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Art Above the Headboard

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.

Centered wall sculpture or statement piece

It may seem obvious, but one of the most classic and timeless options is a large statement piece right above your headboard. It fills the awkward head space and gives the room a grounded focal point. Horizontal or vertical orientations are both effective, and we love using a wall sculpture if there’s the height 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 your headboard, while also making sure it’s out of the way of a resting head, if you have a low headboard. This will ensure it doesn’t look overpowering or too tiny.

Elongated Art

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

Below are a few suggested selections for this particularly tricky space.

Artwork by Jordan Wright Patterson
Artwork by William Cannings via Cris Worley Fine Arts
Artwork by Linda Ridgway via Flatbed Press

Offset Artwork

A less common, but very 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

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. Or if there’s tall wainscotting, we may suggest a small piece of undersized art to lean on top of it, but often times that architectural detail is enough. The other scenario where we typically advise against any art is if there’s distinct or powerful textural element along with a tall headboard. It can work, but most times, it just doesn’t need it.

Photo courtesy of Allison Crawford

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.