Hanging Artwork 101

I often get questions about how to hang my artwork. This post explains the aesthetic choices of hanging an individual piece or a group arrangement, and it also shows what hardware to use and how to use it. Almost as important as choosing the right piece of art for your space is finding the best location to install it!

WHERE DO I HANG MY NEW ART?

At the end of the day, you want your art where you think it looks good. So above all, trust your own judgement and find a position you like. With that in mind, here are some guides to get you started.

Use your best judgement when choosing where to hang your artwork. While this piece, “Unlocked and Open Memory Field,” is hung lower than the rule of thumb to keep the center at eye level, the choice to align the top with the top of the door provides a formality and symmetry that is more appealing. Hanging the artwork higher may have created an awkward look since the top of the artwork would be so close to the overhang.
This Modern Olive square wall sculpture, titled “Olive Dreams,” is mounted approximately 6” (15cm) above the couch. This provides good balance between artwork and furniture, and the center of the artwork is near eye level. Also note that the artwork is centered left-to-right above the couch.

A basic rule of thumb is that a piece of art hanging on your wall should be centered at eye level. Of course, different eyes are at different levels, so consider using an average height of between five and five and a half feet (60” – 65” or 150cm – 160cm). However, many other factors can play a role in positioning.

A common arrangement is to hang the art above a piece of furniture, like a chair, sofa, or sideboard. If this is the case, consider how much space is between the bottom of the art and the top of the furniture. A margin of 4” – 8” (10cm – 20cm) is a good place to start. Leave more room if you have things on top of the furniture (like knick knacks on a shelf, or a pillow atop a sofa).

WHAT IF I HAVE MULTIPLE PIECES IN A GROUP?

For a group artwork hanging, consider how the pieces will fit together. Space the individual pieces evenly. For example, when I hang my popular mixed media pieces that are 6” by 32”, I like to put about 4” (10cm) in between each.

A good choice is to hang all the pieces in the group so that the tops of the pieces are at the same level. Alternatively, a staggered structure can add a nice appeal.

These pieces are hung with the tops level and about 4” (10cm) between them.
These pieces are staggered for a more stylized grouping. They are spaced about 4” (10cm) apart.

Take a look at my gallery of art in clients’ homes for more inspiration on positioning your art.

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION?

My next post will include a video showing how to install an anchor in drywall, wood, or concrete walls. I will also demonstrate some techniques for measuring and leveling your artwork.

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