HomeHow To Choose The Best Size For Your Portrait Painting And Wall Art: A Guide

How to choose the best size for your portrait painting and wall art: A guide

Posted on 03 February, 2023

Choosing the right size for a portrait painting is an important decision. This guide will help you with the factors that need to be kept in mind when commissioning any painting in general and portrait painting in particular.


Choosing the right size for a portrait painting can be overwhelming. But it is an important task that requires consideration of several factors. In an earlier post, we covered types of portrait painting, a guide to commissioning a memorial portrait painting, and a guide to commissioning a pet portrait. Several of our readers requested a similar guide for how to choose the size of a portrait painting. And factors that needed to be kept in mind when commissioning a custom handmade painting. Custom handmade portrait paintings, as the name implies, are specially made-to-order paintings from photos or reference pics. Expressly made for clients and patrons. Commissioning is the act of creating a painting on order.

Portrait paintings come in three sizes 


Small-size portrait painting 

Small painting sizes as the name implies, are small in size. These paintings are meant to be used as desktop paintings or tabletop paintings. The sizes of small paintings are usually 


4 inches x 6 inches 

5 inches x7 inches, and 

12x8 inches (A4 size) 


Medium-size portrait painting 

Medium-size paintings are larger than 12X8 inches. They are perfect above a couch, staircase, or on a larger wall. The sizes of medium-sized paintings are usually 


16 inches x12 inches (A3 size) 

20 inches x16 inches 

24 inches x20 inches 

36 inches x 24 inches 


Large-size portrait painting 

Finally, we come to the large-size paintings. These paintings are perfect for living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, conference rooms, and reception areas of offices, corporates, hospitals, auditoriums, and public institutions. The sizes of large-sized paintings are usually 


40 inches x 30 inches 

48 inches x 36 inches 

60 inches x 40 inches 

72 inches x 48 inches 


As you can see from the above there are several sizes available to make a painting. But knowing the different sizes is half the answer. What you need is to decide the size of the portrait painting you want, that is appropriate for your needs. Many factors need to be kept in mind when determining the size of the painting. This post will help you understand those factors and will enable you to choose the correct size for your portrait paintings and other art pieces.

Size considerations for portrait paintings 


Several factors need to be kept in mind when commissioning a painting. Some of these factors are related to the purpose of the painting, others to the theme of the painting, and still others to the context of the painting. These factors are discussed below

The purpose of the painting 


The purpose of the painting has a great influence on determining the size of the painting. So the main question that needs to be asked is, what is the purpose of the painting you want to commission? 

Is the painting for gifting purposes, like a wedding painting gift, anniversary painting gift, or engagement painting gift? For gifting purposes medium to large sizes are recommended, as they are good sizes for the giftee to hang up on the wall. 

Couple portrait painting, oil painting, couple portrait, painting of a photo, convert photo to paintAnniversary Gift Couple Portrait Painting (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Is the painting for remembrance purposes like a memorial portrait or memorial art to cherish and honor a deceased loved one's memory? For memorial paintings, the size is a personal choice. Though most prefer medium to large-size memorial paintings to remember their deceased loved ones. It can be medium or small also. The size depends on your personal choice. 

memorial oil painting, shradhanjali painting, obituaries painting, funeral portrait, photo to paintMemorial Portrait Painting (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Is the painting for devotional purposes, like a portrait painting of a much respected spiritual guru of the family, whose presence comforts the entire family? For portrait paintings of spiritual gurus, saints, and holy men, we recommend a large or medium size. These types of paintings are usually hung in a prominent place in the house, or the pooja room (worship room), and they provide a sense of comfort to the entire family. 

Painting of Pramukh Swami, Pramukh Swami in white, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Swaminarayan, Oil PaintingSpiritual Guru Portrait Painting Pramukh Swami Maharaj (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Is the painting for religious purposes, like the painting of Gods and deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Durga, or Krishna? And for what purpose will such a painting be used? Whether the painting is to use as a decorative piece, or as a part of the worshipping process, we recommend a large size. Large-size paintings are more attractive and impactful than small-size paintings. 

shiva painting, Shiva art, mahadev painting, modern art shiva painting, nataraja painting , shiv artOil Painting of Lord Shiva in Tandav Pose (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Is the purpose of the painting to remember and honor the founder of a company or an institution? If that is the purpose of the painting, then we recommend a large to very large portrait size. Larger-size portrait paintings are often found in institutions and corporate headquarters, as they remind the employees and management of the values of the founder. A large-size portrait is reflective of the founder's larger-than-life personality and his central role in shaping the company or institution and steering the company to commanding heights. A very large-size portrait painting inspires awe in eyes of the viewer and adds to the legendary stories of the founder, or the institutional builder. 

The art movement of the painting

Another factor that needs to be kept in mind when commissioning a painting is the art movement of the painting. Especially if the painting is going to be a reproduction of an Old Master painting from the Renaissance period. The reason is that many Old Master paintings from the Renaissance period were very large canvas paintings. The reason the paintings were so large, is that the scenes the painting required a large canvas space to make them. Many paintings from the era depicted complex biblical scenes, and they required large canvases to execute the painting and to bring out the details of the scenes. So you need to consider the art movement of the painting you wish to commission to decide the size of the painting particularly if it is going to be a custom handmade reproduction of an Old Master painting. 

