Basics About Hanging Pictures and Framing

Arts & Entertainment

  • Author David Harrison
  • