It’s a common problem – you found a great piece of art that you love and it works great with your existing décor. You get it home and somehow it just doesn’t look as good as you expected. Did you pick the wrong piece? What went wrong? Chances are, it’s all a matter of how it’s hanging – detracting from both the art and its surroundings. What’s the fix for that? We’ve got a few simple guidelines for hanging artwork for guaranteed oohs and ahhs.
Proportion counts – your painting should occupy between two-thirds and three-quarters of the wall. A postage-stamp sized piece hanging on a broad expanse of wall loses its impact. If you aren’t inclined to large pieces, consider a grouping to maximize visual impact.
Vertical concerns – as much as possible, your art should be centered at eye level. That makes it easier to appreciate the painting, and means that all eyes will rest naturally on the artwork. Take into consideration where you will be sitting or standing when you view the piece – if the art is in a dining room, where you will be seated most of the time, it’s ok to hang things a bit lower.
Relative distance – aim to keep the bottom edge of your piece between 6 and 24 inches above whatever is below it to let the art help define the space. Why such a wide range? The larger your space, and art piece, the more space it needs. Float it too high above the furniture and it feels disconnected, too low and it looks crowded and squashed.
Gallery inspiration – for maximum impact, tie things together with a theme – colors, materials, anything. Using a consistent color scheme and similar frames allows you to mix larger, or more expensive art pieces with smaller, or less expensive pieces for a unified, gallery-like feel.
Get a group – create big impact from smaller pieces by grouping them together in similar frames like the image here.
Let the art dominate – if you have a really stellar piece, or something with incredibly bold colors, let it dictate the surrounding room. Pull your décor colors from the art, use the style and feel of the piece to create a room designed to act as a giant frame for the art.