The Toast by Cleto Luzzi, custom handmade, oil painting, reproduction, renaissance painting, renaissance replica painting, Renaissance reproduction painting Renaissance Painting Reproduction The Toast by Cleto Luzzi (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)

The historical context of the painting 

Painting sizes are also influenced by the historical context in which the painting was created, the style of the artist, and the materials available during the period of the creation of the painting. For example, some of the largest paintings were created during the renaissance period in Europe. The painting works created during the period were often larger than during any other period in Europe, such as the middle ages. Usually, the paintings of the Renaissance period were commissioned by the Church, Royalty, and wealthy patrons of art, like the Medici family of Florence, who were patrons of Leonardo da Vinci. The paintings were created to project wealth and power and inspire awe in the general populace. Therefore you need to seriously consider the historical context of the painting you wish to commission. 

The subject matter of the painting 

Another important factor that needs to be kept in mind when deciding the size of the portrait painting is the subject matter of the painting. Is the portrait painting going to be a single person or an individual painting, or will it be a group painting like a family portrait painting? Higher the number of people or subjects in the painting the larger the size of the painting we recommend. The reason is as the number of people increases in the painting, a larger size is required to give enough space to each subject on the canvas. The space provided by a larger canvas size enables the artist to work on the detailing of each face and feature. Again, we recommend a larger painting size for full-length and knee-length painting. Since full-length images require more space to paint as compared to half-length portrait painting. 

family portrait painting, oil painting portrait, portrait painting, painting of a photo, family giftFamily Painting Oil Painting on Canvas (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)

Similarly, if the scene to be painted is a complex scene from history or mythology, like a battle scene, or a scene with a large number of elements, we recommend a larger canvas size. As it gives the artist enough space in the canvas to bring out the details of the scene, which makes it impactful. 

The intended location for the portrait painting 

In selecting the size of the painting, the most important factor that needs consideration is the location of the painting. A couple of questions asked at this point can help you decide about the size of the painting. These questions are 


Is the portrait painting for public display? 

Typically if the painting is made for public display, for example, the painting is to be put up in an office reception area, conference room, hall, or boardroom, then the size should be large. Usually for private bodies, corporates, and large groups, it is common to see memorial paintings of founders' portraits, hung up in boardrooms, reception areas, meeting rooms, or other

lal bahadur shastri memorial painting, Shri lal bahadur shastri, memorial oil portrait painting  Oil Portrait painting of Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri for

Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi 

(Image Credits: Paintphotogrpahs.com)


significant places where it can be seen by employees and other stakeholders. Here the purpose of the painting is to remind the company's employees, management, and other stakeholders of the values of the founder and his vision for the institution. 

Similarly, we can observe for public bodies like educational institutions, government bodies, museums, auditoriums, and government enterprises, it is common to see large memorial portraits hung in prominent places. The portraits are usually of public figures, public leaders, and senior leaders who made an impact and shaped the institution. 

So for portrait paintings made for public displays, we recommend a large size. 

Is the painting for private use?

Suppose the painting is commissioned for private use. In that case, the size considerations depend on the space where the painting will be hung and on the personal choices of the individual commissioning the painting. 

The size of other artworks in the room or collection 


Another point of consideration for choosing a painting size is the size of other paintings in the room where it will be hung or the size of other paintings in the collection. 

For example, if the size of the other paintings and artworks in the room is large, then the size to be chosen for the new painting should be similar. This uniformity of the sizes across different paintings will be more aesthetically pleasing than having different size paintings kept in the same room or collection.

The level of detail in the painting 

The level of detail required in the painting can also influence the size of the painting. A painting with many elements and complexity may require a larger canvas size to capture all the details. A large canvas size allows the artist to accommodate complex scenes that include a lot more details and elements in the painting compared to a painting of a smaller size.

The theme or mood of the painting 

The theme or the mood of the painting also influences the size of the painting. Paintings with dark and somber themes may require to be larger to create an impact on the viewer as compared to a painting that has a lighter and happier mood.

The artist's style and technical skillset 

The technical skill set of the artist is another important point to be kept in mind when deciding the size of the painting. For example, the skillset required to create a large portrait painting is very different from the skill set required to create a miniature painting. Similarly, an artist specializing in abstract paintings may not have the skill set required to create a portrait painting that requires a very different skill set and a high degree of technical prowess. So when you are commissioning a painting be sure that you select an artist that matches the requirements of your painting project. 

The personal preference of the artist and the patron 

Apart from the above factors, the personal choices of the patron and the artist play an important role in determining the size of the painting. If the patrons want a large-sized oil portrait painting and the artist has expertise in abstract painting or miniature style then there is a clear mismatch between the artist and the patron. We advise that when commissioning a painting, there is clarity and a match between the artist's style and the client's requirements.

The cost of the painting 

The size and complexity of the painting are major factors that determine the cost of the painting. If the requirement is for a large painting, that has many elements and is complex, the cost for the painting will be higher than that of a painting that is much simpler and smaller in size. Even in smaller paintings, the complexity of the artwork determines the price. A complex small painting will cost higher than a simple small painting. It is important to decide the price of the painting beforehand with the artist. Before commissioning the artist to execute the artwork. 


As can be from the above, choosing the appropriate size for a portrait painting is not an easy task. It needs careful consideration of several factors outlined above. The above article will help you to decide the size for your portrait painting. And the factors that you need to keep in mind when you decide to commission a portrait painting or an art piece. 

If you wish to order a custom handmade oil portrait painting or an oil painting you can visit our order now page. Custom handmade oil portrait paintings make for memorable gifts like a couple painting or a birthday portrait painting or a housewarming gift. Our talented artists can also create composite oil painting portraits from two or more reference photos and pics. Similarly, we can also create pet portrait paintings or create new portrait paintings from blurry old black-and-white photos.

To know the prices of our portrait paintings you can visit our pricing page. To see our work on portrait paintings you can visit our gallery pages. To connect with us ping us on our chat messenger on the website or ping us on Whatsapp or call us at 918291070650 or drop us an email at  support@paintphotographs.com 

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