Where Do I Put It??? – A Guide to Hanging Art
Alright let’s chat about something that will make or break your space:
The direction of the piece, “free” surrounding space, and the background it rests against will completely change the look of the piece and the space it inhabits. And we want it to look real g o o d .
I like to divide this section in three categories:
Today, we’re talking about wall placement.
The most common. Usually hung solo or in a cluster – such as a gallery wall.
Generally speaking, the larger an artwork is, the more likely it will be hung alone. This is especially true for canvas paintings or unconventional materials (Ie: wooden or metal collages).
So let’s talk about sizing. After the furniture is put against or around the wall, the space left on the wall is considered “free space”. Aim for your artwork to have around HALF to TWO-THIRDS of that area.
- For example: 36” x 36” painting in a 6’ x 6’ free space, above a couch 3’ high with the ceiling height being 9’.
MORE IMPORTANTLY: Try to hang your piece at 57” from the MIDDLE of the piece to the ground.
This is “eye-level” and will make your space feel more cohesive (as you can see it well).
*If there is furniture etc. in the way, aim to hang it 6-8” above the highest point.
Gallery walls should be treated as one big piece! For these, I tend to use about two-thirds of the free space as the spaces between the pieces give the illusion of more “free space”.
When hanging multiple, I ALWAYS recommend laying them out on the ground FIRST.
(Cut to the literal t h o u s a n d s of holes I’ve left in my walls from layouts over the years)
Ideally, spacing between gallery wall pieces should be 3”- 6”. The larger the pieces, the bigger the space can be.
Common layouts include:
Some tips and trix I’ve learnt:
- Bigger pieces towards the middle
- Mix flat edges and spirals
- Have each piece end at a different point OR all at the same point (Eclectic vs. Grid)
It is also VERY VERY important to note the colors and shapes in each piece. You want a nice spread of sizes, shapes, and colors throughout.
- For example: Pair a black and green on top with a pink and black on the bottom. Have the black pieces at diagonal corners, rather than underneath each other.
I hang my art using two methods:
- Small nails
- #4-#6 ⅞ Inch screws with wall anchors (preferably white or clear)
For small artwork (less than 24” x 24” or 1-2 lbs) I chose a nail that corresponds with the size of the artwork. The 1” nails are reserved for larger pieces, up to 2’ long and a bit heavier – especially if framed.
IF THE PIECE IS BIG/HEAVY: Use a screw and wall anchor
For these, you may need two if the piece feels heavy or doesn’t hang straight.
*ALSO I highly recommend a WHITE or CLEAR anchor, as you don’t want a bright yellow one jutting out of your wall if you take the piece down.
Because I live on the edge, I often use a single nail and a leveler to ensure my art hangs straight. On occasion (if the piece is being overly dramatic) I will use two nails/screws and a ruler to hang it.
I’ve heard of tricks like using toothpaste to mark the hanging point, or tape for multiple holes. BUT I just eyeball it like a lunatic 😀
- Find the midpoint of the art or the hanging hardware
- Use your eyes or a tape measure to find how far down the hanging point is
- Place the art against the wall in it’s ideal position
- Use a pencil (or finger) to mark the middle point on the wall on the top of the piece
- Remove the art and measure down however many inches to the hanging point
- *If using a screw, I recommend tapping it into the wall, removing it, then tapping the anchor into the wall.
- *If the anchor sticks halfway, screw the screw into it halfway, then use a hammer to tap the anchor the rest of the way into the wall.
TAAAADDAAAA!!! You’ve just hung some art – the KG way.