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How to hang pictures and wall art

Wall art can completely change a space. But hanging pictures can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Framed wedding photos, a collection of prints, a single large canvas - it feels like a lot can go wrong. But don’t let the fear hold you back. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to hang a picture and get it right first time, every time.

 

With these easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be hanging wall art and creating gallery-worthy displays in absolutely no time. So get ready to bid farewell to hole-filled walls and say hello to a refreshed interior… along with that security deposit you thought you’d lose.

A small flat with art hung on the wall above an accent chair

How to measure your wall and art

Before you grab that nail and hammer, you have to decide where to hang your picture. And we don’t just mean which room. You have to decide where you’ll hang the picture on the wall and if you need more than one. Before you break out in the sweats, we have quick and easy equation that’ll keep your room and artwork balanced with no fuss.

A diagram showing how to determine the ideal width of your wall art

Step 1: Measure the width of your wall

Step 2: Times the width by 0.57 - this’ll provide the perfect art-to-wall ratio

Step 3: Centre your art to align with the centre of the wall - with an even gap if needed

A dining room with two large portrait paintings hung on the wall

How to determine the right height to hang pictures on the wall

So you’ve got the width down. What about the height? How high art should be hung may seem subjective, but in reality, it’s a science. To find the optimal height to hang pictures on the wall, follow the museum approach.

A diagram showing how to determine how high to hang you art using the museum approach

The museum approach

Step 1: Measure 145cm from the floor - this is the ideal height for the middle of your painting

Step 2: Measure the length of your painting and half it - let's call this A

Step 3: Turn the frame over and pull the picture wire to full tension as if it was hanging. Measure the distance from the wire at full tension to the top of the frame - let's call this B

Step 4: Add 145cm to A, then minus B - this equals the exact height to place your nail so the middle of your painting sits on the 145cm line

A diagram showing how to determine how heigh to hang your art using the intuition method

Use your intuition

All rooms are different and the museum approach may not be appropriate for your décor. If you're confident with your artistic abilities, use your eye to judge where to hang your painting. This will allow you to balance your furniture, doors and windows. Just makes sure it's at a comfortable eye level.

A diagram showing how to hang a cluster of artwork

How to hang a cluster of artwork

Step 1: If you have multiple pieces, make sure the centre of each sits on that 145cm mark

Step 2: For a curated group of pictures, make sure the middle of the collage sits at the 145cm mark

A living room with a yellow Tribeca sofa with a large painting hanging above it

How to work with the furniture within your room

You have beautiful furniture. You have beautiful paintings. Don't make them fight for attention. Whether you're hanging art above a sofa, fireplace or over the bed, these techniques will help your artwork and furniture compliment each other. There's even a simple trick to hanging multiple pictures over the stairs - see, you're neighbours aren't wizards after all.

A diagram showing how to hang pictures above a sofa

How to hang pictures above a sofa

Step 1: Measure your sofa - your artwork should be 2/3 of its width

Step 2: Measure 15-20cm above your sofa - the bottom of your painting should sit here

A diagram showing how to hang pictures above a fireplace

How to hang pictures above a fireplace

Step 1: Measure the width of your fire place - your artwork should be at least 2/3 of the width

Step 2: Measure 10-30cm above the mantelpiece - the bottom of your painting should sit here

A diagram showing how to hang pictures above stairs

How to hang pictures over the stairs

Step 1: Measure 145cm from the floor - this is where the centre of your first picture should sit

Step 2: Measure 145cm from every third step to form a diagonal line - this is where the centre of each following piece should sit

A bedroom with grey walls and a black and white print hanging above the bed

What art should you have in your room?

Finding the right artwork for your room isn't just about finding a painting you like. It's making sure it's the right size and in balance with the furniture and proportion of the room.

A diagram showing how to hang pictures in a cluttered room

How to utilise the proportions of your room

Step 1: Assess your room and the furniture in it.

Step 2. For busy rooms, choose a larger statement piece

A diagram showing how to hang multiple pictures in a cluttered room

Step 3: If you prefer smaller pieces, display them as a cluster to give the illusion of one big piece.

Step 4: If hanging over a bed, centre it to align with the headboard

A dining room with a collage of prints and hanging plants on the wall

How to hang a group of pictures

Always wondered how your friends made that seemingly-random-but-obviously-curated wall of art look so good? It’s easy. Just follow these steps.

How to create a scattered display of artwork

Step 1: Choose a focal piece

Step 2: Measure 145cm from the floor - this is where the centre of your middle painting should sit

Step 3: Build your gallery from the middle out - balance your images and make sure the central line through the gallery sits at the 145cm point

Step 4: Be sure to keep a standard distance between all pieces

Tip: As people in the western world naturally read left to right, the left side of your composition can hold more visual weight. Think darker colours, thicker frames or even larger pieces

A diagram on how to hang a grid gallery of artwork

How to create a grid gallery

Step 1: Choose complimentary paintings of the same size

Step 2: Create a grid keeping 5-7cm between the frames

Step 3: Balance out gaps with furniture or lamps if you can't create a perfectly symmetrical grid

Article written by: Carly-Ann Clements

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