Figuring out how to hang wall art correctly is one of the age-old conundrums of interior design. Everyone knows that an improperly hung work of art sticks out like a sore thumb, but it’s tricky to get right, until you know the unspoken rules you need to follow.
Choose the right size artwork
First and foremost, you need to make sure the piece of wall art you choose is appropriately sized for the spot where it’s going to be placed. Even if our hanging skills are flawless, a piece of art that’s too big or too small for its wall is going to end up looking out of place.
“Decide if the space needs framed artwork, metal or dimensional wall art, a mirror, or even some floating shelves, says Julie Wynalda of True Vine Creations. “Try to mix it up and find elements that make you smile.”
If you’re putting the wall art directly behind a piece of furniture — like a painting over a sofa or buffet — you’re in luck. There’s a trick that allows you to eyeball your measurements. Ideally, the furniture piece will be slightly longer than the wall art on either side. You should aim to find a wall hanging that is two-thirds its length.
If you’re planning on putting the piece of artwork on a standalone wall, the math is a little more complicated. (Though, nothing that can’t be solved with the help of a calculator.) Conventional wisdom states that artwork should take up four-sevenths of the wall on which it is placed. To figure those dimensions, start by measuring the length and width of the wall. Then, multiply each number by 0.571, which is four-sevenths as a decimal,
Adapt the placement to the room
In the past, the rule of thumb was that all artwork should be placed roughly at eye level. But someone who is 5’1” will have a vastly different eye level than someone who is 6’5” so it ends up being fairly arbitrary. These days, the school of thought is that the center of a piece of art should generally be 57 inches from the floor.
To find that spot, start by measuring the height of the picture and then dividing that number by two to find its center. Afterward, measure the distance from the picture wire or nail hook to the top of the frame. Subtract that distance from half of the picture’s height, and finally, add your result to 57. Whatever your final number ends up being, measure that distance up the wall to find the point where you should put your nail and mark it for later use.
That said, math is no substitute for perception in interior design. While you can use these figures as a guide, don’t be afraid to make adjustments accordingly. For example, when a room has high ceilings, it may make more sense to hang your wall art slightly higher than usual to account for the extra space.
“Additionally, you may want to stack a series of framed artwork pieces vertically to allow for the higher ceilings and pay tribute to the the architecture,“ Wynalda continues.
How to hang wall art
Once you have your wall art and it’s placement selected, it’s time to get hanging. While this is usually considered a two-person job, there is a simple way to make it work on your own. All it takes is some paper and a little tape.
Start by tracing your piece of wall art on a piece of paper. Then, cut it out so you have a template to use. Make a mark on the template to show where the picture wire or hook will be by measuring out the same distance as from the wire to the top of the frame. With the marking-side out, match up the nail mark on your template to the nail mark on the wall and secure it in place with tape. This will give you a chance to step back and see how the wall art will look from farther away. Feel free to make adjustments as you see fit.
Once you’re happy with how the wall art is placed, break out your nail and hammer. Place the nail in the spot you’ve marked. Then, peel away the template. From there, all you need to do is put the picture in place.
Tackling gallery walls
People have a tendency to shy away from gallery walls because they believe putting one together is overly difficult or they won’t be able to put together an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. In reality, hanging one of these doesn’t take that much extra effort.
This difference lies in how you start. Once you’ve collected all of the pieces, decide on the arrangement. Do this on the floor rather than on the wall so you can easily make changes. Choose a center item first and then build your layout around it.
Once you’re satisfied, follow the same processes described above. Start by placing a template of your center photo at 57 inches and add in the other templates according to your layout. Then, one by one, use the templates to place the nail for each artwork.
Wynalda says, “It’s important to remember these are just guidelines not hard fast rules, use your best judgement and most of all make it feel like your home.”
If you’re unsure how to hang wall art the right way, trust us when we say you’re not alone. Many homeowners struggle with one of interior design’s most fundamental tasks.
“Finding the perfect placement for each piece can make or break how connected and finished a room feels,” continues Wynalda.
You can always call in the experts. To find an interior designer visit myGRhome.com.