How to Hang Art and Make Your Home Your Gallery
Working for over 4 years at Bluethumb, I’ve become a bit of an expert at hanging art. Saying that, I still procrastinate and cheat when it comes to my own home. I know I shouldn’t use sticky picture hanging strips, but I sometimes do. Warning: This will lead to breakages!
Despite my occasional lack of professionalism, I have recently managed to hang all the art I own and it’s a great feeling. Do you have art you’ve been meaning to hang for years? Follow these 5 steps and your collection cluttering cupboards will finally get the attention it deserves.
1. Planning is key
This is the fun part, but also the hardest. Let go of familiar friendships, artworks that have been together for years, and start from scratch. It’s time to get clinical.
Look for groups with a common thread: works by the same artist, complementary colours, a particular hue throughout etc. I had portraits all around my home which gave me the idea of having a dedicated portrait wall. You can have a group of loose ends too. Similar framing can still give this group a cohesive look (although I love the organised chaos of mishmash frames).
2. Hang your art salon style
Salon style hangs may seem daunting, but they’re easy with a little thought and give a polished look with personality.
Take a group of artworks and find a wall they’ll fit comfortably. Play with how you’re going to hang your art on the floor by juxtaposing matching and complementary colours, experimenting with spacing and trying different overall shapes. You’ll know when it’s right. Trust your instincts.
3. Symmetrical hangs work too
Creating a sense of symmetry and balance looks great when you have enough art to fill a wall. You don’t want it to look overloaded on one side, so find artworks, or groups of artworks, that match in size. Around my TV I arranged four smaller pieces by the same artist to perfectly match a large artwork on the other side.
Another way to create balance is a rectangular salon hang. Start with four artworks in each corner of your rectangle and then fill it out. Again, it’s a case of trial and error on the floor.
4. Embrace the space with larger artworks
If an artwork is large enough to command its own wall, let it. Ideally find a wall that mirrors its shape. A long portrait artwork in the middle of a wide wall will get lost. Look for that nook where it feels commissioned.
Tip: You can simply lean large, heavy artworks if you find the right place. This is especially good for renters. Use blue tack to ensure the artwork doesn’t slip or fall forwards.
5. Time to hang your art
Hang art so the centre is at eye level (approx. 145cm). Think of groups as one artwork and make the centre of the group eye level.
Never use sticky picture hanging strips for heavy artworks. Buy a stud finder (you can get a cheap one at Bunnings) and either nail a hook or drill a screw into a stud. If there isn’t a stud where you want to hang art (there usually isn’t), use plasterboard anchors with a screw to give good support or buy special plaster hooks that have multiple small nails. It’s all easier than it sounds. Promise!
Tip: Most smartphones have a level tool (on the iPhone it’s in the Measure app). Make sure your art is straight and use blu tack to hold in place.
Time for the Opening
Now you’ve hung all your art, buy a box of goon, set up a gold coin donation jar and invite thirsty friends and family round to admire your exhibition. Seriously though, you’ll be amazed at the compliments and conversations your new live-in art gallery will bring. And the feeling of admiring your art hung well on your walls is just as good as the feeling of buying it.