How to Hang Art in 7 Easy Steps

How you hang your artwork is as important as what the art is.
How you hang your artwork is as important as what the art is.
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Picking out art can be a task in itself, much less worrying about how to suitably add it into your design scheme. But when done correctly, a proper arrangement lends an air of beauty and style to your home décor. Luckily we've collected the fundamentals of displaying artwork so your next experience can be a stress-free success.

1. Find the Perfect Spot

Start with a room that has all the furniture in place before you decide where your art is going to go. Lean your artwork against the wall or place it on the ground and leave them there for a while. This will let you get comfortable with how the artwork matches the existing interior décor. It's not quite the same as when they're on the wall, but it will give you an idea.

Deciding how to hang the pictures depends on the particular wall. But, here are some design ideas to help you get started.


2. Keep it Straight

For a hallway or long stretch of wall, put pictures of different heights and widths in a straight line with the centers of the images all at the same level. Arrange the pictures alternating between a tall frame and a short frame to create nice symmetry. Make sure the pieces on the ends are either both tall or both short.

3. Unified Approach

Similar to the hallway arrangement above, this approach creates a unified look by arranging artwork in straight lines. Arrange the frames so that the tops of the frames that make up the bottom row are at the same height, and the bottom of the frames that make up the top row are also at the same height, about two inches above the bottom row.

4. Symmetrical Setup

If you have an eclectic group of frames, including some circular ones, you'll have to come up with your own arrangement. Confine your display to a specific area, like in a rectangle over your mantel, so it's easier to create a unified look.

Cut out smaller replicas of your frames using graph paper, with one square corresponding to one square inch on your frame. Arrange your paper replicas in different designs, trying many options, to find a symmetrical arrangement. It's easier to create symmetry with the largest frames first, working your way down until your smaller frames fill in the empty spaces left over.


5. Maximize Space

Maximize your hanging space by keeping your mats and frames the same color as the wall. Your photos and artwork will stand out from the background and appear to almost float in the air. This technique works well if you have a large amount of frames to hang on a single wall.

6. Pencil the Position

Once you've decided on the layout, tape your pieces of graph paper down on a piece of paper cut to represent the space you're working with. Using this as a guide, layout your artwork on the floor in the same way. Then use a tape measure and pencil to plot out where the artwork will go on the wall, making light marks with the pencil where the outlines of the frame will go.

7. Finishing Details

When hanging frames that are held up by wire, you'll have to figure out exactly how the picture will hang. There's an easy way to do this.

  1. Take a tape measure and hook the end onto the wire, then pull the wire tight toward the top of the frame.
  2. Note how close, in inches, the wire gets to the top of the frame.
  3. Nail your hook into the wall that much farther down from where you want the top of the frame to be on the wall.

Once you've hung your display, stand back and take a look at it. It's amazing how arranging artwork can be the finishing touch to your home décor. And it's nice to be able to appreciate your collection everyday.