Just about everyday at the gallery, we get someone asking us how to hang art: what’s too high, what’s too low, what’s too small (or big) for over the sofa, how can I hang multiple paintings together and how do I know if I’m doing it right? What are the rules; are there any rules and do I really need to follow them? We got so many questions we decided to write a list of tips.
Speaking of rules, the short answer is yes and the good news is you don’t have to follow them to a tee. We prefer to look at them as quiet little guidelines that will help you hang your paintings confidently so they can look gorgeous on your walls. Most important is to have fun with your art: re-arrange it frequently to keep it fresh – and enjoy it.
So, here you are. Grab your hammer and nails and start hanging:
The eyes have it: always hang at eye level and avoid hanging too high (we’ve found that to be our clients’ most common mistake). You can use 58″ as the average level but we tend to just go with whether it feels right And when hanging over a couch, dresser or piece of furniture, don’t hang it too high – usually 3 to 6 inches will do.
Safety in numbers: hang in groupings if the pieces are small.
See and be seen: buy your art because you’re madly in love with and hang it where you can feast your eyes on it each and every day. One of our favorite spots to hang art is in the kitchen…especially if the kitchen is gorgeous, modern and white and the paintings are old, crusty pieces we discovered in a Paris flea market.
Think big: for great visual impact, consider a big piece for a small room.
Pack a Punch: arrange your paintings for the maximum wow effect. We’re crazy about art walls – and they’re not as scary to hang as they seem if you start by arranging them on the floor first or creating a grid with craft paper.
If you’re doing a gallery wall, keep in mind that there needs to be a unifying factor: similar frames, similar subject matters, palette or media.
Think outside the wall: you can lean, prop and stand your paintings all over the house. Pay attention to overlooked spaces, too — corners and over doorways and archways are prime decorating spots.
Take it to the table: small pictures don’t need to be on a wall; try an easel or bookshelf.
Same kind of different: as long as there’s something unifying the grouping (here it’s the touches of black) you can hang whatever you like. It doesn’t have to match – and it’s better if it doesn’t.
Go with the flow: Don’t let the room dictate what you love: work with architectural features, not against them.
Let your personality shine: art is individualistic and subjective. Sometimes, you just need to follow your gut and take a chance with your hanging technique.
We love the challenge of hanging art – and nothing makes us feel better than knowing that the nail is in the right spot, the painting’s at the right height and wow, does it look great. Happy hanging!
(check out more Huff Harrington How To’s here.)