Hanging art on the walls is usually the last – and often hardest – things you do after a move. Before you grab your hammer and nails, you need a strategy. We asked Atlanta artist Amy Duke of Amy Duke Fine Art for her insights on selecting and hanging art in the home.
1. When to buy, or say “bye-bye”
Don’t hang just to fill empty space. Something that worked at your old house may not fit your new space. When choosing new art, the most important thing is making sure you have a connection to it. “You always want to think if it fits in with the colors in the room, but if it doesn’t it can become the inspiration for room redo!” Bottom line, if you love it and want to look at it every day, it passes the test.
2. Prioritize by size
Bigger is always better, but statement pieces come with a hefty price tag. “Larger canvases can make a huge statement, especially over a mantel or on a large wall in a main living area,” says Duke. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one oversized painting, consider the kitchen. After all it’s where you and your guests will be most of the time. If those main areas are covered, try over the bed in the master bedroom.
3. Cluster with Care
An alternative to large paintings is a collection of framed prints, particularly over a couch or going up a stairway. “Frames don’t have to be exactly the same, just use like colors,” advises Duke. “You can also use all the same color mat to keep things consistent.” Most gallery walls have a theme, such as a collection of family photographs or prints of the same subject. Try not to hang framed art directly across from a window to avoid daytime glare (or opt for glare-proof glass).
4. Mix it Up
“I find it’s important to have a mix of art and style in the house,” says Duke. Larger paintings can be focal points for the room, while smaller pieces can bring life to forgotten corners. Smaller pieces in complimentary colors should be grouped together for maximum impact. Or, single one out on a small easel atop a bookshelf or entry table. If you pair other objects with it, keep them simple so they enhance but don’t take away from the art.
5. Hang at the right height
A general rule of thumb is 1/3 down from the ceiling, 2/3 up from the floor – eye level or a little above. If you’re hanging several pieces, lay them down on the floor, measure their total height and treat it as one large piece to determine placement. And don’t be afraid to prop pieces on shelves, mantels or chests.