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Wall Clocks: More Than Just Timepieces

As they say, "timing is everything," so it's no surprise that clocks are such a common staple in homes. But wall clocks do more than help you keep track of time. They can also serve as decor and jazz up a room. Here's what to consider as you start shopping.

What features are available on wall clocks?

Illuminated wall clocks give off a cool glow in a darkened room, so reading the face is no problem. Clocks with large displays offer a similar benefit of being easier to read; although you might not get the same appealing aesthetic when night falls. To keep track of more than just the current time, consider a kitchen clock with a digital display that also shows the date. And if you'd like auditory reminders of the time, consider chiming wall clocks or musical models. These can chime at the top of the hour to let you know what time it is.

Atomic wall clocks automatically adjust their time based on radio signals from the WWVB radio station near Fort Collins in Colorado. It's run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Sounds pretty sci-fi, right? Many of these clocks come in retro mid-century designs.

How high should I hang a wall clock?

When hanging a wall clock, it’s best to position it at standing eye level. If you hang it any higher, you might need to stretch your neck to read the time.

What size wall clock do I need?

The size of your wall clock should complement the rest of the room, as well as the available wall space. If the room is a spacious and bright, an oversized clock of 42 or 60 inches in width can command attention. In smaller rooms, even a clock of 11 to 14 inches can provide a subtle accent to the space, depending on the face's pattern and design.

Where should I hang a wall clock?

Wall clocks generally work well in bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. Consider practicality when spacing out your timepieces in the different rooms around your home. If you have a chiming or musical clock in your kitchen and that room is right next to your living room, you might want to consider simply decorating your living room with wall art instead. If you do want to place clocks in rooms next to each other, consider using a silent clock in one room if you want a clock with a charming ticking sound nearby. Ticking from multiple clocks can feel a little distracting.

Can I use them outdoors?

Outdoor wall clocks are available, and they usually have durable designs such as all-weather coatings to help them endure the elements. These coatings can prevent moisture intrusion, which might fog up the clock face if it has a glass case. Moisture can also cause some metal components to rust, which is why weather-resistant coatings are important. Some outdoor clocks also have built-in thermometers or weather stations that tell you how cold or warm it is at a glance. The thermometers may appear as small gauges, and digital clocks may display the temperature in degrees next to the spot where the time is displayed. Try to avoid hanging these in direct sunlight, which can skew the temperature reading higher than it actually is outside.

What styles should I look for?

Consider the rest of your decor before adding in a wall clock. For example, clocks shaped like gears go well with industrial decorating schemes, whereas vintage, faded clocks complement a rustic setting. Clocks with a black frame and white face work well in most cases because they're easy to read and their simple design doesn't compete with other decorative elements in your space.

Whether it's the only decor on a wall or it's accompanied by wall art and mirrors, a clock adds character to a space. Consider where you're planning to hang the clock, your desired size, and what features you'll find enjoyable, such as calming chimes or decorative accents, as you search for a design that meets your needs.