Hanging art incorrectly is probably the interior-decorating mistake most often made. The majority of people that cross my path, whether it is a new client or a friend, get nervous when I enter their home for the first time. I almost always face the question whether I am analising all their mistakes. I can truthfully answer that I rather focus on the potential in every home I see. But when it comes to art hung incorrectly, I struggle to not see the obvious mistake as my eyes are drawn to it the whole time. I do however not judge, but hope my client or friend will allow me to help them correct their mistake(s).
Most wall art pieces are hung too high. As a general rule of thumb art should be at eye level. But, and there is always a but….. Not when you are exceptionally tall or your ceiling is really low. When hanging wall art for a client, all other possible factors set aside, I work on an eye level of 175cm off the floor. If the art piece is 100cm high, the top of the art piece should be at 225cm off the floor (175cm + half of height of piece, being 50cm, = 225cm).
If the art piece is very tall, eye level will obviously not work. For instance, if a piece is 200cm high and the ceiling is 270 high, it would make more sense to hang the piece in the middle of the wall (therefore 35cm off the floor). If the ceiling is very high, rather hang the large art piece lower than higher. But the view on a artwork is also influenced by the furniture in front or surrounding it. A very tall art piece can also look gorgeous if just place upright against the wall or on a piece of furniture.
Remember to consider the size of the art in comparison to the size of the wall. Proportion is everything. Rather too big than too small, as small pieces of art will seem lost on a large wall.
Hanging an art piece or pieces above a sofa is a great way of creating a focal point in a room. But there are a few rules to consider. In order to create balance, the artwork (or grouping) should be at least 2/3 the length of the sofa. Considering the height of the ceiling and the size of the artwork, it should be hung 20 – 25cm above the sofa. The picture(s) should not be wider than the sofa as it will overwhelm the furniture instead of enhancing it. A handy tip is to try and have someone hold the artwork in position while you step back and have a look to ensure the height is perfect.
For a collection of art you need to treat the entire collection as one piece. For proper spacing, leave no more than 5 -10 centimeter between each frame. If the pieces are hung too far apart it will seem as though you are trying to fill the wall instead of connecting the piece with each other. Groupings actually look best if spaced tightly together (no more than 2.5 – 5 centimeters apart). If there is a slightly bigger piece in the group, give it some extra space (an extra 1 – 2.5 centimeters should be enough).
When selecting art for a picture collage it is easiest if you stick to the same medium (e.g. black and white prints, water colours, a specific collection by an artist etc). Depending on your interior decorating style, the pieces can either be the same or of varied sizes. Try and stick to the same framing and mat glass finish. If you want to mix it up, remember to keep it balanced and harmonious.
To avoid a bunch of unnecessary holes in your wall, carefully plan out your collage first. When working with multiple frames, try to stick to a specific layout shape, e.g. square, rectangle or triangle. Stick same as real size brown-paper shapes onto the wall to visualize the collage. Move them around until you are satisfied. If you use straight set rows (where artwork sizes are the same) remember to use a piece of string stretched between two pins and a spirit level to make sure your bottom line is straight.
I know it sounds tricky, and yes, sometimes it is. But remember that no rule is set in stone, even I break my own rules from time to time. If unsure, rather ask a professional.