I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to be blogging about solutions for some of the most common design mistakes. (You can read about the first one here.) On the top of my list of pet peeves is art that is hung without any rhyme, reason, or thought to the proportion of the wall where it’s hanging. I refer to it as “lost in space” because it often looks like a small frame floating away amid a huge expanse of wall.
This may seem like common sense, but just browse through real estate listing photos for five minutes, and you’ll see that where and how to hang art leaves a lot of people feeling confused.
When art is right in proportion and scale, it does a lot of good things, including accentuating the architecture of a room. It can also be a great distraction if you’re trying to disguise a not-so-great feature of your space (mauve carpeting, for example) by creating a much needed focal point.
Tips for hanging artwork:
- Don’t feel limited by your space. You can still hang big art in small rooms with low ceilings. In fact, taking your artwork almost to the ceiling can make a small space feel taller and more grand than it actually is.
- Artwork usually looks best when anchored by something (furniture or even another piece of art). . . It helps alleviate that “floating” effect I mentioned earlier.
- But, it can also work on a wall by itself if the scale is right. In these cases, I usually like to center it on the entire wall, both vertically and horizontally.
- Floating your art—especially something oversized—behind furniture is perfectly acceptable, and can create a beautiful backdrop.
image via LaurenLiess.com
Art doesn’t have to be centered on the entire wall. Instead, it can be centered within your furniture arrangement. (The entire gallery wall in our living room, below, is off-centered on the wall so that it can be in the middle of our seating area.)
- If you have a large room with a long wall, break it up into different “vignettes” instead of trying to tackle the wall as a whole.
- Gallery walls are great if you have a large amount of wall space to fill. Create an imaginary line around the height and width you want to cover, and go from there.
(I snapped this image at IKEA a few weeks ago.)
Start hanging frames at eye level and expand. (Nobody wants to have to jump up and down to enjoy what’s on their walls…)
- If you’re working with a tall room and aren’t sure how high to go with the artwork , create an invisible ceiling around the room, and hang everything below that.
- Stack for impact. Using tall rows of frames is an easy way to get a lot of bang for your decorating buck.
- And, my last piece of advice? Just hang it already! Too many people are afraid of doing it wrong, so they live with blank walls. I hang and rehang frames until I get it right. Even I have learned to spackle nail holes. That should be encouraging.
If you need ideas on what to hang on the huge wall behind your sofa, I did a post on that here.