principles, you can enhance the peaceful, harmonious feel of your bedroom. This creates an environment conducive to deep sleep and restoration.

Purpose of the Artwork

It’s also helpful to think about why you want to hang art above your bed in the first place. Some key reasons people do this include:

– Draw attention to the bed – Hanging eye-catching art over the bed emphasizes it as the centerpiece of the bedroom. This can help make the bed feel like the focal point it should be.

– Fill visual space – Art over the bed fills what could otherwise be awkward dead space. This helps make the area above the headboard feel intentional and complete.

– Layer textures – The tactile nature of canvas or textured artwork adds visual interest to plain walls.

– Tie the room together – Art over the bed that incorporates existing decor colors and themes helps give the entire room a pulled together, cohesive feel.

– Make a statement – Bold, dramatic art hung as a focal point expresses personal style and becomes a conversation starter.

– Finish a blank wall – Artwork over the bed nicely fills a large empty wall space common over headboards.

If you’re feeling lukewarm about the idea or think the wall looks fine as is, know that it’s completely okay to leave that space blank! Art over the bed is optional.

Lighting the Artwork

For artwork over the bed to really stand out, it needs to be well lit. There are a few options for lighting:

– Install sconces – Affix stylish sconces on either side of the bed to cast light directly on the artwork.

– Use track lighting – Add track lighting overhead and point the fixtures at the picture or gallery wall.

– Illuminate with table lamps – Table lamps on the nightstands can also throw light onto the art.

– Get creative with lighting – Try small picture lights, directional bulbs or tube lighting along the headboard.

Aim to light the artwork using fixtures positioned at about two-thirds the height of the piece. This highlights the art without creating glare. Don’t just rely on an overhead light or the art will get lost. Properly lighting the art over your bed ensures it gets noticed.

Choosing Artwork for Above the Bed

Once you’ve measured your space, determined the appropriate size, and considered your room’s style, it’s time to pick out the actual artwork. Here are some exceptional choices to consider hanging above your bed:

Framed Prints and Canvases

One straightforward option is to hang a print or painting in a simple frame above the bed. You can select photography, botanical prints, or even reproductions of famous artwork. Canvas prints wrapped around stretcher bars also look sharp and modern framed or on their own. When shopping, make sure to get the properly scaled piece for your wall. Medium tone black, white or wood frames tend to work best for a clean, timeless look.

Textile Wall Hangings

An alternative to framed fine are textile wall hangings such as:

– Tapestries – Woven tapestries add texture and bohemian flavor. Look for ones with nature motifs or mandala patterns.

– Macrame – Earthy woven wall hangings in natural fibers have a retro yet artsy feel.

– Quilts – A vintage quilt hung like a piece of art makes a cozy statement.

– Silk screens – Antique Japanese silk screens portraying geishas, flowers or landscapes have a cultured vibe.

– Flags – Pick a flag representing your heritage or alma mater to display.

Textile wall hangings add warmth, texture, and a casual flair. They’re ideal for bedrooms seeking a boho, travelled or collected look.

Statement Mirrors

One way to make a big visual impact with the art over the bed is to hang a sizable mirror or collection of mirrors. The mirror reflecting light makes this focal point really shine. Circular, oval, rectangular, sunburst or octagon mirrors can all look gorgeous over a bed. For extra glam, add sconces at the sides. Just be sure the mirror size suits the scale of your bedroom.

Collections of Art

In lieu of one piece of art, you can cluster a collection of artwork together in a gallery wall above the bed. This looks great in larger bedrooms with high ceilings. Choose a mix of complementary prints, photographs, paintings and media. Frame them identically for cohesion. Lay pieces out on the floor first until you’re happy with the arrangement. Hang the gallery so it extends 6-12 inches past the sides of the headboard. The mass of artwork makes a major style statement.

Sculptural Pieces

Don’t limit yourself to only two-dimensional art. Three-dimensional sculptural or decorative art over the bed lends visual intrigue. Options include:

– Mounted wall sculptures – Wall mounted metal, wood, ceramic or cloth sculptures add artistic flair.

