Mastering the Art of Hanging: The Do’s and Don’ts of Artwork Placement

Your home is more than a place to live. It’s a canvas for self-expression, a space that reflects your personality and tells your story. There are many tools for adding character to your home, including wallpaper and window coverings, but one of the most powerful ways is with artwork. Here are our go-to recommendations for the do’s and don’ts of artwork placement.

When selecting pieces, go for the quirky and unconventional. Seek out art fairs, galleries, and vintage shops for one-of-a-kind finds that speak to you on a personal level, rather than settling for mass-produced prints from big box stores.

Properly displayed art, especially original works and one-of-a-kind pieces, adds character to your space in a way no other elements can.

Simply owning artwork, though, is only part of the process. How you display your collection can remarkably impact your home’s overall aesthetic. Properly hung artwork can create a visually stunning and meaningful space, while poorly placed pieces can make the room feel disjointed and awkward.

The Do’s of Hanging Artwork

By following these ‘“Do’s” of hanging artwork, you can create a home that reflects your unique style and story.

Do Consider Eye Level Placement.

When hanging artwork, always consider the viewer’s eye level for optimal appreciation. Generally, the center of the piece should be 57-60 inches from the floor, which is average eye level for most people. If you’re hanging art above furniture, aim for a 4-6 inch gap between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the artwork.

Examples of symmetrical and asymmetrical arrangements.

Do Create Visual Balance.

Visual balance is key to creating a pleasing arrangement of artwork. When hanging multiple pieces, consider both symmetrical and asymmetrical organization.  Symmetrical arrangements space artwork evenly, mirroring a center line to create a sense of stability. Asymmetrical arrangements balance artworks without mirroring, adding visual interest and a dynamic feeling to the space.

Do Pay Attention to Proportions.

The size of your artwork should be proportional to the room’s wall space and furnishings. Artwork that complements the available space creates a sense of harmony, while pieces that are too small or too large can disrupt the visual flow.

Opt for oversized artwork or a multi-piece arrangement in a spacious living room with high ceilings, but choose smaller-scale pieces for a narrow hallway or smaller bedroom. When hanging artwork above furniture, select a piece or arrangement proportional to the furniture’s width to create a cohesive look. By considering the proportions of your artwork, you can make a well-balanced and visually appealing space that feels thoughtfully curated.

Do Experiment with Groupings.

Art groupings and gallery walls are a fantastic way to showcase your collection in an exciting way. When creating a gallery wall, start by laying out your artwork on the floor to find an arrangement that works well. Mix and match different sizes, frames, and styles for an eclectic look, or keep things congruous with a uniform color palette or theme. When hanging the grouping, start with the largest or most central piece and work outward with consistent spacing between each piece.

The Don’ts of Hanging Artwork

When hanging artworks, be mindful of proportions, placement, and spacing.

Don’t Hang Artwork Too High or Too Low.

Hanging artwork too far above or below eye level can create an uncomfortable viewing experience and disrupt the look of the room. Artwork hung too high can make the space feel disconnected, while pieces hung too low can appear awkward and cramped. To avoid these mistakes, stick to the general guideline of hanging artwork at eye level.

Don’t Clutter Walls with Overcrowded Displays.

Overcrowded walls can make a room feel chaotic and visually overwhelming. When hanging multiple pieces of artwork, be mindful of the spacing between each piece. Give each one room to breathe and the space to shine on its own — generally leaving at least 2-4 inches of space between smaller pieces and 4-8 inches between larger ones.

Don’t Ignore Lighting Considerations.

Use lighting to draw attention to your artwork.

Lighting plays an essential role in displaying your artwork and enhancing it effectively. When hanging artwork, consider the existing lighting in the room and how it interacts with your pieces. Avoid hanging artwork in areas with harsh glare or deep shadows. Consider installing picture lights or adjustable lighting to highlight your artwork and create a focal point.

Don’t Forget to Anchor Artwork Properly.

Avoid the risk of damage to your art investment and your walls by properly anchoring your artwork using appropriate hardware. For lighter pieces, use picture hooks or wire hangers secured to the wall with nails or screws. Consider using D-rings, sawtooth hangers, or French cleats, which distribute the weight evenly and provide a more secure hold for heavier pieces. And if in doubt, consult with a professional.

Avoid common hanging mistakes and create a well-curated display that enhances the aesthetic of your home.

By skillfully hanging your artwork and considering factors like eye level placement, visual balance, proportions, and groupings, you can showcase your unique style and create a more personalized home. Remember to avoid common mistakes like hanging artwork too high or low, overcrowding walls, or ignoring lighting.

Sketches I made on a trip to St. Augustine, matted with repurposed frames I’ve had for years, look beautiful in my entryway.

We encourage you to apply these guidelines as you curate and display your own art collection — or even your own art! I recently framed and displayed my sketches from a trip to St. Augustine, upcycling old frames and adding new mats to create a meaningful addition to my home decor. Remember, your home is your canvas, and the artwork you choose has the power to tell your unique story.

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