For most people, one of the most daunting tasks of interior design is selecting artwork for their homes. Just finding artwork they like and can also afford is difficult enough. When you add in the task of deciding where and how to place it, it’s enough to make some people keep their walls bare for a very long time. But, with some tricks of the trade and images to inspire, you can hang your artwork with confidence and say goodbye to walls that are more at home in an institution.
Here are some tips I share with my clients and some artful arrangements.
Artwork should usually be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at eye level. Of course, this is not always possible, nor is everyone’s eye level the same. The rule of thumb is 57”. The average human eye-height is 57” and is often used as a standard in many galleries and museums.
Now, how to arrange the art? A great trick used by many interior designers is to see the art arrangement on the wall before every lifting a hammer. To do this, trace the outline of each piece of art onto paper, cut it out and use blue painter’s tape to position the outlines on the wall. You can then rearrange the outlines until you find a pleasing arrangement, and without putting multiple holes in your wall. And remember, a grouping of pictures should be considered one unit. The center of the overall arrangement should be at eye level.
Symmetrical arrangements are a common and pleasing choice. Symmetrical simply means the arrangement is a mirror image of itself when divided in half. Symmetry adds balance and formality, and has a calming effect. This arrangement shows the impact of repetition and symmetry. And by filling the entire space from the top of the sofa to the ceiling, the artwork immediately draws the eye and becomes the focal point of the room.
Of course, symmetry isn’t the only way to go. I love this asymmetrical arrangement of empty frames. The seemingly haphazard arrangement is extremely eye-catching, while the use of the frames themselves as artwork adds even more visual interest. Asymmetry also creates a more casual arrangement. This group finds cohesion through the presence of a common element: color. Different sizes and styles of pictures and frames can be hung together as long as they share a common feature, such as color or subject matter.
This arrangement, which I installed at a client’s home, is a happy medium; neither completely symmetrical, nor asymmetrical. Casual, yet orderly, it’s a great way to display a large collection. And don’t be afraid to completely cover the space. Using the entire wall to display art or a collection only increases its impact and looks great!
Odd spaces and angles often present the most challenges when selecting and placing artwork, but it’s important to remember there really are no rules. Any arrangement you find pleasing to the eye is the right arrangement. In this image, the designer simply chose to use an asymmetrical arrangement and fill the space as allowed.
Naturally, the easiest arrangement is a single piece of artwork. It’s hard to deny the impact of one large piece of art. This painting makes a bold statement with color and size, and refuses to be ignored! Large art works beautifully when wall space allows, just make sure it underscores the mood of the room and is balanced by other furnishings. The piece should complement, not dominate, the space even if it is the focal point of the room.
Image sources: 1) Better Homes & Gardens, 2) House Beautiful, 3) Martha Stewart, 4) Barbara Gilbert Interiors, 5)Veranda, 6) House Beautiful.