The Art of Hanging Art


Follow these insider tips to learn the perfect way to display your contemporary  art .


Whether you are hanging a priceless heirloom or a Contemporary Limited Edition  Art  Print; hanging several pieces of  art  or just one painting, proper placement is critical. The most important considerations for placement of  art  are the scale of the room and the  art  itself.

Always follow the general rule of big  art  in big spaces, small  art  in small spaces. And always hang  art  with the centre of the picture at eye level which is 155-170cm from the floor.


Large modern  art  look good when placed over pieces of furniture or a fireplace. But make sure that the  art  is NOT longer than the furniture. It should be about 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the object over which it hangs.

Never leave more than 20cm of wall space between the base of your paintings and the object over which it hangs. Otherwise the eye will focus on the wall rather than your  art .


Try to group small pieces of  art  where possible. Using similar or matching frames and mounts will bring unity to the set but is not necessary if the theme or colours of the paintings already provide unity.


One of the most interesting ways of displaying contemporary  art  is in groupings, which can be used in large or small spaces. There are several professional ways of grouping your contemporary  art  collection as described below.

Salon Display

Select a group of paintings with a common theme such as colour, subject matter or even frame type. Pieces need to be of different sizes and can be centred or lined up above each other and next to each other. Spacing between pieces should be kept consistent to avoid the layout appearing random.

Horizontal Display

Group a collection of differently framed  art  works directly next to each other with the frames almost touching. This allows a display of several  art  works in a small space. It works best with an odd number of pieces and the largest piece in the middle and getting smaller as it goes out.

Vertical Display

Group a collection of uniquely framed  art  works directly on top of each other with the frames almost touching. The uniqueness of the frames and their various shapes and sizes are both emphasized along a vertical axis.

Mosaic Display

This type of arrangement is perfect for an architectural niche and uses pieces of  art  of various sizes. Start by lining up the outside pieces for a consistent square or rectangular outer edge and then fill in the remaining space. The spacing becomes irregular as you get toward the middle but it works because the edges form a regular shape.

Symmetrical Display

Display a collection of pieces of the same size in the same frames and with the same distance between them. This can either be a single row of  art  works or rows can be added to create a grid. This is particularly effective when the theme of all the pieces is the same.

Asymmetrical Display

Group a combination of three pieces of  art  to achieve a balanced asymmetrical display with the two smaller pieces stacked and centred alongside the larger piece.


Before you hang the  Art :

1. Decide which contemporary  art  you are going to group together based on a common element that allows the  art  to work together i.e. theme, colour, frame type etc.

2. Decide which layout you are going to use – Mosaic Display, Horizontal Display, Salon Display etc as discussed above.

3. Measure the wall, top to bottom and left to right and the sizes of all the individual pieces of  art  to be hung.

4. Arrange the contemporary  art  works on the floor in your chosen layout with 3 – 6 cm between them.

5. Transfer the arrangement to the wall. Place the paintings – in their frames – on some old newspaper. Trace the outside of the frame and cut out the shape. Stick your life-sized paper replicas onto the wall using low tack masking tape.

Hanging the  Art 

1. Find the number of picture hooks you need. 1 for pictures with a width less than 75cm otherwise 2 picture hooks.

2. Determine the size of hook to use. Check the weight of your picture(s) and buy the appropriate size hook.

3. Mark the horizontal position of the hooks on the wall. Using your paper replicas make a short horizontal pencil line across the top and then a short vertical line down at the centre so that you have made an upside down ‘T’ at the top of the picture. If the picture is over 75cm then you need to make 2 more marks at 1/3rd and 2/3rds across the width.

4. Mark the vertical position of the hooks on the wall. If the picture has a string then find the centre and measure the distance from the string when taut to the top of the picture. If the picture has a ‘saw tooth’ canvas hanger then measure the distance from the bottom edge of the hanger to the top of the picture.

5. Hammer in your hooks by placing the bottom of the hook where the ‘T’ line intersects.

Source by Michelle Symonds

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