The elation of finding the perfect artwork can suddenly disappear once you get it home and begin to fret over where and/or how to hang the piece – above the sofa? In the study? Or, in that little nook by the stairs?
Wait, hanging art shouldn’t be stressful - so we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you decide on the perfect place for your new acquisition, as well as how to hang it like a pro!
1. Composition and Placement
Sometimes we’ll think ahead and shop for art to go in a particular spot, but like with a pair of beautiful shoes, we’ve all had moments when we’re so taken by something that we just have to have it – and will worry about the rest of the outfit later!
When deciding where to hang your new piece of art, it helps to step back and survey the room/s – take note of the amount of available wall space, your color themes and the layout of furniture and windows (remembering that direct sunlight can damage artwork). By doing a quick, logical audit, you should be able to narrow down your options.
If you have a large statement piece, to maximize the impact, you may want to dedicate an entire wall or central areas such as above the sofa or bed. A general rule of thumb is that these pieces should be between 1/2 - 2/3 the width of the furniture you’re hanging it above.
Small Pieces and Gallery Walls
Gallery walls are another way great way to fill wall space when you have a number of smaller pieces. Experts recommend hanging larger or bold pieces and artwork with heavy frames closer to the center surrounded by smaller pieces to create a dynamic but balanced composition. It can be challenging to visualize how the pieces will look on the wall before you hang them but doing lots of research can really help. We love this template that we found via a quick Google!
To help save time (and extra nail holes in the wall) it’s worth trying different layouts on the floor and to even use craft paper to cut out templates for each piece that you can stick to the wall with painters tape to decide on the final arrangement, and to figure out your hook height calculations (we’ll get to this shortly).
Layering and Propping Up
From mantle pieces and built in shelving, to bay windows and sideboards, you might have the perfect home for your artwork without even hanging it up! Depending on your décor, you might be able to play with layering several, different sized pieces. Alternatively, one piece layered with smaller trinkets, vases, candles, and lamps might be all you need.
2. Hanging Art at the Right Height
For maximum impact, art should be viewed at eye level. Because people’s heights vary significantly, many experts recommend hanging art so that the center of the piece is between 57-60 inches above the ground. The most common go-to measurement is 57”, but whatever you decide, just make sure you go with that for all pieces.
If you’re hanging a cluster of pieces on a gallery wall, the center point of the entire group should hang at a height of 57-60".
As usual, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are hanging artwork above a piece of furniture, you will want to allow some breathing room in between the top of the furniture and bottom of the frame. If the piece is very tall (over 120”), it is best to leave six to eight inches above the floor.
Once you’ve decided on your center point, you’ll need to do a little bit of math to figure out where to put the hook on the wall. We love this handy painting height calculator, or you can work through the following:
The height of your center point + ½ of the height of your painting – the distance between the top of your artwork and the top of the wire, or hanger = your hook height.
Then, you just need to measure your final calculation up from the floor and to the horizontal position that you’ve decided on.
3. Essential Tools For Hanging Art
Finally, having the right tools on hand will make hanging your new piece much quicker and easier.
We recommend having a hammer, tape measure, spirit level and a pencil. If you’re working on a gallery wall, craft paper and painters tape are also worth buying.
Instead of nails, we recommend using picture hangers such as Floreat™ or TYE™ Hangers. Keep in mind the weight of your piece when purchasing the picture hangers as each type of picture hanger is designed to hold a maximum weight. For larger items, you could use two hangers that are still installed at the same height, but a couple inches either side of your horizontal center point.