Decorating Rules: Hanging Art

Hanging art seems to be one of the toughest things for homeowners to do; usually hung too high and not within the proper scale/proportion. Here are a few of my ‘Hanging Art 101’ basics:

1/ Hanging art over a piece of large piece of furniture such as a couch, credenza or headboard:

The bottom of the art should be 6-12 inches above the top of the furniture. If you have extra- tall ceilings in the room, go closer to the 12 inches… if lower ceilings, hang 6-10 inches. You want the art to be visually related to the furnishings and by hanging too high, it will look disconnected from the furniture; as if its floating away. Here’s a picture that show the right height of about 6-12 inches away from the furniture.



2/ Hanging art on an empty wall such as a hallway, or any wall that does not have an anchor piece of furniture below: 

Everyone thinks that when standing to view a piece of art, the middle of the art should be…. at eye level. I always ask: WHO’s eye level? Rule of thumb is that the middle of the art (whether it be one larger piece or a collage/grouping) should be 66-70 inchess from the floor. Note: you do not hang artwork in relationship to the ceiling height but to the floor it hangs above.hanging

3/ Hanging artwork on a stairwell wall:

This one is super-simple. Simle measure 70″ up from each stair, then mark the angled line with a piece of low-tack green painter’s tape. That will be the measurement to the middle of your art. Not only will you have found the perfect height, you will also have measured the perfect angle (or pitch) of your stairs (modern stairs tend to have a lower pitch and traditional ones tend to have a higher steep). Of course you can add art above/below that centre line, but always keep the middel of your grouping around the 70″ middle mark.


Design Tips:

Proportion: Remember that 2/3 is always a good proportion in design. For instance, if hanging art over a large piece of furniture, make sure it fills about 2/3 the width of the sofa, headboard or credenza. Anything larger might end up looking too top-heavy; anything smaller could look insignificant.

How high: The lower you hang artwork, the higher ceilings will appear. By lowering the existing hanging nail by just one inch you will allow the room’s ceiling to visually appear taller! This is a great trick to use in lower-levels of homes or, if selling your home and you want to give the illusion of tall ceilings (which everyone seems to want these days).

Mixing art: DIsplaying different mediums of art (oil, watercolour, b/w photography) in the same room? Try framing all the art in similar (not exact) colour/tone of frames. This will tie all the art together within the room; making it appear more like a collection. If all the art being displayed in one room is the same medium then I like to frame each piece with a different style of frame; its then the medium of art that holds the collection together not the framing.

Grouping: How to create a collage of photos/art: Start with the biggest (or visually heaviest) piece in the centre and graduate to the smallest on the outer edges. Measure 70″ off the floor and that is your center starting line for hanging the collection.

Mantels: If hanging art over a fireplace mantel: Hang only 4-6 inches above the mantel. Hung too high will visually divide the art from the mantel.

Happy hanging! If you learned one new thing then please press the LIKE button! Be sure to check back soon for more design lessons- please visit often! KL

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