(and how not to hang art in your home)
Everyone hangs art too high. Read that again. Everyone. Even interior designers.
The top of a door frame is not there as guide for how high to hang a picture. Instead, we should be guided by the size of the piece, the furniture it’s hanging with and wall it’s hanging on. Because when those things work together in harmony, you create the kind of pleasing vignettes the eye loves to settle on as it wonders round a room. The beautiful corners you see in interiors magazines and on Instagram and think - I want to do that.
Stop thinking of your art and furniture as separate pieces, they work best when they read together as one.
So if you’re hanging art over a sideboard, bedstead, sofa or bookshelf it should be no more than 25-35cms above the furniture.
See what a difference it can make.
Hallways and empty walls
If you’re hanging art away from furniture, the rule of thumb is - the mid point of the piece of art should be at the eye line of the lady of the house (unless you have a 6’6 husband like me, in which case you go ever so slightly higher).
It will feel too low, but trust me it’s not. It’ll allow you to look at and enjoy your art fully.
An approximate measurement guide for this would be that the centre of the piece will hang at 140-150cms from the ground.
The three quarters rule
The next secret to perfect picture hanging is to fill your space.
If you have a small, cute painting, it shouldn’t be drifting around in the middle of a large wall. It should be supported (framed, if you like) by the wall around it.
Show small pieces off to their best by hanging them in a narrow space in the hallway. Or between a corner and the window frame. Or in the downstairs loo!
Up close and personal
Again, I’m going to push you out of your picture-hanging comfort zone and recommend that when you’re placing pieces next to each other they should be super close. Almost touching.
For small pictures no more than 5-10cms apart. For large pictures no more than 10-15cms.
Think togetherness. They are not separate paintings or prints, they’re behaving as one.
You need a hero
Gallery walls (thanks Instagram) are particular popular, and particularly easy to get wrong.
So when you are creating them, stick to these rules.
Start with your hero piece in the centre of the wall and build your gallery around it.
Use art that’s a decent size. Lots of small works can look a big mess.
Secure each piece with command strips. Who wants a wonky gallery wall?
For next-level picture hanging or help with big, precious pieces - bring in the professionals. I always recommend Hang It Services.
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