– Neon signs – Vintage neon bar or motel signs give a retro urban edge.

– Marquee letters – Spell out a meaningful word or phrase in colorful marquee letters.

– Macrame plant hangers – Dangling hanging planters combine artwork and greenery.

– Trophies and awards – Display your grandfather’s antler trophy or spelling bee award.

– Instruments – Mount a guitar, mandolin or violin diagonally in a playing position.

Sculptural pieces showcase your interests and give a personal spin on art over the bed.

Floating Shelves

An easy way to decorate a blank wall over the bed is with floating shelves in place of one big piece of art. The shelves can house framed photos, small art pieces, potted succulents, keepsakes and treasures. Or leave them empty for negative space. Long horizontal shelves especially complement beds. Play with different heights, depths and shelf finishes to design your ideal floating shelf arrangement. Then artfully style the shelves for texture and visual appeal.

Tips for Hanging Art Over the Bed

Once you’ve selected the standout art piece, tapestry, mirror or gallery wall to hang over your bed, use these tips to hang it correctly:

– Mark the center of the wall above the bed and use painter’s tape to map out the area where the art will hang. This is your placement guide.

– Hang the art 6-10 inches above the headboard for ideal breathing room. Any lower could feel crowded.

– Larger art should extend 6-12 inches past the edges of the headboard while centered between the nightstands.

– Stand back frequently to check that pieces hang at the same height and the overall arrangement is visually balanced.

– Use heavy duty hooks and opt for two hooks on larger art for stability. This prevents the art from toppling off the wall.

– Add picture lights, sconces or track lighting around the art to illuminate it and really make it shine.

– Carefully hammer in any protruding hooks or nails to prevent scratches and puncture wounds.

With the right placement and lighting, the artwork over your bed will elevate the whole look of your bedroom in sophisticated style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does artwork have to be centered exactly over the headboard?

Not necessarily. It often looks best centered over the bed from an overall visual perspective. But slightly off center over the headboard can work too. Do what seems most visually pleasing to your eye.

How high should art be hung over the bed?

About 6-10 inches above the headboard is ideal. This prevents the art from feeling too crowded or suffocating. Any lower and it may get bumped into. Higher than 10 inches tends to look too disconnected from the headboard.

What about really high ceilings, like cathedral ceilings? Where do you put the art then?

With cathedral ceilings taller than 9 feet, the space over the bed can start to feel overwhelmingly large. In this case, consider hanging the art over the headboard but closer towards the ceiling, around 1-2 feet from the ceiling. Lowering the art helps anchor it to the headboard so it doesn’t get lost in the big vertical space.

Should I hang photos of loved ones or family photos above the bed?

It’s generally recommended not to hang photos of yourself, your spouse, your kids, pets or other loved ones over the bed. In feng shui, this can create an uncomfortable feeling of eyes or energy directed at you. It also prevents deeper connection between partners. Hang family photos on a different bedroom wall instead.

How do I decorate the wall over my bed if I have windows there instead of blank space?

With windows over the headboard, lean into that architectural feature instead of fighting it. Install pretty window treatments like drapes, valances or shades. Layer lamps and books on the nightstand under the windows. You can even transform the windows into a stained glass accent wall with peel-and-stick stained glass appliques. Just take advantage of the windows as a decorative focal point.


Hanging art over your bed is a great way to amplify the decor in your bedroom and make the most of the blank space above the headboard. But art above the bed is also completely optional. If you’re tight on space or happy with the bare wall, feel no pressure to decorate it. However, when thoughtfully done, the right artwork, tapestry or gallery wall over the bed adds beauty, completes the room, and expresses your style. Use the size, style, and placement tips provided to select art that fits and enhances your bedroom. Then display your chosen piece proudly as the crowning jewel reigning over your bed. Let the art speak volumes by day and sweet dreams by night!