Although I have a range of experiences from participating in countless North America art shows to arranging paintings in my clients’ Okanagan valley homes, I still needed to master the skill of hanging artwork quickly and professionally.

Here are some tips I have discovered that will help you in displaying artwork in your own home.

1) The easy way to hang a single picture:

  • Determine where you want to hang the picture,
  • Hold the picture in one hand and place the index finger of the other hand at the center of the wire in the back, with the palm facing the wall and,
  • Mark the place where the nail/hook will go by pressing your finger against the wall. The natural oils from your skin should leave a strong enough impression for you to follow. Alternatively, you can also put a small dab of toothpaste on your finger to mark the spot, or use a pencil if you wish.

2) A piece of art that is over 4 feet in width deserves to be hung alone with enough blank wall space around it to let it shine.

3) Create your own focal point by hanging an arresting art collection. ‘Quieter’ – smaller- drawings, photographs and prints often work best when hung in groups.

Create your own focal point by hanging an arresting art collection

There are no hard and fast rules about the distance between each piece, but it’s best to place them anywhere from one and half inches to three inches apart within the grouping. Much depends on the size of the pieces of art. You’ll want them close enough to present a cohesive look but not so close that they visually crowd each other.
Also, take note of the overall dimensions of the grouping to determine if it will fit the space you have in mind. You will want to place the largest piece in the centre with the other smaller pieces radiating out from it.

When creating your gallery wall

Gather all the pieces of art you are considering for your grouping and lay them out on the floor to test your arrangement. You can stand up on a chair or ladder to get an aerial view of how it will appear upright on your wall.
Another tip is that the human eye always seeks a straight line for balance. To give your room a calmer feeling make sure that the bottom of all artwork in that grouping are aligned at the same level.
Although it is more likely that you will still have your favorite artwork long after the furniture in your room has been updated or replaced. Over time, as you acquire new art pieces you may want to freshen up your display.
Feel free to move your artwork around for a different look. But if you hesitate in displaying your artwork, call in an artist, framer or a designer with experience in art display.
Together your pieces of art, will likely create a rhythm or pattern that has a greater presence collectively than each one would individually. So, let your artwork get social and hang out together!

By Louise Lambert