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the art of hanging art

Art comes in many different forms and mediums, and we are blessed to be surrounded by it. It can be inspiring, uplifting and set a tone for the spaces you are in. Do you ever look at a wall and notice that there is something doesn’t look right, when you should be looking at the art on the wall? Do you ever notice when art work is hung too high, too low or just off? We hate to be the bearer of bad new, however there is such a thing as hanging art wrong and when it is, it can really stand out. The good news is, we can give some simple tips and tricks to help you dodge those mistakes and really make your art work stand out and speak for itself.


There is art to hanging art, so let’s get to it! Let’s start with the plan, because every good mission has a plan, right?!


1. Lay it out…literally on the floor with ideal spacing. This helps you see it as a whole before you are committed with holes in your wall.


2. Take paper (paper bags, wrapping paper, craft paper) and cut it to the same size as the overall frame and art work. Use painters’ tape and start with your main piece on the wall. Work around and outward from that piece. This allows you to move it around, stand back and look at it. You don’t have to damage the wall before knowing if you love it or hate it.


3. There are so many different combinations for layouts. There is no wrong layout, some like balance, some like odd numbers verses even, and sometimes having all pieces different sizes and shapes pushes you think outside your layout box. Take these layouts for starters.


4. Next let’s move onto getting it on the wall!


There are so many neat little gadgets, or maybe you use the old school tape measure and pencil, or have you ever thought of using tooth paste so it will disappear? Here are the tips and tricks to each….


Gadgets & Gizmos | Sometimes all you need is a simple way to hang the art. Take this idea for example. Start by placing a tack or nail on paper, and place it in the tooth hook. As you go to hang the art, simply press on your artwork to mark the spot. Then slid the art up and off the paper, leaving the tack in the wall with the paper. This works best for single hooks.


Levels | Level that art as no one needs a learning tower of Pisa on their wall, ha! If you work bottom up, it is easier to set on top of your art like you see below.


Tape measure + pencil | We have no shame in the old school game. However, a major time saver would be to combine these with a laser! Make sure you are measuring with the hooks fully extended as if it was hung on the wall.


Tooth paste | You heard it right… toothpaste! Just a dab will do the trick! Put a tiny bit on the back hook, and as you hold the art up to the wall it will leave the dab on the wall. This helps greatly with spacing when there is multiple hooks. The key is to make sure you use your level or laser once you have the paste on the wall. The neat trick is that it will be easy to wipe off, and depending on the tooth paste you use, it disappears once it dries.


5. Understanding how much, how high and for what space? Here are some key tips and tricks for hanging art in your spaces.


How far above floor?

This is where art goes wrong most of the time as it is hung too high. When by its self on a wall, hang it at eye level to the center of the picture which is typically between 56-60” from the floor. When hanging one directly above another, treat two art pieces as one large picture with the center point between them being 56 – 60″ from the floor.


How many inches to hang above bed?

When hanging artwork above a bed or other piece of furniture, leave 5 – 9″ of space between the top of the furniture piece and the bottom of the frame. This rule of thumb can be used for hanging art over a console or chest of drawers as well as a sofa or headboard.


How far apart when doing a gallery?

You should use anywhere between 1-3” between pieces when composing a gallery wall. Smaller pieces should be closer and larger pieces should have larger spacing… the key when spacing is keeping the scale of art appropriate to the scale of spacing.


Layering with hanging art

We are big fans of layering of anything… so when it comes to an area like mantles, you might hang some in combination with leaning or stacking. Making sure you see enough art like a mirror in the background and other art, keeping the texture in front will make it pop. Keep in mind to use the rule of thirds (or less) where you only cover a third of the art that is behind others.


There are so many spaces where art can go and it make a huge statement of the space. Getting the plan figured out will assure that you are doing it right! And always remember...... "art is not what you see, but what you make others see" - Edgar Degans.



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