I am constantly asked how to hang pictures so that they complement a room. Although I usually hang them according to what I think is visually correct, I did find some helpful suggestions for hanging pictures properly. Hopefully, you can avoid my “trial and error” technique because I have hundreds of nail holes in my walls! Something as simple as picture placement can make the biggest difference. Here are a few things to consider when hanging pictures……
Do Not Display Everything!
Resist the urge to hang everything! Instead, look around your rooms and decide which walls would benefit from some artwork. Look for items that can be grouped together. When planning locations, I often lean pictures against the wall so that I can get a good idea whether or not they complement the room. Often I discover that I like pictures in places that I didn’t originally plan. You don’t need to hang art on every wall. You don’t want your room to look too busy. You must have an empty space to rest your eyes.
Mount at the Correct Height!
Usually, I just “eyeball” where my art should be hung. However, the result is lots of trial and error and lots of holes in the wall! I did find different things on the internet that proved to be true, for the most part. In rooms with standard 8-foot high ceilings, most artwork should be hung so that the middle of the picture is approximately 5 feet (60”) off the floor. For rooms with higher ceilings, artwork can be hung a little higher, which will visually lower the ceiling height. I measured my art and they were all about 5 1/2 feet from the floor because I have high ceilings.
When hanging pictures above a sofa, leave an approximate 6” to 8” space between the top of the back of the sofa and the bottom of the picture. When hanging a picture over something large, remember that you either need to use a large piece of art, or a grouping of art that will give an overall appearance of being a large size.
This mirror is nearly my same height. However, with our high ceiling and a large fire place, the mirror doesn’t seem as large. I had to be careful not to place something on the mantle that was the same height as the bottom of the mirror. I made an arrangement that was taller than the bottom of the mirror. It’s better to have things either higher or lower than the hanging art. You don’t want too many conflicting edges together!
Over a tabletop or counter, allow 6” to 10” between the table surface and bottom of the picture. This space can be adjusted if you have lamps or other items on the table, which will visually add height. If you are hanging a picture above a piece of furniture, make sure that the top edge of the object is not exactly even with the top edge of the artwork. Never place an object in front of hanging artwork that will block the art. However, it is fine to place a tall object in front of a mirror.
The best way to arrange groupings on a wall is to first lay your pictures out on the floor as you want them to appear on the wall. Next, trace and cut out paper templates of each frame and tape these to the wall to mimic the pattern formed on the floor, nudging them around until you create the desired display. Mark the nail locations with a pencil, and make sure to use proper hardware for your pieces. It might seem time consuming to make paper templates, but it is much easier to move paper around on the wall than to repair holes made by mistake.
I made sure that my pictures weren’t even with the top edge of my lamp shade. Since I’m using a mirror, it is fine that my lamp and arrangement overlap. I grouped smaller coordinating pictures.
Groupings are more effective if they are hung with some kind of symmetry to create a square or rectangular shaped display. Since your frame sizes will likely vary, you won’t have a perfect geometrically shaped outline, but the desired balanced appearance can still be achieved. Try to space the frames 3” to 4” apart.
The lower picture is hung lower than I would normally hang a picture. However, two pictures, by themselves, didn’t fill the space correctly. I began by hanging the middle picture first, at 5 feet high, then I added the top and bottom pictures.
Go Solo for Impact!
Don’t clutter very large artwork with other, smaller pieces. Left alone, a larger piece will have more impact. Consider re-matting small pictures in a large frame with a large mat. This gives a dramatic look to a favorite piece of art!
If you hang a piece of art, and you immediately don’t feel happy with it, your instinct is probably correct. Try moving things around in your home until you find what works for you. If you don’t like something, remove it. I know from experience, that filling a small hole in the wall is better than looking at something that is “off”!
Do you have any other helpful suggestions for hanging art?