Buying quality artwork is an investment. And like every investment you want it to maintain or increase its value; but more importantly, you want to enjoy it. With wall art, once you’ve elected to go forward with your selection, the big question becomes where and how do you hang it?
The color, composition, subject matter, and texture of the piece has the ability to bring your space to life when paired with other home or office furnishings. Whether you’re looking to hang one piece of quality artwork or a tasteful grouping, use these easy tips to confidently hang artwork like a pro!
Location, location, location
The rule of thumb is to hang the center of the art piece at 57 inches from the floor. This is typically eye level for the average height person and allows them to view the artwork comfortably. Of course you will need to make exceptions to this rule if you have low ceilings (8 to 9 feet), oversized pieces, furniture will be placed below the piece, or you and all your friends are extremely tall or small. In short, use your best judgement and ultimately what appeals to you.
From an overall size consideration, art should typically be about 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the sofa and be hung about 6-8″ above the back of the sofa or other large furniture piece. There is nothing more annoying than having to choose between looking at the person sitting on the sofa or admiring that gorgeous piece way above them.
A few quick comments about investment art. Never hang an expensive piece of art above or near a fireplace (if you are using that fireplace). Exposing your investment art collection to extreme temperatures may cause canvases to go slack or become overly taut, or brittle paint which will crack and curl. Keep paintings out of direct sunlight to prevent them from fading and watch the type of lighting you use. Opt for low wattage halogen bulbs that deflect damaging UV and infrared rays.
Step-by-step guide to hanging art:
- Measure 58” up from the floor mark with a pencil.
- Measure the height of the artwork, including the frame, and divide this number in half.
- Add the measurement in step 2 to the 57” pencil mark and make a new mark. This will be where the top of your artwork will rest.
- On the back side of the art piece you’ll find either a wire or two fasteners, one on each side of the frame. If a wire, pull it with one finger to get the wire at full tension, then measure this distance from the top of the wire to the top of the frame. If fasteners, measure to the inside of the opening.
- Subtract the measurement in step 4 from the pencil mark you made in step 3 and mark with a pencil.
- With the wire, place your nail or hanger on the second pencil mark. If you’re using a nail with a j-hook support, be sure that the bottom of the hook is resting on the pencil mark, not the nail.
- The fasteners will take an additional measurement and a little more finessing. Once you have the height in step 6, you’ll need to measure the width, inside fastener to inside fastener, divide this number in half and marking out this distance on each end with a pencil mark.
- Go ahead and hammer according to step 6 or step 7 into the wall!
If you aren’t able to use the 57” rule due to a sofa, buffet, or other piece of furniture, you will want to omit step 1 and go to step 2. Instead of measuring from the floor up, you will hold the artwork in place and mark where the top of the artwork meets the wall. At this point you’ll measure down from the mark instead of up! Typically, you will want to have the bottom of the piece about 6 inches of space between the object below and the artwork.
Size matters when displaying grouped art
Before you begin, treat your gallery grouping as one collection that incorporates a similar color palette or underlying theme. Begin with the largest piece first and anchor the grouping by placing towards the bottom and off center of the wall space. If you are looking for a salon style arrangement balance the large artwork by using a variety of differently sized works to create one visual experience. Consistently allow about 3 to 4 inches of space between each piece.
If a more architectural type display is to your liking, consistency and repetition is important. Think about hanging art in straight lines or in a grid. This is always a go to for a conservative, sophisticated display.
Using a template isn’t cheating
If you are the cautious type and don’t like to leave anything to chance, use templates. Cut out craft paper or last year’s wrapping paper to cut out the sizes of the artwork and tape them to the wall. Test out multiple arrangements to see which you like best as well as save time and possibly a little frustration.