It’s widely believed that you should hang artwork so the centre of the painting is at eye level. As a general guide, the centre of the artwork should be between 145 and 155 cm from the ground, at eye level. (Note: If you have high ceilings, you can hang a little higher)
If it is a room in which people are often stood such as a hallway, hang your wall art a bit higher than eye level. In a room where you generally sit down, hang pictures a bit lower, so they can be enjoyed at a lower viewing angle. Sit in a chair and ask someone to hold the picture against the wall, moving it up and down so you can evaluate the look so that it works for you and your family.
When you are hanging art above furniture – there should be a gap, but the art should look connected to the furniture and not floating alone high above it. It’s best to leave 15 – 30cm between the top of the piece of furniture and the bottom of the picture frame.
(image “magnolia” by Susan Phelps)
Wall to art ratio & Placement Tips
Have you ever bought a piece of art, got it home and then decided it looks too small? Here’s a tip, if you’re hanging one or two frames together, the finished width should be two thirds of the width of the furniture.
Hanging prints which are too small or too large will make the whole room design look a bit off-kilter and draw attention away from the artwork. If you ensure artwork is about two-thirds the size of the sofa, bed or sideboard, it will be easier on the eye and really ‘work’ with the room and its components.
When hanging a group of pictures, leave 5 to 15cm between each frame for proper spacing.
(Images “Ordinary is Extraordinary” & "Balancing Act" by Susan Phelps)
Empty wall ratio:
When considering an empty wall, you should hang pieces that take up around 4/7 of the width of the wall. A quick and easy way to calculate this is to multiply the width of your wall by 0.57. For example, if your wall is 3 metres wide, then calculate 3m x 0.57, which is about 170cm.
Now you know the ideal wall-to-art ratio, you need one or more pieces of wall art that add up to 170cm in width. For example, two pieces of wall art that are 60 cm wide and leave 50cm of empty wall in-between them. This adds up to a total width of 170cm (50 + 60 + 60 = 170), which is 4/7 of the 3m wall - hey presto, the perfect ratio.
(Images “Kaleidoscope” by Susan Phelps)
Hanging wall art in the stairway is a great way to make use of an often overlooked space.
Hang each piece with the centre sitting between 145-155cm above the step (roughly eye level).
Make sure you choose the same height for every piece. This way, your composition will look clean and sharp.
Leave at least two or three steps between each piece.
This method works best with similar size wall art.
It can be tempting to choose artwork to match cushions or rugs, but you should buy a piece of art because you absolutely love it, and it means something to you. You may be naturally drawn to pieces that have similar tones to your existing décor, which is fine, but you should have a connection to it, one of those things that you simply ‘have to have’
This will help you build up a collection of prints that you love and that reflects your tastes and personality.
(Image “Ice Queen” by Susan Phelps)
For your new artwork to fit perfectly in your home, make sure you consider the wall space available and the arrangement of the room. Using small pieces between windows and doors is a good tip because if small artwork is placed in a space which is too vast, it can look lost.
Larger pieces make a statement but remember to allow adequate space in the room for people to step back and admire the work.
Symmetry is calming and easy on the eye. So, if you have pairs of pictures, they can be placed in matching alcoves, either side of a bookcase or together above a fireplace. If you are unsure about positioning, you could take some brown parcel paper and cut out a square / rectangle exactly the same size as your finished frames. You can place these on the walls with blue tack or wall safe tape and stand back to look at the positioning properly – this allows you to move them around until you are happy with the positioning. This is also a great way to compile a gallery wall.
When hanging art near doors and windows, lining the frames up with the tops of the door and window frames looks odd, so stagger the artwork either up or down.
If you like re-arranging your home décor regularly, how about creating a picture shelf? This gives you more flexibility to move things around and mix your art with plants, flowers, candles or other decorative accessories. If you choose this option, don’t forget to check the frame width of your art, as picture shelves can be more suited to thinner frames.