One thing that many people find daunting when moving to a new home is all of the large blank walls and the task of hanging their treasured pictures and artwork on them. While they’d like to personalize their new space they are often concerned about putting holes in the walls. They are uncomfortable hanging artwork as they are not confident in their ability to select the right spots.
I have been in homes months, and sometimes a year or more after people have moved in and found that their pictures and artwork were still leaned up against walls instead of hung on the walls.
Please don’t go a year without hanging pictures in your new homes! A home should be enjoyed and your artwork on the walls contributes greatly to this enjoyment. Increase your confidence and make it more comfortable and enjoyable by trying a few of these tips.
First thing to do is to relax. Nail holes in walls barely show and are easily filled. Even though professionally trained in interior decorating, I still don’t pick the exact right spot on the first try every time. C’est la vie! Take it down and try it somewhere else! It’s really no big deal.
After you have relaxed a bit there are some rules of thumb that can also help.
Most people tend to hand artwork too high on the wall — The higher their ceilings the higher the artwork! But artwork really looks best when displayed closer to eye level and below. As such the one big rule you should remember is “57 inches on center”. This simply means that the center of the piece you are hanging should be about 57 inches above the floor. This is how art galleries and museums do it and it is how you can make sure that your artwork is hung at the most appropriate and aesthetically pleasing height. This rule applies whether your interior ceiling height is 10 feet or 30 feet.
If you are trying to position a cluster or grouping of pieces the same rule applies. First put the artwork that will make up your grouping on the floor or other surface to identify a layout you like. Look at the cluster as if it is one piece of art and identify 57 inches on center. I have seen some people do this on butcher paper so that they can trace the frames onto the paper and then use the template to position the pieces on the wall. Get creative and do what works for you!
Of course there are exceptions to every rule and this is certainly the case in positioning artwork on your walls. What if you are hanging artwork over credenzas, headboards, couches, a fireplace or above wainscoting or chair rails? Try and see if the 57″ rule works. But remember not all artwork can go in every spot. Above credenzas or tables large square artwork or groupings are appropriate and generally these should be hung 6-8 inches above the surface of the table or credenza. Same rule generally applies to sofas that are placed against walls. Hanging artwork over headboards is a matter of personal taste but should generally be avoided if the headboard stands higher than about 4′ off of the floor. Also, be wary of what is positioned on the wall above sleeping peoples heads as we do live on an earthquake prone island.
Another tip is to try to find the implied line around the room that is marked by the tops of doorways and/or windows. Sometimes this line may also be set by cabinets, bookshelves or armoirs. Imagine if you ran string in a straight horizontal line along the wall at the top of these all the way around a room. Generally speaking no artwork should really extend above this line.
Hopefully this helps make finding spots and positioning your artwork much easier next time you move or redecorate!