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How to Hang Art

Showcase your paintings and photographs properly with these tips on how to hang art.


  • Step 1: Manipulate the perception of your room with your artwork: hang vertical pieces to make ceilings appear higher; display horizontal pictures to give the illusion of a longer room.
  • Step 2: Don't hang too many pieces of art on one wall; art needs what curators call "visual breathing room" to look its very best.
  • FACT: In 1961, Henri Matisse' painting "Le Bateau" hung upside-down in the Museum of Modern Art for 47 days before anyone noticed.
  • TIP: When getting artwork framed, look for options that help eliminate glare and protect against UV rays.
  • Step 3: Make sure there's adequate light for your art, whether it's from track lighting, spotlights, or a strategically placed lamp. But don't hang paintings too close to windows; the natural light will cause glare, and the UV rays may damage or fade the item.
  • Step 4: Hang art either at eye level, or just above it; placing pictures too high is one of the most common mistakes people make. A good rule is to hang art so that the center of the piece, or the center of a grouping, is 57 inches high; that's the average human eye-height.
  • Step 5: Create groupings by selecting pieces that are approximately the same size and share something in common -- a color, a theme, or the same kind of frame. Experiment with different configurations to see which works best in the location you've chosen.
  • TIP: Determine how much space to leave between pictures in a grouping by doubling the width of the frame.
  • Step 6: Keep scale in mind when picking a spot to hang art: don't put a small picture on a large wall, or vice versa. Art above furniture should fill about 2/3 of the space, whether the artwork consists of one piece or a grouping. It should never be wider than the piece of furniture.

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