Hanging artwork baffles many home decorators. How high should a picture be hung on the wall, what color should the matting be, and how can you decide what goes where?
In general, artwork should be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at about eye level for the average person. While this won’t be possible in every situation, it’s a good guideline to keep in mind.
Another technique to remember is that a grouping of pictures should be thought of as one unit. Test an arrangement of pictures by laying everything out on a large table (or on the floor), playing with combinations until you hit upon one that works. Laying them out on paper is even better since you’ll be able to trace around each object and determine where picture hangers should be installed. Tape the paper up on the wall as a template for picture hangers and you’ll be done in no time.
You can also lay out pieces of scrap molding (or tape) onto the floor to form the “outside” bundaries of a picture grouping — the measurements within which the smaller pieces of art will be set. This is useful when a particular wall has certain boundaries that must be observed (such as a chair rail, windows, heating vents, and the like) and helps keep your arrangement the proper size.
In the pages that follow you’ll find lots of photographs to illustrate a principle or tip for hanging artwork. Read brief explanations of symmetry, line, and balance, and observe how they relate to the pictures shown. Next, evaluate the artwork in your own home. You may find ways to accomplish an “art makeover” to better showcase your artwork.
|Relate Art to Wall Size
Choose smaller pictures for narrow walls and larger works for big wall spaces. Here a hall wall is accented by hanging a set of six prints in a tall vertical arrangement. One or two larger vertical pictures would have been another possibility for this space.
Photograph taken at the 2002 NSO Decorators’ Show House, Washington D.C.
|Relate Art to Furniture Size
In general, when hanging art over a piece of furniture it should not be longer than the width of the furniture. The artwork shown in this photograph relates to the size of the table below it, and keeps to a general principle of being about 75% of the table’s width.