We may not all have original, priceless paintings to hang in our home but most of us do have treasured photographs, and meaningful artwork that reflects our personality. Whatever we choose to adorn our walls – items are meant to be viewed and enjoyed. Artwork doesn’t need to be expensive- children’s art, greeting cards, menus, playbills or even wine labels tell a story.
The most common mistake that people make is hanging their artwork too high. You may have heard the rule of hanging pieces at eye level but in my home, my son is 6’ 4” and I am only 5’5” so our eye level is very different! Remember that most artwork is viewed from a seated position so that automatically brings the eye level lower. Ideally a picture should hang no more than 6-8 inches above a piece of furniture so the two are related or the center of the picture should be about 60 inches from the floor. Of course, mirrors need to be at a functional height for the people living in the house and pictures in a hallway can typically be hung higher since they are viewed from a standing position.
There are some basic rules to follow to show off any artwork to its best advantage.
- Within a room, artwork should have a common theme in color or content with frames of a similar material.
- Keep the artwork in scale to the space. Use small pieces on small walls and vice versa.
- If you have a large wall to fill but only have smaller artwork, consider hanging several pieces in a vertical row or forming a large square shape to make statement without investing in a large painting.
- Let the architecture of the room determine the alignment of your artwork. When working with a stairwell or angled wall, follow the angle by stepping the frames up the wall.
- Consider hanging artwork in unexpected places – tucked in between a floor lamp and a side chair invites the viewer in for a closer inspection.
- When grouping a selection of photographs, the frames should all be a consistent material. For example, choose all gold or all black. The frames to do not have to match exactly but by keeping the materials consistent, the focus is on what is in the frames and not on the frames themselves.
- Remember to leave at least one wall in each room blank – because your eye needs a place to rest.
A foolproof way to hang a collage of pictures and avoid making mistakes and pounding extra nail holes in the wall:
- Lay a large piece of craft paper on the floor and mark off the approximate area that you have to work with.
- Begin laying out your pictures on the paper starting with the largest piece in the middle and working outward.
- Move the pieces around until you have a pleasing arrangement.
- Leave about a palm’s width of space or (about 3 inches) between pictures.
- Trace around each frame, making sure that they are straight to the edge of the paper.
- Remove the frames and make notes on the paper of the content and placement of each.
- Turn over each frame and on its’ corresponding outline, measure and mark an X where the nail hole should be. (I usually use a red pen for easy visibility).
- Tape your paper pattern to the wall, using a level to make sure it is straight.
- Put a nail in each X mark and rip away the paper.
- Hang your pictures and you’re done!
Don’t forget that three dimensional items can make very interesting wall art. Plates, trays, musical instruments, game boards, etc. Start looking with a critical eye at all the objects around you and find something that resonates with you for inspiration in your home. You are only limited by your imagination!
Pam Hartz-Miller http://hartzandhomes.com