Hang it Right: Tips for Hanging Art at Home

How you hang a piece of art at home really determines how great it looks on your wall. If you hang it too low, it’s difficult to see. Go too high and people have to crane their necks to take a look. Here’s what you need to know to hang your art well.

You’ve found a great piece of art at InLiquid or bought a print at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now what? How you display the art in your home matters as much as what the piece looks like. Hanging art isn’t super challenging, but it does require a bit of basic know-how to get right. Before you get out the hammer and picture hangers, take out the ruler and make sure you’ve picked the perfect spot to showcase your new work of art.

Get the Height Right

Eye level is the ideal height when hanging art at home. You want to hang your paintings and prints so that people can easily see them when standing before them. The average eye level height is between 57 and 60 inches. Position the center of the artwork at that height, not the top or bottom of it, so that people can get a good look.

Remember Proportions

When hanging art above a piece of furniture, such as on the wall behind your sofa or above your desk in your home office, it helps to pick a piece that matches or balances the proportions of the furniture. Your 84-inch long couch is going to dwarf a 16-by-20-inch painting, for example, while a massive painting is going to overwhelm a diminutive desk. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose art that is between half and two thirds the width of the furniture you’re hanging it above. That means if your couch is 84 inches, you want to hang art that’s between 44 and 56 inches wide above it.

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

If you want to hang a gallery wall in your Philly home, you still want to follow the basic rules for hanging art, but with a few slight adjustments. For example, stick with the eye level rule, but instead of hanging every piece at eye level, hang the center or focal point piece at eye level, then position other artworks above or below it. Ideally, you’ll have the largest or most eye-catching piece serve as the focus of your gallery.

From there, space each piece between two and three inches apart, so that your gallery doesn’t look too crowded. Keep the rules of proportion in mind, too. Creating a gallery wall or grouping is a great way to hang smaller artworks above a larger piece of furniture without making them look too small. The width of your gallery can between half or two thirds the width of your furniture. If you’re going to cover the entire wall with art, then it’s OK to ignore the rule of proportions.

One great thing about gallery walls is that you don’t have to use pieces that are all the same size or shape. In fact, mixing and matching sizes and shapes can make your wall look more interesting. To get a sense of how the gallery will look before you hang it, lay the pieces out on the floor. You can easily rearrange them until you find the perfect grouping.

One last tip about hanging art at home: make sure you use actual picture hangers. A few nails hammered into the wall won’t give your paintings enough support and could lead to a disaster.

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