​10 simple tips for gallery-worthy wall art at home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Hanging pictures on your walls, whether they’re family photos or Picasso pieces, is a terrific way to add interest to a room. However, it’s not just about making your home look pretty – it’s a balancing act of spacing, colour, and proportion. The way art is displayed is crucial and transformative, not just to the particular room, but to the ambience given off by the pictures themselves. 

But it’s not all blood, sweat and tears, for almost anything can look good when framed and hung properly. And all it takes is a bit of expert advice (and clever planning) to have wall art that rival even the best gallery in town. 

Fortunately, homify is here!

1. Sofa(r), so good?

Remember the main function of the room where you’re hanging your wall art. In living rooms, people are usually sitting down, which means the artwork should be lower to be at eyelevel. 

A clever way to ensure that your wall pieces are hung at the right height above that sofa is to hang them one hand’s width above the sofa’s highest point.

2. Keep scale in mind

 Walls & flooring by Bimago
Bimago

Bimago Wandbild

Bimago

That art piece that you want to hang above your sofa or sideboard must be in scale with the furniture below it. Having art that is too small or big will cause the entire arrangement to look strange.

Ensure that your artwork is at least two-thirds the size of that furniture piece under it.

3. Don’t go too high

Bloominville Storage Unit: scandinavian Living room by House Envy
House Envy

Bloominville Storage Unit

House Envy

A very common error is to hang works of art too high on a wall. If no furniture pieces are situated below, the ideal height for that framed beauty is somewhere between 155-160cm from the floor.

4. No do-overs for you

Wimbledon: modern Living room by LEIVARS
LEIVARS

Wimbledon

LEIVARS

Save yourself and your walls the trauma of hanging and re-hanging those gallery pieces. 

Before you come anywhere near your wall, first trace the outline of each piece on some paper, and cut it out. If you’re hanging portraits, draw arrows on the paper to indicate the direction that the subject is looking.

Tape these papers to your selected wall area to determine if spacing, sizing, and height work for you.

5. What about balance?

West Lake Hills Residence:  Corridor & hallway by Specht Architects
Specht Architects

West Lake Hills Residence

Specht Architects

When you hang multiple pieces in a group (like that gallery of family/friend photos), visual balance is very important. In a group arrangement, keep the heavy pieces at the bottom left, as it balances the weight of the items, seeing as our eyes automatically start reading from the left. 

If you have an even arrangement, put the biggest one in the middle.

6. The mix-and-match gallery

E2 PAVILION ECO HOUSE, BLACKHEATH:  Corridor & hallway by E2 Architecture + Interiors
E2 Architecture + Interiors

E2 PAVILION ECO HOUSE, BLACKHEATH

E2 Architecture + Interiors

Gallery arrangements are prime solutions for blank walls. Add some display interest by including more than framed art, like a vase or decorative object on the table underneath the wall pieces. 

Position the most prominent piece at eye level (when standing), and work outward. And if you’re using different frames, spread them out a little to include breathing space between each piece.

7. Your bedroom art

It’s recommended that you opt for personal art, such as family photographs or your own photography, against your bedroom walls. If you’re arranging the pieces in groups, try to stick with one colour scheme, or opt for either all black-and-white or all colour photographs.

8. For the kitchen

In the kitchen, be sure to select a wall space where your art won’t get damaged by water or heat. 

If you have a traditional-style kitchen, vintage art with traditional frames work best. For the modern kitchen, however, opt for brighter colours with stainless-steel frames.

9. Wall size is important

Consider your wall space (and room arrangement) just as much as you do those framed works of art. Use small pieces between windows and doors. If small wall art is hung against a large wall, the pieces look lost. And if you use larger pieces, make sure there’s room for people to step back and admire the art.  

Looking a bit bland? Don’t stress, we have great: Tips For Colourful Walls.

10. Fit your style

 Walls & flooring by Bimago
Bimago

Bimago Wandbild

Bimago

Make sure your arrangement matches your decorating style. Symmetrical arrangements are more traditional or formal, while asymmetrical works for a modern space. 

And take the image and frame style also into consideration. Cottage-style rooms can look amazing with vintage images or botanicals. But for a modern room, stick with large and abstract piece, as expertly illustrated by design firm Bimago, above. 

homify hint: By all means use a spirit level to ensure those pictures are hung straight, but trust your eye as well; dado rails, ceiling cornices and such are not always perfectly level themselves.

How’s it hanging? Tell us all about how you position your wall art in our comments section, below...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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