How to hang art (without messing it up)

While everyone may have different tastes in art, there are some general tips and tricks you should keep in mind when hanging your favourite pieces.

Keep it level
From photographs to sculpture to pastels, art is meant to be seen. That means it's important to hang it at eye level. It's typically a good idea to have the centre of the artwork about 1.5 metres from the ground.

Also make sure that the work is hanging properly. A crooked painting can ruin the entire atmosphere of a room. And heaven forbid you hang it upside down!

Think big picture
Unless you have your own private gallery at home, you'll need to make sure your art fits with the rest of your possessions - particularly your furniture.

Art should enhance your home decor, not clash with or take away from it. Keep this in mind when it comes to art placement, as well as the colour of frames and the works themselves.

Safety in numbers
While you don't want to overwhelm the senses, it's a good idea to remember how art can work in groups.

For instance, say you want to hang a painting above your sofa. While your first inclination may be to centre it directly above the furniture, unless the artwork in question is the right size, it could throw off the look of the room. If it's too big it will dwarf the sofa, and if it's too small it just won't look right compared to a big piece of furniture.

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Consider opting for three or four paintings artfully hung instead of a single piece

The 1.45 rule
This one tip guarantees success when placing your art. Always make sure the centre of the artwork is exactly 1.45m above the floor. This is the average human eye-height and is often used as a standard in galleries and museums. 

People tend to hang art too high but if you stick to this rule, you’ll create consistency across all the artwork in your home, as all your pictures will share a midline as you look around, no matter what the outside dimensions may be.

Step by step

  • Measure and lightly mark 1.45m on your wall with a soft pencil
  • Measure the height of your artwork and divide by two to get the centre measurement
  • Measure the top of your picture frame to the tightened wire
  • Subtract the tight wire measurement from the half height amount to achieve your ‘to the hook’ amount. This helps you establish how high above 1.45m your hook should be placed
  • Lightly mark your wall just above 1.45m with your ‘to the hook’ amount

With groups of pictures, think of the group as one picture.

Avoid catastrophe
When you’re hanging a frame, check the picture wire and attachment points for wear. Picture wire is made from many fine wires wound together. Over time and after many moves, some of these fine wires can start to break. This will usually occur right where the centre point of the wire is; the point at which it rests on the wall hook.

As you’ve adjusted your frame to keep it level, this wears away at the wire and eventually it can snap – with potentially disastrous results. If a painting or picture is particularly heavy, make sure you use a double strand of picture wire and be very careful about your choice of wall hooks and mounting locations.

If your walls are made from gyprock, purchase a stud finder from your local hardware shop. This will help you locate your home’s timber framework so you can place screws or hooks at the points of greatest strength. If you prefer to use special gyprock mounting hooks, pay very close attention to their weight limits and always use a bigger hook than you need for the job.

What do you look for in artwork? Share your creative finds with us.

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