As a lover of art, I’m always switching out paintings, prints, and wall hangings in my home. I love a collection of baskets on a wall as much as I adore a pairing of botanical or mid-century abstract prints. But then comes the fun part: hanging the artwork! Knowing where to correctly hang artwork can be tricky, and artwork hung too high is probably one of the most common design mistakes I see.
After years of hanging art in my own home or in the homes we stage, I’ve gathered my top tips for how to correctly hang artwork:
Hang single pieces at eye level. I recommend hanging the center of a single piece of art 60 inches from the floor. If you’re hanging art above a sofa or dresser (or any piece of furniture), hanging the bottom of the art four to six inches above the top of the furniture is a good rule of thumb.
Always consider scale when hanging art. Art should span approximately two-thirds of the width of the furniture it will be above, so if your sofa is 90 inches in length, the art piece should be approximately 60 inches in length.
A little secret: If you love a piece of art but it isn’t the correct scale, then hang two of the same piece above your furniture to achieve a professional look.
Treat multiple pieces as one. When hanging multiple pieces of art, treat them as one and hang the center of the grouping 60 inches from the floor. Be sure to space art in a grouping only a few inches apart from each other so they look like they’re meant to belong together.
Always use two nails when hanging mirrors or other heavy pieces. It’s tempting to run a piece of picture wire from the two hooks on the back of the mirror you just purchased, but please don’t. Heavy objects come with two hooks for a reason: the distribution of weight. The weight of an item can cause wire to snap, and your mirror will come crashing down. Trust me: I’ve seen it happen.
Lean it. If your artwork is above an entry table or console, one option is to place the art on top of your console and lean it against the wall. If you do so, I still recommend securing the art to the wall. Try styling the top of the table with several pieces of art in different sizes leaned up against the wall, then add a few decorative objects and you’ve got a professionally styled entry.
Hopefully these tips will help you feel less intimidated by the prospect of adorning your walls. Choose artwork that speaks to you and have fun with it! Unlike some bigger design projects, there’s minimal expense involved with hanging art. And if you change your mind or want to refresh your walls, you can switch things up again for a whole new look.
Christine S. Cowles is owner of Styled & Staged Santa Barbara, offering home staging and interior styling services. She is a certified Staging Design Professional™, member of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.