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A friend of mine asked for advice on how to hang art. When I looked at the email, I thought this would be good to share.
There are two sections of this guide.
No matter your artistic vision, preferred subject matter or style, when it comes to hanging your art in your home or business, this guide by MMG Art Studio should help ensure it looks its best.
(1) Here are design tips and suggestions for hanging artwork
The rule of thumb most art museums follow for hanging artwork is 58 inches on center. This means that the center of each piece or grouping is 58 inches from the floor. Not only is this where art can be most easily seen and most thoroughly enjoyed, but using a standard height will also helps the viewer go seamlessly from one piece to the next.
To create a modern art gallery, feel give each piece ample breathing room. Aim to have at least 30 percent of the blank wall exposed.
Most artwork is matted, framed, gallery wrapped, or otherwise mounted. With oversized matting and exaggerated proportions, you can transform a small piece of art into a dramatic decorating statement.
If you have certain pieces that belong together or enhance one another, tightly group an even number of pieces together to make a statement or create a focal point that will grab the attention of your guests. Cluster arrangements work on either large or small wall spaces, depending on the look you want.
Continuity is important. Consider placing an odd number of pieces in a horizontal line to provide balance and a sense of space. This works especially well in narrow passageways within a hallway.
Use art to create a sitting area, such as a reading corner. Build your arrangement around a chair and lamp, and hang the art at sitting eye level or even lower.
Generally, you’ll have a limited number of spotlights available in your home or office, so make strategic decisions to give your most important pieces the best light. Try cross-lighting to spread the light well and allow for better coverage and more pleasing lighting.
Art styles are as varied as design elements of your home, however art pieces hung in a clean, simple arrangement, making it easy to view each piece separately when close or as a cohesive grouping from farther away is solid general design advice.
(2) How to Hang Art the Right Way Every Time
Correctly hung artwork is the finishing touch of any successful design. Everyone knows that an improperly hung work sticks out like a sore thumb, but it’s tricky to get right. That is, until you know the unspoken rules you need to follow.
You can use a smaller tape measure, but you can never go wrong with a 25'. Remember you aren’t just measuring the art itself, you are measuring the wall so you can find the center. At least that’s the most basic configuration.
It would be helpful to have a 6" level also for tighter spaces where the 2' level won’t fit on top, but in open space, the bigger, the better for your level.
Alternatively, you might need a hammer and nails depending on the hanging apparatus on the back of the art. For my art, originals have a wire and reproductions have either a saw tooth or a wire depending on size. You might want a stud finder for heavier art. But for most pieces of art, the tools up top are all you will need.
First, use the design guide and decide where you want your art to go. If you are hanging your art on an open wall with nothing else, you will be focused on the center, however, we often forget that things like light switches or lights can create an off-center view if we don’t account for them.
There are advanced centering techniques if you are hanging multiple works on a wall, but this is just about the basics of hanging one piece of art perfectly every time.
This is it. This is how you can hang anything and everything in your house. The number you want to start with, always, is 58". 58" is the ideal eye line for viewing art so your formula always starts with 58" because that’s where you want the center of your art to end up.
First, turn your art around and measure the entire height of the piece, including the frame, if there is one. Take that number and divide it by two or cut it in half. You do this because you only want half of the height of your work of art above the perfect eye line. Add the half of your height to the 58". Make sense so far?
Second, look at the back of your art and decide how you are going to hang it on the wall. So, if you have a traditional painting on canvas that has been stretched, you measure from the top of the painting to where the bar at the top ends. Sometimes one inch, sometimes two, sometimes even three for larger works.
If you have a string or wire on the back, pull it up as if it were hanging from two screws and then measure from the top point of its arc to the top of your piece of art.
Still with me? You are almost done.
Now go back to where your center is. When you first find the center of your wall, make a mark with a pencil that is dark enough that you can see it again. The work will most likely land on top of this so it’s not a big deal if you have a bad eraser. Don’t worry about the height because at the time you choose your center, you won’t have your height.
Now use the result of your formula (58" + half the height of your work — the distance from the top to the hanging location) to measure up from the ground and make that mark in your center with a +. If you hit the center and height somehow exactly, give yourself a prize.
If you are hanging from a wire that hangs from one single screw or nail, you will use your + as your mark.
Hang the art from its apparatus or the single screw. Then, stand back. Try to adjust it to level and then place the level on top and allow it to rest. Use your level to assure that your piece of art is perfect.
If you are hanging your art between two distinct things or on a wall, get your tape measure back out and measure to the left and right of your art to assure that both measurements from the side edge of your piece of art to the wall or item are equal. That way you know you are centered.
There are variations for when you are hanging something over a piece of furniture that is tall, but when you follow the same formula throughout your house, all of your art will finally be visually in sync and aesthetically pleasing.
One last check to make sure your art looks right. That said, math is no substitute for perception in interior design. While you can use these figures as a guide, don’t be afraid to make adjustments accordingly. For example, when a room has high ceilings, it may make more sense to hang your wall art slightly higher than usual to account for the extra space. is level and you have just professionally hung art. Congratulations. Now go do it over and over again until your house is perfect.
Enjoy your ART!
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