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Art Above the Headboard

Inspiration
Art Above the Headboard

One of the most common requests is for art above the headboard. But we don’t always recommend it.

We agree it can be a challenging spot, so we’re sharing some ways to select and strategically place artwork above your bed—or not—to enhance the overall feel of your space. While we typically recommend placing art across from the bed, if you decide to put art above your headboard, keep these recommendations in mind for a balanced and visually appealing look.

Across From the Bed:

(Left) John Zabawa, Stones VIII, 2022. (Right) Hiroko Takeda, Still Life Diptych, 2022.

Placing artwork across from the bed is often our primary recommendation. This location generally offers a fuller space suitable for artwork and, crucially, allows you to appreciate and admire it in bed. Whether it’s a painting, a photograph, or any other artwork, placing it opposite the bed creates balance and provides a pleasant view to wake up to or relax with before sleep.

Centered Wall Sculpture or Statement Piece:

It may seem obvious, but one of the most classic and timeless options is a large statement piece centered above your headboard. It fills the awkward space and gives the room a grounded focal point. Horizontal or vertical orientations are both adequate options, and we love using a wall sculpture if the proper height is available. But be sure not to hang the artwork too high. The bottom of the piece should be 6 – 9 inches from the top of the headboard while also ensuring the art is clear away from a resting head if you have a low headboard. Correct spacing keeps the art from dominating the space or looking undersized.

Elongated Art:

An elongated, oversized piece of artwork is also an excellent solution for this area, especially if you have a headboard that’s not low enough for large-sized artwork but not tall enough to avoid leaving an awkward space above it. It’s a dynamic way to accommodate a shorter ceiling as well. The art can look particularly distinctive if it extends horizontally beyond the headboard.

Offset Artwork:

A less common but powerful way to utilize the space above your bed is to place a single piece of art off to one side. This approach works well because it’s so unexpected and confident. It creates a bold statement and unique focal point that can often balance out a room’s furniture placement and decor. When experimenting with this idea, explore artworks that are on the smaller side for maximum impact.

No Art At All:

Photo courtesy of Melanie Raines.

Sometimes, the answer does not require art. If you have a tall or intricate headboard that acts as an art piece itself, adding another work will compete for attention and make the room too busy. Similarly, if there’s tall wainscotting, we may suggest a small piece of undersized art to lean on top of it, but often that architectural detail is enough. The other scenario where we typically advise against any art is if there’s a prominent textural wall along with a tall headboard. It can work, but most times the space doesn’t need it.


While choosing art (if at all!) may start with an awkward wall space, we always encourage people to choose art they connect with and appreciate. If you love the art, it will find its rightful place on the wall. We’re here to help.


Suggested selections for this particularly tricky space, featured in our collection below:

Photo at top of post courtesy of Fern Santini.