Whether it is your children's art work, family photos or a favourite piece of art purchased from an art gallery, there is an art to hanging artwork...(pardon the pun). Many people are unsure when it comes to hanging objects on their walls. There are many questions and elements to consider before you decide to put your decorative objects onto your walls. There is the design rule of thumb that artwork should be hung so the centre of the picture is at eye level, but this could be a very confusing tip to most people. What if you are five feet tall and the others in your home are over six feet tall? Also, does the eye level rule apply to all sizes of artwork and pictures, or just large sizes? There are other elements to consider, like grouping of several pieces of framed art, pictures etc. Begin to think of the artwork you are hanging as it relates to everything around it. Make sure the art is in proportion to the wall space and surrounding pieces. A common decorating mistake is using art that is not in proportion to its environment. Whether it is a framed picture over the sofa, on a stairway wall or in a hall, each space will have elements to consider. When hanging artwork over a sofa, for example, the decorating rule of thumb is that the piece should span approximately two-thirds of the width of the sofa. If you're not sure how high to hang art on your walls, these tips offer helpful ideas for getting the best look when hanging artwork.
Here are some simple tips when displaying your pieces:
To avoid mistakes and save your walls from multiple holes due to trial and error first, cut paper templates the size of each piece of art, and attach the paper cutouts to the wall with painter's tape. This will give you the option to stand back and see how the artwork size relates to your room and your furniture. You can move the template up and down to find the perfect spot prior to hanging the picture.
It is said that hanging a picture or painting 60"-65" from the floor to the centre of the artwork is a good place to start. This ensures that the artwork is at about eye level for most adults. However, in cases where the room is used mainly for standing (as in an entryway or hallway), and especially if ceilings are tall or if the occupants of the home are six feet and above, you may want to hang artwork a bit higher.
If the room is used generally for sitting down (a dining room, family room, or office), hang pictures a bit lower, so they can be enjoyed at a lower viewing angle. Sit in a chair, use your paper templates against the wall, moving them up and down so you can evaluate the look.
Always relate your artwork to the furniture (as stated in the first tip). A large framed piece over a sofa should be hung, so the bottom of the frame is positioned 6" to 12" inches above the top of the sofa back or tabletop. A small piece of artwork will not work with a large sofa. In order for small pieces to work with a large sofa, you can consider hanging the piece in a group of other objects such as plates, mirrors, or decorative items.
When working with a grouping of pictures or objects hung on a wall, think of the grouping as one large picture, and relate the bottom of the entire grouping to the furniture underneath it.
Does the centre rule apply if you are hanging a tall vertical picture, panel, or poster? In this case, it may be better to think about placing the art so that the top one-third area of the picture is near eye level. However, the actual height of the piece will determine the best position on the wall. Again, use your paper templates lower and higher until you see what looks best.
Hanging a small picture on a large wall can look out of balance. Look for narrow walls (such as the spaces between two doorways or windows) and consider hanging two or three small pictures in a vertical line. In this case, treat the centre picture as the centre of the grouping. (The centre picture should be at eye level)
While grouping a collection of pictures or artwork, keep in mind, your eye reads left to right -like a book. Start by anchoring the grouping with the most visually striking piece on the left side. Whether it is larger in scale or greater contrast, the piece that makes the biggest statement should be on the left. Odd numbers are more interesting to the eye.
If you want a formal look, arrange the pieces symmetrically; if you want a casual look, create an asymmetrical arrangement.
For a cohesive look when using a mix of different pictures it is best to find a common element, such as subject matter, frame style, colour of frame or matte.
Mirrors, just like your artwork, need to have special consideration before mounting to your walls. They can make a room seem larger and add more light, but remember to be conscious of what it is reflecting. For instance, you may not want to see your laundry or your bathroom showing in your mirror.
To recap, the eye level rule and the decorator's rule of thumb you've heard about are just a general guidelines, but can be helpful as you begin to look for places to hang your art. Always view artwork in relation to a room's furnishings and try out various heights, on your paper templates before you punch holes in the wall for picture hooks.
Never be afraid to try something new like hang your own art and wall objects...Enjoy!
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