Tips for Hanging Artwork


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 Anna asked several weeks ago if we had any suggestions on how hang and display to artwork on a large high wall above her fireplace. She has a collection of G. Harvey paintings and wants to mix them with some other wall accessories. Here some suggestions and guidelines to follow. Remember, when it comes to decorating, there are no rules to decorating – just rules of thumb. Don’t be afraid to try something new! 

When accessorizing the wall above a fireplace, you are actually creating a large vignette. First look at the big picture. This area or canvas will be THE focal point of the room and you have an opportunity to make a stunning impression and create some great conversation. You must consider not only the wall above the fireplace, but also the mantle, the fireplace itself and the hearth, because visitors will see this as a whole when they first walk in. The goal is to have one main focal point in Anna’s case, her beautiful paintings, and other interesting areas within that canvas to see as well. To start off, lay out on the floor the items that you are contemplating hanging. Then consider this…

  • Are the frames complimentary to each other and if grouped together, will they still allow the picture to be the star of the show?

  • Does the matting work together as well? Matting should always compliment your artwork and not become a feature that stands out.

  • Are there other accessories that would compliment the artwork? In Anna’s case, because of the high ceilings, adding accessories that have unique architectural features, interesting shapes, or that introduce a new texture may work well to compliment an arrangement, but she should make sure to make sure the pictures are still the focal point. Most pictures are either square or rectangle, so try to choose items with that vary in shape. Wall hung candelabra’s work well, but also think outside the box and consider using metal wall art, clocks, plates, or anything that will work well with your art and create additional interest.

 Next, with string or masking tape, lay out a space on your floor that is the width and height of the space that you will be hanging the artwork and accessories. You probably have a space that is square or Anna’s case, having tall walls; a tall rectangle. Then, have some fun!

  • Randomly start experimenting with different ways to lay out the art and accessories. Arrange the pictures first and then if using other wall art, fill in from there.

  • Remember that often simple makes a bigger impact – One large painting can be make a beautiful statement and an alternative to 5 or 6 items in a grouping.

  • Consider resting a large mirror or picture on the mantel instead of hanging

  • When using multiple items in a grouping, to maintain a relationship among the pieces, keep a common space between each item. A rule of thumb is to keep that space the size of the width of your hand (3-5”) or so.

 Once you have decided on the layout start hanging from bottom. In other words hang first the lower items that will begin above your mantle and work from the center out. Make sure that as you determine how high you begin above the mantel, that you take into consideration anything that will be setting on top of it.  Good Luck!