Ya know… I’ve never actually done a post about how to hang art.
I’ve certainly done lots of inspiration posts. And, a while back, I created several templates you can copy to make your own custom art wall.
But, never have I gone over the rules to hang art.
And, when I say “how to hang art,” I don’t mean physically hang art.
That’s so not my area of expertise, it’s not funny. Sorry.
Where I hope that I excel is in cracking the whip!
That is, telling the installer or client how to hang art in terms of the size of the art and where it goes.
And yes, in case you’re wondering this is going to be part of the new guide coming out on Friday that’s filled with dozens of decorating rules. Or, rather decorating approximations.
If you missed Tuesday night’s post, we went over the living room lighting rules.
But, if you’re interested to know more about it, please click on the link above.
So, let’s dive in. I imagine that many of you are trying to quickly spruce up your homes for the holidays.
First, I’m going to go over some of the most common mistakes I see when hanging art.
And, the number one answer is:
The art is too small for the wall and the furniture it’s going over. And, in the case above, it is also hung too high. The ruler on the right is approximately 1 inch = 1 foot.
The sofa is Serena and Lily’s Miramar sofa at 86″ long and the art is from McGee & Co. That particular piece is part of an 11 piece set, but sold individually.
And, it comes in two sizes. Above, you can see some of the prints in the smaller size. Therefore, we’ll be able to look at numerous ways to hang the art, that does look good.
RULE: Whether doing a single piece of art, the width should be a minimum of half the width of the sofa or piece of furniture, it’s going over.
RULE: The art should be approximately 6″ – 8″ above the piece of furniture. This holds true whether it’s a single piece of art or an entire art wall.
This is my living room that I’ve shown a lot.
Actually, my painting is a little low at about 4.5″ above the sofa. But, it was so difficult to get that piece to hang on the nail, that we just left it.
Two more common mistakes are this arrangement with art that’s too small and too far apart.
Rule: The standard distance when hanging more than one piece of art in a grouping of two or more, is to hang each piece abouto 2″-3″ away from the adjacent piece(s).
How Big Should a Single piece of Art Be?
When hanging a single piece, the art should be from one-half the width to three-quarters the width of the sofa.
RULE; Some say two-thirds should be the maximum. And, I agree that looks terrific. Because of the perspective, it’s a little difficult to tell. However, I think it’s okay to go a little larger than two-thirds.
This is from a project we did a few years ago. You can see more of this lovely home, here.
This art is almost as wide as the sofa. I didn’t know about the art before designing the room. Have to say I love it, however. In an ideal situation, I’d probably prefer if the art were 10% smaller. But, if there’s one rule I have.
RULE: When it comes to art, it’s better to err on the side of a little too large than way too small. Of course, it depends on the room and also on the art.
Back to how to hang art when using two pieces over the sofa
We saw how not to do it early.
RULE: Not only the width should be considered, but also the height.
I feel that the art should most likely take up at least half of the available height between the top of the sofa and the ceiling. That is a rule I’ve never seen before.
RULE: IF the art isn’t going over anything, then it should be centered at about eye level, on the wall. This, would make it between 55″ – 66″. But, a lot depends on the ceiling height. If the ceiling is very high, then the art can go a little higher.
RULE: To best decide placement before putting holes in the wall, you can do mock elevations like this on picmonkey.com. (for an easy tutorial, click here). Or, you can put paper templates on the wall like you can see in this post.
This is the smaller version of the beige abstract prints. This looks nice for a 10-foot ceiling. You might be able to get away with this for a 9-foot ceiling. But, definitely, you could only do two rows for an 8-foot ceiling.
This is reminding me of this art wall, clients of mine did in their small family room.
One more configuration for a 10-foot ceiling using four of the larger beige abstract prints from McGee & Co.
What about how to hang art on a wall where there’s no furniture?
RULE: There should always be some breathing room. A large piece should have at least a foot of wall space, on either side.
But, if doing a bunch of small pieces like lovely Maura Endres did below, then the standard 2″-3″ should be okay.
Above is another art wall template I made which you can see more of in this post. Here, I left 3″-4″ (and a little more in some areas) of wall space for breathing room.
Does the art always have to be less wide than the sofa?
RULE: Not at all. It really depends on the size of the wall, the style of the room. There is no hard and fast rule here.
So, to re-cap. When it comes to hanging art, these are the worst offenses, to avoid.
- art that is too small (and lonely)
- art that is hung catty corner
- Pieces of art that are hung too far apart
- Hanging too close together can be a problem too. The exception would be a large map made out of say 12 or 16 prints.
- Hanging art too high.
- And, actually, hanging art too low can look strange.
PS: It is possible that there won’t be a post this coming Tuesday. I haven’t decided yet. Very rare. But, if not, no worries. Friday is the day the new comprehensive home furnishings rules guide comes out and also the 6th Edition of Laurel’s Rolodex.
Everyone who purchases any of the Laurel Home Guides between now and the end of the year will be getting this guide for free. And, if you purchased any guides since December 2018, you’ll also get the new guide for free.
More on Friday!
PPS: I’m taking most of the day off today. So, I’m leaving the comment moderation off, meaning you won’t have to wait to see your comment published.