Hanging art can be quite tricky. How high is too high? How low is too low? Designers used to abide by a fairly consistent set of rules when it comes to hanging art. In recent years, many of the traditional guidelines have been thrown out the window. I personally love this trend of “carefree” hanging since it allows for so much more freedom in design. Luckily, there are still some general rules you can follow.
First, you want to make sure you have the right tools. It’s somewhat of an old wives tale that you must find a wall stud in order to hang anything. Sure, you should take the weight of your piece into account, but generally, as long as you use picture hanging hooks instead of plain ole’ nails, you will be fine. These nifty little hooks work to displace weight evenly and are much more secure.
Determining where to place art on a wall depends on a few key factors: how many objects you are hanging and if there will be any furniture below them. If you are hanging a single piece of art, the general rule of thumb is that the middle of the piece should be between 57″-60″ above the floor. Since this is the average height of eye level, it is usually the most pleasing.
The most common mistake I see made with art placement is hanging something too high above a table or sofa. When hanging art or a mirror above a piece of furniture, make sure the bottom of the frame is between 6″-12″ above the table surface or back of the sofa. The idea is to assoociate the two objects with one another. If it is hung too high, the art will appear like it’s floating and look disjointed. Conversely, if a piece is hung too low it will look crowded and messy.
Sometimes it can be hard to find one perfectly sized piece of art. Instead of hanging a single large piece, consider hanging a grouping of pictures instead. The same rules apply in this senario as well. The bottom row of pictures should sit about 6″-12″ inches above the piece of furniture. You don’t have to match the width of your sofa either, just make sure you have enough to cover at least half the width of the object below. A good rule to follow is that the overall width of the art or grouping of art should be about 50-75% as wide as your sofa or table. This will insure that your art is the correct scale and looks proportionate to the furniture.
Galleries. They look so effortless yet so put together at the same time. If you’ve ever set out to make your own, you know that looks can be deceiving. That carefree collection of different sized frames all thrown together is actually the result of very careful planning. Like this one above from Young House Love, isn’t it lovely? So, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
First things first. Gather what you want to frame and buy your frames. There are several directions you can go with this. You can go for a cohesive look by selecting frames in all the same color or material (like wood or metal), you can choose one subject matter for the images and play with different frames, or you can throw all that out the window and have everything be different. The last option is slightly trickier to get right but when it is right, it looks amazing.
Next, clear a large space on your floor and lay everything out. If you like puzzels, this step is right up your alley. Arrange the frames to fit next to each other while making sure to vary up the size and/or shape of the frame. One to two inches between each frame will help keep the gallery consistent. There are really no hard set rules on how to do this- it’s going to be on your wall so make sure that you like it. If you have one frame that is much larger than the others, it’s generally best to have that frame anchor the middle of the collage and build out around it. Below are a few awesome gallery layout ideas.
Now how do you get that perfect little gallery from your floor to your wall? While I am all for measuring, leveling and all that jazz, I happend upon a super handy trick via Pinterest that saved me tons of time and frustration recently. Turn all of your frames over and lay several sheets of wax paper over the top of them. Tape them together as needed to create one big sheet. Then trace all of your frames including the hanging hardware/wire on the backs of the frames. When you are finished you can simply hang the wax sheet up on your wall and nail in your picture hanging hooks! SO EASY.
I hope this art mini series provided some useful information to help you get a little more art in your life. If you have any specific questions or want me to elaborate on anything I covered, feel free to ask in the comments below or shoot me an email!