Tips from a Professional Decorator on How to Hang Artwork


Incorrectly hanging artwork can have a devastating effect on the overall aesthetic of a room. This refers to the grotesque effect of hanging something extremely high or shallow, giving the impression that you live amongst Lilliputians or Brobdingnagians, respectively. As soon as it’s installed, it puts everything out of kilter, highlighting the room’s flaws while drawing less attention to the Artwork itself. It’s shocking even for the casual observer. So, how high up on the wall should it go? How can you best arrange your artwork to make a cohesive, meaningful statement encapsulating who you are and what you want to say? Lastly, how can you ensure your artwork hangs securely and won’t fall on your dinner guests or you while sitting down? Here are some guidelines that have been very useful to me:

Contrary to popular belief, a small, lightweight screw or framing nail is all needed to hold your artwork securely in place. Despite common assumptions, a picture-hanging hook is always the superior choice. Although picture hooks (as opposed to nails or screws) may appear delicate, they are designed to support your artwork’s weight in a much more scientific manner by penetrating the wall at an angle, which spreads the weight more evenly and safely. This is a matter of Physics, which I, unfortunately, ignored in school. You must purchase the appropriate hook for the weight of your artwork, though, for this method to work. Picture hooks and weight-based solutions come in a wide variety. Items weighing 30 pounds or less can be hung on a single nail picture hook, whereas those weighing 50 pounds or more require two nails, and those weighing 75 to 100 pounds require three. There are probably entire sections of Home Depot or Lowes devoted to this very task.

For my sanity, I like to hang two pictures on each hook. This provides an extra layer of protection and keeps artwork from leaning over time, which is a common effect of cleaning, large gatherings, or vibrations on artwork hung with a single hook. Instead of using wire on the rear of the frame, two D-rings installed into the frame of the artwork work best. By inserting the hooks at an angle into the wall at two spots rather than one, the weight of the artwork is evenly distributed. Despite the additional effort required to hang the artwork, the result is far greater stability. Remember the old proverb, “Measure three times, drill or hammer only once.” Hanging it securely from the D-rings eliminates the risk of a pendulum effect, which places excessive strain on the art’s support structure if allowed to occur. Of course, this is more labor-intensive, as you’ll need a level and ruler to align the picture hooks and D-rings properly.

Don’t just slap a big painting over the sofa and another over the console without giving any thought to the mood you want to create or the message you want to send, and never, ever hang anything that doesn’t have personal significance to you. A “right-hand man/woman” is helpful when hanging art, especially if you want to achieve a gallery-like effect. A second pair of eyes is ALWAYS helpful. Helpfully, having someone else hold up a potential purchase can reveal the piece’s proportions, the influence of neighboring colors on the piece or vice versa, and how it complements the room’s overarching Design.

One large or medium-sized item The rule of thumb is to hang artwork so that its center is 60 inches from the floor, while this is very dependent on the individual room and the arrangement of its furnishings. The same logic applies to hanging two separate components together. Find the midpoint between them, then apply the same 60-inch height criterion as a single object. If I hang several pieces of art on the same wall, I like to leave about two or three inches of space between each piece.

You aren’t limited to arranging things on a grid (though that might produce a striking impact in a very contemporary or minimal space). Try arranging things in a gallery installation or “Salon” manner. This can be accomplished by assembling a collection of seemingly random artworks, artifacts, mirrors, and valued possessions into a stunning installation for next to nothing. They develop strength in numbers and can completely alter an environment. Remember that nothing is set in stone, and you can rearrange the furniture in your room at any time. It will give your home a new lease of life and inject some much-needed excitement. I have always had a “thing” for gallery walls and how a sexy and vivid grouping of Art can entirely alter a room from ordinary to extraordinary.

The most important thing is to try different grouping arrangements, such as random, grid-like, asymmetric, symmetric, wall-to-wall, and floor-to-ceiling. Since there is no universal truth, you should feel safe trying new styles. Alternatively, you can utilize the same frame size and finish repeatedly while switching out the artwork inside. If you want to quickly check which alternative looks best in your room, you can tap newspaper templates to the walls with painter’s tape. Then step back and experiment with different setups until you find one that “feels right.” Don’t be afraid to make your house reflect who you are and how you want to live.

Great design is fundamentally about setting the stage for the beauty and quality of life we all strive for. Robin and his crew have successfully designed various styles, from ultra-urban to extravagant magnificence. Magazines all across the world have featured Robin’s beautiful interior designs. Robin’s interior design work can be seen in cinemas, and major retail outlets, including Home Depot (Style Ideas Magazine) and Designer Showhouse. Robin’s keen and imaginative vision oversees all elements, from minor interior projects to large-scale restorations and developments. Robin is well-versed in all areas of interior design. Still, she is incredibly enthusiastic about preserving architectural history and bringing out the best in her clients by designing beautiful, practical, and unforgettable environments that honor and highlight existing structures.

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