Tips on Displaying Art in the Home

Dated: 04/03/2019

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Displaying wall art is an intrinsic part of home decorating.  Your choices in wall art reflect your tastes and preferences for expression.  For these reasons and more, knowing how to display art in your home will always come in handy.  Here are some tips to help you transform your home’s walls into visions that speak to your aesthetic sense:

Frame it well.  First choose whether you want a wall to feature framed pieces or not.  Posters are great for children and teens, but in living spaces that grown-ups will frequent, framing is important.  Why?  Framing sets the stage for the work of art to shine.  With that in mind, decide whether you want your works of art displayed in glass frames, on canvas, or on tapestry.  Of course, if you want something a little more chic, you can always hang several clipboards up in an array-like fashion – and subsequently clip your works of art onto each clipboard.  You can always change each clipboard’s art with the season or based on your moods.  Another alternative is to hang a cork board where you can tack artwork to.  Still another option is to create an art mobile by hanging art postcards via string to a rod, branch, or hanger – clothespins can be used to secure the art to your creative mobile.  Similarly consider installing floating shelves on your wall that you can, in turn, prop up artwork or postcards or even records to – this can give your living space a type of bookstore vibe.

Layer the wall art pieces to connect with the rest of your décor.  Ultimately, art and your décor go hand-in-hand, so verify they complement one another based on theme and color scheme.  Color scheme can be a big one.  Some of the subtle things you must be aware of that complement your wall art include the colors of all your textiles – e.g. your curtains and draperies, table cloths and table runners, slipcovers and upholstery, pillows and cushions, blankets and throws, as well as rugs and carpets.  Also check to see that your chosen wall art pieces match well with your indoor plants and flowers.  And don’t forget the color of your walls – you don’t want your wall art to clash with the wall colors.

Some key measurements to keep in mind when displaying wall art.  There are a few rules of thumb that ApartmentTherapy.com swears by when it comes to hanging your wall art.  For instance, the ideal height for art on a wall is between 57 inches and 60 inches from the ground.  Of course, if you have several pieces of art, double-check that the one at the center of the group has its center point at 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor.  Another suggestion for the ideal distance between pieces of art is 3 inches – 6 inches.  As for the ideal distance between the bottom edge of the art (or the bottom edge of the lowest hanging piece of art in a group) and the top edge of the furniture, that distance is at 6 inches – 8 inches.  There are, understandably, exceptions to these general rules of thumb.  For one, a room with a high ceiling can be accentuated by hanging artwork above the doorframe to add more visual interest.  And, if there is a corner frequented by children, have the art pieces displayed closer to the ground for the kids to enjoy viewing from their height level.  Lower-hanging pieces also work near reading nooks and window seats.  For more wall art display recommendations by ApartmentTherapy.com, click this link here.

More on how to group wall art pieces together.  For the most part, choose an odd number so that the largest and heaviest piece goes directly in the middle, followed by flanking it on the sides with smaller pieces.  The key is balance, so confirm that the surrounding pieces are equidistant from the middle piece, with the center piece’s midpoint bulls-eyed at 57 inches – 60 inches from the floor.  

Where to display wall art in the home.  After you’ve selected how to display your wall art, the bigger question is where are the best locations to display art.  First consider the wall space that is available and the room’s arrangement.  Small art pieces can be displayed between windows and doors in linear fashion.  Recognize, nonetheless, that small art pieces in a too-large space will make the small art pieces appear out-of-place.  Hence, a large wall space is best for larger pieces to allow folks to step back and admire the work.  The exception to the rule is if you have a large wall space that can be occupied by several same-sized small pieces (think, even number of items, minimum of 10 pieces).  In that case, they can all be displayed in gallery fashion.  Hallway walls can serve double-duty as an art gallery, especially of family photos so that they look multi-generational.  Likewise, the wall above couches and sofas can be the backdrop for paintings to be displayed in salon-style.  Note that the salon-style is best for collections that mix frame styles and frame sizes, with the heavy pieces to the bottom and left for better visual weight balance, particularly since the eye starts its movement from the left.  Should there be an even number of artwork, center the heaviest pieces in the middle.  Otherwise, one large piece can take up the majority of that prime wall space above sofas and couches.  Then, too, when arranging multiple pieces, unless they are all the same size, don’t make the bottoms or tops of their frames be at the same level.  By contrast, level their middles with one another.

Additional ideas on how to arrange art on your walls.  Art can be juxtaposed side by side in collection or symmetrically in gallery fashion, as stated earlier.  Photographs are well-suited for a gallery wall display, with white borders and matching dark frames.  If you are so inclined – and the photography grouping happens to be themed – don’t be shy about hanging them in grid fashion.  Besides that, art can also be grouped in satellite-like manner with a large piece at the center, surrounded by a cluster of smaller pieces circling it.  Should minimalism be preferred, however, go for one very large abstract piece per wall or one very large monochromatic (black-and-white) photograph per wall.  Moreover, if there is a fireplace with room to spare atop the mantel, then hang a large masterpiece in that prime spot for eye-catching appeal.  Or, you can prop the artwork against the mantel wall for a more approachable feel.  Remember that minimalism art is appealing because its artistic boldness is telegraphed immediately and thereby energizes a room.

Bonus Tip:  Don’t be afraid to hang framed artwork in front of a bookcase or on the face of a shelf.  Just make sure the piece isn’t too large that it makes it inconvenient to reach for anything on the bookcase or shelf.

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Jason Belangoy

Originally a Bay Area native, Jason moved temporarily to San Diego in the Summer of 2014, to study for his real estate licensing exam. He passed 3 months later, but fell in love with San Diego, and no....

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