10 Tips for Hanging Art in Your Home
The New Year is a popular time to spruce up interior décor, so we thought we’d share a few useful tips on how to hang art in your home. Stunning artwork adds the finishing touches to your living space, and whether you are moving things around, decorating for the first time or just getting around to hanging art you’ve had for some time, there are several beautiful ways to display your masterpieces.
It can be tempting to choose artwork to match cushions or rugs, but you should buy a piece of art because you absolutely love it, and it means something to you. You may be naturally drawn to pieces that have similar tones to your existing décor, which is fine, but you should have a gut reaction to it, one of those things that you simply ‘have to have’ and can’t live without. This will help you build up a collection of prints that you love and that reflects your tastes.
Measure up to give you an indication of the size of the print you’ll need. Remember that the mount and frame will make the finished frame size bigger. You can find finished frames sizes for Lucy’s 10”, 15”, 18” and 26” prints in our Framing Guide. If, for whatever reason, you are hanging a smaller piece of art than is ideal (perhaps it was a gift or isn’t available in a larger size) do not fear, there are some secret hanging tricks! You could have it framed with a larger mount or wider frame to increase the finished size. You could make a feature of its diminutive size, and hang it low or off-centre, next to a lovely piece of furniture, shelf or mantelpiece. It could also be paired with another piece of small artwork.
While it’s tempting to choose a frame to match the décor of the room it’s going in, you should choose a frame colour and style that enhances the artwork. Black, white and grey frames are versatile and tend to go with a wide range of artwork, but as a general rule, dark, moody pieces of art look good in dark frames and lighter, softer pastels or neutrals look nice in light coloured frames.
It’s a common mistake to hang art too high. It’s best to hang frames at eye level as museums and art galleries do. As a general guide, the centre of the artwork should be 145cm – 150cm from the floor. This also applies when decorating the stairs, and again the midpoint should be 145cm – 150cm above the steps. Note: If you have high ceilings, you can hang a little higher. The exception to this rule is when you are hanging art above furniture – there should be a gap, but the art should look connected to the furniture and not floating alone above it.
Have you ever bought a piece of art, got it home and then decided it looks too small? Here’s a tip, if you’re hanging one or two frames together, the finished width should be two thirds of the width of the furniture.
It’s best to leave 15 – 30cm between the top of the piece of furniture and the bottom of the picture frame.
Part of the fun is grouping pieces of artwork together and playing around with different colour tones and themes. While you don’t have to create a gallery wall, you can hang two or three pictures together with similar colours or themes. For example, you might cluster three sheep prints or two pieces of cycling art together. Don’t be afraid to play with scale, the prints don’t have to be the same size. One large print, with two Little Prints at either side can look very striking! You can also hang two pieces of artwork that tell a story together, such as Lucy’s January Blues and the Joy of Spring or her pieces for Scope Charity, Somewhere Only We Know and All You Need is Love.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules when it comes to decorating your home. While artwork looks stunning perfectly placed in the middle of a wall, it can also look great placed off-centre, or perhaps in an alcove painted a contrast colour to the other walls. You should also think about the view from the hallway. For example, you could hang a piece of cow art so that it’s framed by the living room doorway, drawing your eye in as you pass. This may mean hanging it off-centre on the wall, but it will make a striking impression as you wander past and can help to connect all your rooms together visually.
That said, symmetry is calming and easy on the eye. So, if you have pairs of pictures, they can be placed in matching alcoves, either side of a bookcase or together above a fireplace. If you are unsure about positioning, you could take some brown parcel paper and cut out a square / rectangle exactly the same size as your finished frames. You can place these on the walls with blue tack or wall safe tape and stand back to look at the positioning properly – this allows you to move them around until you are happy with the positioning. This is also a great way to compile a gallery wall. If you are hanging art with animals or characters as the main subject, you should also consider which way they are facing, as they often look better looking in towards the cluster of pictures. When hanging art near doors and windows, lining the frames up with the tops of the door and window frames looks odd, so either stagger the artwork up or down.
If you like re-arranging your home décor regularly, creating a picture shelf gives you more flexibility to move things around and mix your art with plants, flowers, candles or other decorative accessories. If you choose this option, don’t forget to check the frame width of your art, as picture shelves can be more suited to thinner frames.