Hanging art can turn the joy of collecting into a stress, but thanks to some tips from Craig Walker, Gallery Assistant at Park West Gallery, anyone can transform their space into a personal gallery.
1. Choosing a pattern
The rule of thumb is that artwork should be easily viewable, regardless of if it’s one work or multiple hanging as a group.
When hanging multiple artworks, select a pattern to follow. It can be a simple grid that maximizes the use of line, or a more organic layout that suits your personality like the Simon Bull paintings seen below. With any pattern, try to keep the spacing between the artworks consistent.
“Just make sure everything is level when you hang the artwork up,” Walker says.
2. Work within the space
Walker says when hanging art, try not to place it too high or low on the wall. Consider the room it’s hanging in when determining the right height – are people sitting down often, or simply walking through?
“You want to have the artwork at eye level,” Walker says. “You want to see it without moving your head up or down.”
The typical eye level is about 57 inches from the floor, so having the center of the art at this height – not the top – is recommended.
If a room has multiple doors and windows, arrange the artwork to line up with the middle of the frames instead of the top or bottom. Even the corner of a room can be utilized for a unique setup, as seen here with these Mark Kanovich works:
3. Make a “rough draft” before hanging art
Cut newspaper or kraft paper into templates that match the size of the art and tape them to the wall with painter’s tape. This gives a nice visual as to how it’ll look prior to hanging your art without hammering a bunch of unneeded holes into your wall.
Another option is to lay them out on the floor in your desired pattern. By doing so, you can play around with the configuration, see how they look when placed next to one another and determine the optimal arrangement.
4. Color schemes and themes
When choosing which works to place together, Walker suggests selecting a color scheme and choosing art based on that scheme. By doing this, you can use different framing styles and maintain a theme. Art with neutral colors can be mixed into a color scheme to provide some variety.
Whether it’s one work or many, keep in mind what mood you’re hoping to evoke. Exciting, bold colors from artists like Peter Max liven up a room, while warm, subdued colors from artists like Csaba Markus reflect a calming energy.
Naturally, specific rooms can have matching paintings. Those with a bar or poker table are perfect for works from artists like Scott Jacobs and Michael Godard. Landscapes like those created by David Najar help open up a smaller room.
5. Try different sizes
Large art is impressive and makes a statement, and thus requires room to be admired. Smaller artwork, on the other hand, is perfect for wall space in between doors and windows or creating a group to display together.
When hanging art above furniture like a sofa or bed, make sure the layout is about a third of the furniture’s size, as the artwork will otherwise appear odd by comparison. Again, keep it within eye level.
6. Create a rotating gallery
If you’ve simply run out of wall space, try changing out the artwork. Who knows, swapping out one work for another might completely change the mood or feel of the room, and provide a different atmosphere that might make the artwork pop.
Regardless of how you hang your art, Walker’s last bit of advice is the most crucial.
“Make sure when you’re hanging art that you have a sturdy place on the wall so it doesn’t fall,” he says.