Nail the art of framing and hanging

You’ve found that perfect piece of art and all you want to do is display it on your walls so the world too can appreciate its beauty and applaud your excellent taste. But you’re slightly stumped as to how to achieve that optimal effect. Good thing then that we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you achieve art arrangement zen.

Location, location, location
The first step on the road to display bliss is to decide where your newly purchased masterpiece is going to live. The most important thing to consider when thinking about where and how to display art in your home is how you use your space. Think about how you use each room, what you require from the space, and how you want to feel when you’re in there.

It’s also important to think about the size of wall, how it is lit in the daytime as well as the evening, and the decor or feeling of the room. What you might choose for a private space might not be entirely appropriate in the kitchen.

To frame, or not to frame?
Once you know where you are going to place your treasured work, you can think about framing it, or changing the frame and mount it came with to really make it work in your space. Do some research into the various options available; it’s a great idea to spend some time chatting with a local artwork framer, they’ll be happy to suggest what would and wouldn’t work with the particular piece.

Of course, you don’t always have to frame your artworks – it’s a matter of personal taste. Paintings on box canvases, for instance, are often left unframed and can be hung directly on to the wall. For more fragile artworks, such as prints or drawings on paper, framing is not only a way of increasing their visual impact, but also a way of protecting and preserving your collection for years to come.

Whatever you choose to do, your guiding principle should be that the focal point is the art, not the frame. You don’t want the frame to outshine the art. Another great tip when choosing frames is to pick something that enhances the appeal of the work, and not something to match the furniture. Then it’s no big deal if you fancy a spot of rearranging, your work will still be magnifique no matter where you move it!

What height is right?
Now you have your beautifully framed artwork and choice wall space, all that’s left is to get it hanging just right. And how do you do that, we hear you ask. Well, planning makes perfect, we say!

When it comes to hanging height, the general rule is that the artwork sits so that the centre of the piece is at average eye level. Art is to be seen to be appreciated after all. If you plan to place said art above furniture, then perfect height is thought to be when there is twice as much space above the piece than below. Although if it is placed above a sofa, just make sure you won’t bang your head on it!

A blank wall makes for an excellent canvas. One large artwork on its own is an immediate statement, whilst a grouping of pieces can be a delightfully effectual display. Groupings don’t always have to be in grids either. Salon installations – a bunch of disparate frames and images clustered together – have become quite the trend. For this technique we’d suggest lining up the tops of the uppermost artworks in the cluster, then arranging the other pieces beneath these. And, it’s useful to remember that horizontal rows will widen a space, while vertical rows add height, drawing the eye upwards. However, there’s no wrong way to arrange your collection – just have fun!

Get a helping hand
To avoid punching lots of unnecessary pin holes in your wall before you get that faultless hang, get someone else to help you out so you can stand back and make sure your piece is in the perfect place before you get out the toolbox. Get your assistant to hold the piece in place, then take a few steps back, and make sure you’re happy with the height and placement within the space.

If you are hanging a few pieces at the same time however, to save the state of your wall (and your assistants tiring arms!) you could lay the arrangement out on the floor first. Or, trace the outline of each piece on paper and use white tack to play around with different placements for these on the wall.

Then is it is just smaller matter of a little hammering, et voila, picture perfect zen.

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Kick-starting a collection »
Original prints, reproductions and editions » 

“Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.”
Paul Klee

Our top tips:

  1. Avoid hanging your artworks in direct sunlight as this can cause the colours to fade.

  2. Chat to a local framer about the best option for framing your artwork. Ask them to use pH neutral adhesives or archival quality mounts to preserve your precious pieces.

  3. Hang your favourite artworks where you’ll be able to see and appreciate them every day. 

  4. Plan your decor around your artworks, not the other way around. Picking out the power colour in the piece and selecting wall finishes and textiles that work with it is a great starting point.

  5. Have fun! Just as selecting artworks for your collection should be an exciting experience, curating and hanging them in your home should be another way of expressing your style and taste – there’s no right or wrong way to do it.