How to Hang Art Like a Pro
Posted on February 25, 2020
Do you have a stack of artwork leaned up against a bedroom wall? Do you have some family pictures collecting dust in a hallway? Or perhaps you have some local art for your office, but it remains tucked away in a closet? Are these pieces in the way or cluttering up an already too-packed closet because you’re not sure how to hang them correctly?
Framed artwork on the walls is a great compliment to beautiful wood floors. So if you’re ready, dust off those frames and grab your hammers because you are about to be armed with everything you need in order to hang art like a pro in your home or office.
Every job requires the proper tool . .
. . so say Steve Martin’s character in the film, Roxanne, and we happen to agree. You definitely need the right tools.
Begin by considering the size, weight, and shape of the pieces you wish to hang. As well, consider the wall material. This will inform you on the types of tools you need. For example, if you have brick or plaster walls, you will have to forgo traditional hammer and nails, and purchase anchors and screws for the project.
No matter the wall material, you will need a tape measure, pencil, hammer, and an assortment of nails—and perhaps wall anchors, screws, and a trusty drill. If you wish to minimize wall punctures, grab some command strips from your local hardware store.
When it comes to hanging, the height of placement is key.
The most important thing to get right is the height of the placement.
As you survey the wall and the amazing museum art print you just had to have, a poster from your summer excursion to Bonaroo, or the landscape painting from a local artist, you want the middle of the piece to be roughly eye level with the person standing in front of it.
At Real Wood Floors, we like the 57-inch rule. The average human eye level is 57 inches, just shy of five feet. So the center of your artwork of framed picture should be 57 inches above the floor.
Typically, Americans hang their pieces too high. When you put your artwork at the proper height, then it will be attractive aesthetically, given it is in closer proximity to other elements of your home or office like furniture and lighting. In addition, folks want have to vault their heads upward to see that rare print you’re proud of.
Let’s say you want to hang a picture of a family vacation to the Chaco Canyon Ruins or the Florida Keys above your living room sofa, you’ll need approximately ten inches above the back of the couch for clearance of your family’s and friends’ heads. The same is true for tables—you want to ensure folks aren’t backing their chairs (or their noggins) into your favorite pic on the wall.
While you’re surveying the perfect spots, make sure not to get too linear. In other words, despite any compulsion you might have for order or straight lines, you want to avoid putting the top of the picture in a straight line from a door or window—simply because of the aesthetic value. It is much more interesting to create a variety of heights, and it’s more like life, we believe. You want your friends or clients to feel at ease amid a subtle and unique display.
Command strips, photographs, and rails for the perfect fit.
To ensure proper placement of your artwork, consider using a command strip or taking photos.
You can do a trial run with a glue-adhesive command strip. Apply the strip to the back of the piece or pieces then place them on the wall. Once you have the command strip and art in the place, you can then remove the command strip and replace it with a nail. You can mount multiple pieces in multiple ways, take photos of each setup, and then compare to see which is best.
When you’ve decided on placement, and if you don’t wish to have a large number of nails in your wall and don’t trust adhesive stripes (we don’t), you can invest in picture shelves or rails. This is a good strategy, too, if you like to rearrange often, which some of us do here at Real Wood Floors.
What about your must-have gallery wall?
Many of us like to have a gallery wall at home.
We’ll be honest. They are difficult but if you rely on your instincts, you’ll be in good shape. Think of your grouping on the gallery wall as one big picture. Start by laying out your framed pictures, paintings, must-haves on your floor.
Though you might be tempted to do so, don’t start with the biggest in the middle. Put it off to the side and build around it. Remember to keep balance in mind from one side to the other. Make sure not to have a picture or ensemble section float up on the wall on its own. Also, try to have a good number of different shapes and sizes. You can use matching frames or clashing. It is up to you.
Once you have the layout as you like it, stand on a chair or stepstool and snap a photo. Rearrange as needed. You can also try the technique mentioned above and use command strips and place your pieces directly on the wall.
If you get stuck, there are lots of online resources for predesigned gallery walls. When you’re finished, sit back and enjoy the scene. If friends or clients join you and sit on the sofa, we know they won’t bang their heads against the art.
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