You have scoured the galleries, spent hours searching online, even attended numerous flea markets until you finally found your perfect piece of wall art. The most ideal focal point. The piece de resistance of your living room. Or, maybe just something nice to look at while hiding that ugly water stain. Whatever the reason, don’t let bad hanging techniques sabotage your gorgeous wall art.
Rule Number One: The Right Height
If you have a single piece of artwork and are not trying to make a themed wall with multiple pieces, there is indeed a “perfect” height. The best height to hang wall art is typically about 60 inches from the center of the artwork to the floor. This happens to be around eye level for most people.
Hanging your artwork too high can make it look out of place. It will not tie in well with the furniture and instead may look awkward on the wall. Also, the art won’t be comfortable to view. Viewers will have to tilt their head way back to look up at it.
Oddly enough, hanging wall art too high is a very common mistake. Not many individuals hang their art too low. Low hanging art will not only look unusual but it may interfere with furniture, light switches, or windows. To avoid this most people hang high; usually too high.
So the general rule of thumb is to measure from the center of your artwork down to the floor, this number should be anywhere from 57 to 60 inches. But this ideal hanging height can vary depending on a few other factors.
If you are hanging the artwork directly above a piece of furniture, like a chair, sofa, or table, you need to take into account the height of the top edge of the furniture. Some furniture is just too high to hang artwork above, it becomes impractical.
But as long as you are hanging it over a sofa or table of average height consider the following guideline. The bottom edge of your artwork should hang around 6 inches away from the top edge of your furniture. Some people recommend 4-6 inches while others claim 6-8 inches so we are going with a middle-of-the-road 6 inches.
This helps your artwork to remain grounded and connected to your furniture, tying all aspects of your decor together. On occasion, this 6-inch guideline can conflict with the first rule. If you have low lying or tall furniture you may need to bend the rules.
In these cases, it is best to find a compromise. There may be a happy medium where you can either center the artwork within the negative space above the furniture or drop the center height a little so the bottom edge sits closer to the furniture. Usually, you will know when you achieve this happy balance; things will just look “right”.
Rule Number Two: Spacing
If you are making a gallery wall, you have more factors to consider than just the right height. A gallery wall, sometimes referred to as a salon wall, is a collection of hung items. It can be framed art, mirrors, treasured objects, and even photographs. The trick to pulling off a great looking gallery wall is spacing.
You don’t want your objects to look squished but you don’t want them so far apart that they don’t feel cohesive. A gallery wall with improper spacing will give the vibe that something is off, you just won’t be able to quite put your finger on it.
To keep a happy atmosphere in your room try to keep 3 to 6 inches between your gallery wall objects. They don’t have to be perfectly arranged in rows or columns, but you can use this distance from anywhere along their perimeter in regards to neighboring artwork.
There are a few other helpful tricks when creating a gallery wall. Some people like to hang their centermost object first. They hang it at an appropriate height considering the distance to the floor and neighboring furniture, so somewhere around 57 to 60 inches from the ground.
Then, from this central piece of artwork, they arrange all of their other pieces working outwards and keeping the spacing rule in mind. It can be very helpful to lay the entire arrangement out on the floor first. This will help you get a feel for how it will look when it is all put together and give you the option to make changes before making holes in your wall.
Rule Number Two Revised
If you have a grouping of artworks and want a bit more order to your gallery wall, you can use both the spacing and the height rules to form a grid. This works well for groups of two, three, or even four. This is a wonderful tip when you are hanging artwork over a piece of furniture.
Many interior designers select over-furniture pieces by their scale. The artwork should generally be around two-thirds the width of the table or sofa. If you have small artwork, try to pair it with other pieces of art to make a grid.
Opt for a shorter distance between frames, closer to 3 inches instead of six. For small-sized pieces, you could even arrange them 1.5 to 2.5 inches apart.
Then treat the entire group as a single piece of artwork. Looking at the outermost perimeter of the group, put the center at 57 to 60 inches above the floor, while also recalling the furniture guideline. The goal is to treat the pieces as a group and hang them as you would one large piece.
This will help them appear as one, coexisting instead of looking disconnected.
As mentioned, arranging the group on the floor first can help you figure out the exact placement before taking a nail to your walls.
Rule Three: Measure with a Mock Up
This rule applies to a single artwork, a grid, or a gallery wall. The adage “measure twice cut once” applies here, sort of. Measure twice or even three times before hanging anything, especially if you are using nails. It can be a pain to patch and paint “oops” nail holes.
An easier way to be absolutely sure of your placement before breaking out the power tools is by creating a mock-up first. Trace your frames onto paper and then cut them out. You can then hang them on your wall using tape or removable putty.
You can rearrange your artwork or change the height and placement as many times as you want. Once you are happy with how everything looks, make a light mark on the wall to indicate the correct spot, and then hang the real thing!
Hanging Doesn’t Have To Be a Hassle
Don’t let hanging your artwork give you a headache. With these three simple rules, you can get your favorite piece up on the wall hassle-free. Then sit back and enjoy its perfect placement.