Nail the art of framing and hanging

You’ve found your perfect piece of art and all you want to do is display it perfectly 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. It’s a good idea to think about the size of wall, how it is lit in the daytime as well as the evening, whilst also considering the function 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, then you can think about framing it, or changing the frame and mount it came with.  A little research into this would not go amiss, as framing services can often add up quickly so it’s best to explore all your options. Whether you frame your piece or not is really a matter of personal taste and visual aesthetics.

It is quite common nowadays for contemporary art to be left unframed. If framing it is, then the floating frame is a popular choice as it leaves a space between the edge of the frame and the work. It is useful to think about the edges of the piece, because a frame may cover them. If the edges are finished and are a part of the art itself, you might not want to hide them.

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.

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 idea 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.

It’s useful to remember though that horizontal rows will widen a space, while vertical rows add height, drawing the eye upwards.

Get a helping hand
To avoid punching lots of unnecessary pin holes in your wall before you get that faultless hang, you could always find a helper if it’s just the one piece. They can hold it up while you scrutinize the placing from a few steps back. If you are hanging a few pieces at the same time however, to save the state of your wall you could lay the arrangement out on the floor first. Or, trace the outline of each piece on paper and play with these on the wall.

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

Making the most of the fair »
Kick starting a collection »
Original prints, editions and reproductions » 

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


Our top tips:

  1. Never hang a watercolour in direct sunlight.
  2. You can ask your framer to use pH neutral adhesives or archival quality mounts to preserve your precious pieces.
  3. Have a frame related question? Ask your framer for their expert advice.
  4. Hang your works where you want to see them.