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A "How To" Guide For Art Placement

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Have you ever wondered how high you're supposed to hang your artwork on the wall? Or how far apart you should place your frames from one another?

The very first step in hanging wall art is choosing the proper placement for each piece. But when you’ve got a very large abstract canvas, or an odd-numbered stack of petite nautical prints, choosing where to hang what is often the most daunting task.

So there you stare at a blank wall . . . Now what?

There are actually guidelines for hanging art on the wall! Shall we dive in?

When hanging artwork above furniture, aim to position it approximately 6-8" above the furniture. When hanging artwork too high, it feels disconnected from the furniture and looks as though it's floating.

If you're hanging artwork on an empty wall, hang it approximately 57-60" from the floor to the center of your artwork. It should be eye level for an average height woman.

If you're working with multiple frames or creating a gallery wall, position each frame approximately 3-4" apart. Keeping them close together will help the eye to see the art as one unit.

When choosing the size of artwork for your space, ensure that the artwork will fill 2/3 the width of the furniture it will hang over. If you use artwork that is too small it will not feel balanced.

Remember you are decorating a wall

Choose smaller pieces for narrow walls and larger canvas wall art pieces for big walls.

  • For Small Spaces:

A tightly-grouped even number of pieces in a small area, such as a stair landing, is perfect and gives a window effect. Light colors enhance this effect.

  • For Large Spaces:

A tightly-grouped even number of pieces works great to balance out a large space or a high wall. Note that large spaces can handle slightly larger spacing than small spaces.

Arrange pictures on a wall before putting hammer to nail

  • Lay everything out on a table or on the floor

  • Move the pieces around until you have an arrangement that you like

  • Lay the pieces out on a large piece of craft paper or wrapping paper and then trace around each piece

  • Mark the hanging points from the back of the art onto the craft paper

  • Then, tape the paper to the wall and hammer in the nails

  • Remove the paper, and voila!

Rookie Mistake – Wall Art Placement

The Wrong Height

We’re not sure why, but hanging art way up high is the most common “no-no” we see people make. It’s almost like you have to crane your neck to really see the piece! Not good at all. Many people go by the rule of thumb to hang pieces “eye level”, but if you’re tall then that may be a bit too high. On the flip side, we occasionally see people hanging pieces way too low. But honestly, we’d rather see a piece too low on a wall than too high.

The Wrong Scale

The next big mistake we see people make? Hanging pieces that are way too small. We get it…art and frames can be pricey. And the bigger you go, the bigger the price tag. But scale is oh so important when it comes to wall art and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The Right Scale

Hanging something small on an expansive wall won’t do the piece justice, and it will look minuscule on the wall. Instead find a smaller wall for the piece, or group it with other wall items to create a collected look. You can even create one large piece with a symmetrical grouping of 2 pieces, or 3 pieces.

Here are some general tips when it comes to scale.

  • Over Furniture: Make sure the art (or grouping of art) takes up at least 1/2 – 2/3 the width of the piece of furniture.

  • Fill up the Wall: It’s important to take up as much of the wall as possible when hanging your pieces.

  • Bigger is Better: When in doubt, try an oversized piece. It will look 100x better than putting a dinky piece on your wall.

  • Take a Picture: Before you actually hang the piece, we suggest having someone hold it up and take a photo. Then look at the picture with fresh eyes and decide if the piece really works for the space. Make the proper adjustments until it looks perfect!

  • Group Closely: If you are hanging a group of 2-4 symmetrical frames or even a gallery wall, then make sure you hang the pieces closely. A couple of inches between frames will ensure that the grouping looks cohesive.

Now we’re dying to know…have you made this rookie mistake? We’re certainly guilty, but have luckily gotten better over the years! And now you know how to properly hang art on your wall!

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