Hanging Artwork: Where to Start
Hanging artwork transforms a house into a home by making it warm and inviting without a single spoken word. Whether it is an exhilarating abstract or a captured personal moment, art can bring life, love and character to your walls.
For those who like things neat and orderly, a wonky frame or crooked painting is a sure cause for a headache! Hanging artwork on a wall might seem like a straightforward task. But when it comes to pulling off the perfect parallel, there is more to it than you might think. So where do you start?
Hooked, Safe and Secure
Hung artwork needs to be safe, secure and set snugly on a wall. Ensure this by using picture-hanging hooks. Although they might look dainty, picture-hanging hooks are equipped with a particular design for hanging artwork. Different to nails or screws, picture-hooks ‘wedge’ into the wall, creating a secure and reliable point of leverage for your framed piece.
When hanging anything larger than 20x25cm you should use two hooks. When determining where to put the hooks, use a spirit level to ensure that the picture will hang straight. This will help distribute the picture's weight more evenly and your picture will hang straight without constant adjustment.
The Right Kind of Light
Care should be taken to hang the artwork in an area where it will not become damaged by heat, ultra-violet light or humidity. Hang your artwork out of the line of direct sunlight. In sunny environments, or in areas that are lit with fluorescent lighting, consider using conservation quality UV filtering glass. Never hang your valuable artwork over a heat source or in an area that will be high in humidity (such as a steamy bathroom).
There are two basic lighting techniques available for your home: ambient 'room' lighting or 'spot' lighting. Room lighting is often preferable for the home because it allows the artwork to blend in with the rest of the room.
Spotlights on the other hand, make a piece 'pop' - a nice touch for really special pieces. Spot lighting can be dramatic (using can lighting or light strips that are fixed to the wall or the frame itself) or subtle (using room lamps strategically placed to give ample direct light to the piece). When using spotlights be careful not to create shadows by using strong lights on a deep frame. Remember to keep your wiring as invisible as possible.
Too High or Too Low?
The million-dollar question for any art fan is ‘how high do I hang my artwork from the ground?’ There are varying opinions as to how high is too high, and what height is just right.
In order to compliment the adult human form, we recommend hanging artwork about 150 centimeters from the floor, or at the eye-level of the average person who will visit the room. If you are hanging the art in a room where more time is spent seated than standing, eye-level should be lower. Naturally our gaze will rest at a point that is lower than our height. Hanging artwork 150 cm from the floor will prevent any strain in the neck or eyes.
Hang smaller, more detailed pieces in small spaces such as hallways and corridors, where impact is less important than content and the artwork can be enjoyed up close. Larger, 'atmospheric' pieces require more room for the viewer to stand back and enjoy. Hang these pieces opposite the entrance to a room or at the end of a corridor.
Making Images Belong
Unless you are striving for an eclectic antique shop look, groupings should look as though they belong together. Select frame styles that are compatible and matting styles that will work well together and create a balanced, unified look to the group as a whole. Spacing is an important element in grouping. Each picture should be placed not too far from nor too close to each other.
The most commonly recommended way to create balance in a grouping is to lay the entire layout on the floor. This will allow you to get a sense of how the grouping will look on the wall, allowing for adjustments and accurate measurements. Also you should align the top or bottom of the various pictures in the group.
Where do I hang my art?
Wall art can capture, convey and communicate many different things, inevitably having influence on the atmosphere of your home. To create a ‘feel’ for your home that matches your personality and suits your needs, think carefully about where you choose to hang your artwork. And remember, each artwork is unique and so too is the room it is set in.
A Bedroom Piece
Your bedroom is where you start your day. Wall art can help you start it the right way! There is a lot more to a good mood than simply waking up on the right side of the bed. Waking up to positive, energizing artwork will put you in good stead for the day ahead.
Abstract artwork with a strong mix of colour is the perfect addition to your bedroom wall. Colour changes our emotions and can influence the way we feel at any given moment. The colour blue, for example, is calming and leaves us feeling reassured. Hang wall art in your bedroom that can make you feel positive and energised.
Your bedroom is a good place to hang artwork that is personal to you. It is your very own space, your domain, where what you say goes! You decide the décorand design, from the style of the lampshades to the colour of the curtains. The same should go for artwork.
Hang artwork in your bedroom that reflects who you are. We all have traits and qualities that make us unique; sometimes it can be hard to put these things into words, but it is easy with artwork! Whether you are loud and adventurous, or shy but self-assured, let artwork hung in your bedroom reflect your character in the real world.
Escape ... to your bathroom! Hair brushing and teeth brushing aside, the bathroom is a place to pamper, primp and indulge. Choose artwork that takes your mind on a holiday, perhaps paintings or images that allow you to escape the everyday. A beach scene or an island setting would be ideal for this!
For a lot of us, the bathroom is the only place where we spend time alone. It is where we can truly be ourselves. It is a place where we can be bold and creative. Did you ever think why it is that we sing in the shower? Choose artwork for your bathroom that nurtures your artistic self; such pictures or images that make you feel free, fun loving and inspired.
Art to Live With: Living Area Art
Have you heard the term ‘a Statement Piece?’ Undoubtedly, the living area of your home is where you would normally choose to hang these. Glam and eye catching, Statement Art can be abstract, classical or contemporary.
When we host guests, friends or extended family we often gravitate towards the living areas of our home. Let your guests admire your prized possession and showcase that artistic heirloom!
If you're looking for the perfect piece for your kitchen, cuisine-based prints are the way to go. When in Rome, right? Artistic images of feature food and herbs and spices are the perfect way to spruce up a kitchen setting.
A kitchen isn't just a place of work. It's often the place you brew a coffee and sit for a chat with a friend. Mimic this homeliness in your wall art with a good print or poster featuring coffee or tea.
There you have it. There is a lot to think about when hanging artwork. We recommend that you take it step-by-step. Think of how you would like to hang your artwork, and where you would like it to be hung. But at the same time be sure to not over think it and listen to your instincts.
Richard Tarrant - Bio
Richard is founder and CEO of PictureStore and has worked since October 2000 to make wall art accessible to all Australians. Google+