The Art of Hanging Art

Follow these insider tips to learn the perfect way to display your contemporary art.

Whether you are hanging a priceless heirloom or a Contemporary Limited Edition Art Print; hanging several pieces of art or just one painting, proper placement is critical. The most important considerations for placement of art are the scale of the room and the art itself.

Always follow the general rule of big art in big spaces, small art in small spaces. And always hang art with the centre of the picture at eye level which is 155-170cm from the floor.

Large modern art look good when placed over pieces of furniture or a fireplace. But make sure that the art is NOT longer than the furniture. It should be about 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the object over which it hangs.

Never leave more than 20cm of wall space between the base of your paintings and the object over which it hangs. Otherwise the eye will focus on the wall rather than your art.

Try to group small pieces of art where possible. Using similar or matching frames and mounts will bring unity to the set but is not necessary if the theme or colours of the paintings already provide unity.

One of the most interesting ways of displaying contemporary art is in groupings, which can be used in large or small spaces. There are several professional ways of grouping your contemporary art collection as described below.

Salon Display
Select a group of paintings with a common theme such as colour, subject matter or even frame type. Pieces need to be of different sizes and can be centred or lined up above each other and next to each other. Spacing between pieces should be kept consistent to avoid the layout appearing random.

Horizontal Display
Group a collection of differently framed art works directly next to each other with the frames almost touching. This allows a display of several art works in a small space. It works best with an odd number of pieces and the largest piece in the middle and getting smaller as it goes out.

Vertical Display
Group a collection of uniquely framed art works directly on top of each other with the frames almost touching. The uniqueness of the frames and their various shapes and sizes are both emphasized along a vertical axis.

Mosaic Display
This type of arrangement is perfect for an architectural niche and uses pieces of art of various sizes. Start by lining up the outside pieces for a consistent square or rectangular outer edge and then fill in the remaining space. The spacing becomes irregular as you get toward the middle but it works because the edges form a regular shape.

Symmetrical Display
Display a collection of pieces of the same size in the same frames and with the same distance between them. This can either be a single row of art works or rows can be added to create a grid. This is particularly effective when the theme of all the pieces is the same.

Asymmetrical Display
Group a combination of three pieces of art to achieve a balanced asymmetrical display with the two smaller pieces stacked and centred alongside the larger piece.