10 top simple tips for hanging art (because art needs to be seen)

And you thought choosing a piece of art was the difficult part! Hanging art, getting it securely onto the wall, in the right place, can be quite a challenge too. So if you have art propped behind your sofa, or pushed to the back of a cupboard, these tips will help. But rules are there to be broken so trust yourself. If it feels right, do it!

Hanging art
The two paintings are treated as one, centred over the sofa, about 2/3 the width and about 150cm high – all guidelines for hanging art
Tip 1 – Scale

Always consider the size of your space when choosing where to hang. Small pieces can be lost in big spaces (perhaps hang a group instead?). Large painting may overpower a small space.

Tip 2 – Size matters

Larger artworks and frames are often easier to hang than small. You will also find that it is easier to fill in spaces if you have less space to fill.

Tip 3 – Restraint – sometimes less is more

If every inch of your walls is covered, your eye has nowhere to rest. Some blank space will allow you to appreciate the art.

Tip 4 – Light and shade

Keep artworks out of direct sunlight. Remember the sun moves, so check your chosen spot at different times of the day. Direct sunlight causes fading, cracking and discolouration. Humidity and temperature fluctuations do no good either. Try not to hang above radiators and think twice about bathrooms.

Tip 5 – The long and the short of it

As a guide when hanging art, the centre of the piece should be at eye level and the average eye level is 145cm-155cm (57-61ins). If you’re hanging art above furniture then the bottom of the artwork should be around 10-15cm (4-6ins) above the piece. Follow your instinct – moving a piece down might make an area feel cosier.

Tip 6 – Take a wide view

Whether you’re working with a grouping of pictures or just one, artwork should generally be centered horizontally between two points, which makes a room feel balanced. Those two points might be the corners of the room or the ends of a piece of furniture (in which case the piece should be approximately 2/3 its width).

Tip 7 – When two become one

When hanging two art pieces, treat them as one and still hang them 145-155cm (57-61ins) from the floor to the centre of the grouping.

If you are hanging art in a grid, you need to be accurate
Tip 8 – Getting your ducks in a row

Rows of pictures can be aligned at their centre, top or bottom. If you centre, then the jagged lines on the top and bottom accentuate the arrangement. If you line up the tops or bottoms the arrangement will feel very different.  A piece of string stretched taut between drawing pics gives a great guide for even spacing. This technique is also useful for hanging pictures up a staircase. Mark the wall at the same distance from the top step and the bottom step. Stretch the string between these points. Now you can centre pictures or use the tops or bottoms, as you choose.

Tip 9 – Group think

Look for a common link when hanging a group. It might be theme – they are all sea related. It might be frame colour – all natural wood. It might be the colour of the art work – black and white. But it might be the way they make you feel.

If you like symmetry and order, try hanging in grids and triptychs. If you want a more eclectic look pick a centrepiece and build outwards from there.  The starting point could be your favourite or the largest piece.

Cohesive spacing gives a clean layout. Try placing large and medium pieces 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) apart, and smaller pieces 3-6 cm (1.5-2.5 inches) apart. Lay out the pieces on the floor and arrange until you are happy. Now take a photo on your phone, before transferring to the wall.

Tip 10 – Getting down to brass tacks

You will need a spirit level, pencil, measuring tape, wall anchors and screws. Depending on the type of wall you may need a stud finder, drill and screwdriver. Beware of water pipes and cables. Always check the maximum load that your hanging mechanism can take.

While you may be tempted to wing it, if you are hanging a grid or a series of pieces you will need to be precise to achieve even spacing.

As an alternative to drilling, Command hooks and strips are excellent (https://command.3m.co.uk/). As long as you follow the instructions fully, they are a damage-free solution.

Not all art needs to be hung – you can prop it on the mantle piece or on a shelf
Bonus tip – Don’t let your art become wallpaper

If a painting always hangs in the same place, it may become invisible and you will stop noticing it. Swap your art over, rearrange pieces and you will see it with the same sense of wonder which made you buy it in the first place.

If you have a question about buying, displaying and caring for original art, please ask and maybe I can help.

7 thoughts on “10 top simple tips for hanging art (because art needs to be seen)”

  1. I put up shelves to be able to switch out my artwork and enjoy different pieces at different time. Thanks for the great tips.

    1. Lovely idea! I am just sad that so much art languishes at the backs of cupboards and never gets displayed!!!

  2. Great tips!
    I love the use of string on the wall on a stairwell.
    Another way to display art is to use a wall ledge.
    You can easily change up the art pieces with out adjusting hooks etc.

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