Hanging art is an art. Heck, decorating is an art all unto itself, so it only follows that one must have an artistic sensibility to do a great job. The thing is, not all of us has an artistic sensibility, most of all, me. I can honestly say that I have good taste in artwork, so in that regard, I’m one step ahead of the game. Also, good taste is entirely subjective, so what one person likes, another hates and that’s okay. However, if you do know what you like and why, you have an advantage. This gives you a starting point upon which to build. So what do we, the unartistically inclined public do about such a conundrum? Here are a few tips to consider when hanging your most precious pictures and artwork throughout your house.
Find the right height. I once heard that the center of all your pieces should be 57 inches above the floor. This height is the average height of our eyes, so for most people, 57 inches makes any piece of art easy to appreciate. Personally, I think hanging everything at exactly the same height offers a uniformity that I find boring. Yes, it looks professional, and yes your guests will immediately appreciate the scientific approach you took if all of your frames are centered at that height, but I prefer a slightly more eclectic approach. I like to take a piece, hang it at that height, and then put the next piece a little up or down from that. To me, this requires the viewer’s eyes to be guided in an interesting fashion that will make certain details pop out that otherwise wouldn’t.
Find the right theme. I like to hang my pictures according to some kind of theme. This keeps my walls organized in some kind of fashion. You can organize by artist, or color scheme or content. For example, in my living room, one of my walls is all pictures from a trip that I took to Portugal many years ago. They’re some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken, and I’m proud to show them off to my friends and guests. However, I’m also really into artwork. I have a number of paintings done by compulsive artists. These pictures are very busy and hyper-detailed. It’s kind of difficult to look at them for too long, you might get a headache. Because of this, I like to keep these pieces a bit more independent, with some breathing space between them. My room has a lot of music related pictures and posters. I like to go to concerts and I like to get the poster whenever I can. It reminds of the night of the show and gives an inviting/biographical taste to my room. I guess it just makes it more mine.
My advice when hanging art is to start with these suggestions and then play around with them a little bit. Plan the room out instead of just starting with one picture and then moving on to the next. This way, you’ll be able to picture everything all at once. Lastly, have a friend help you out. You’ll be able to have him or her hold up your pictures and have the freedom to stand back and say, “higher.” Or, “lower.”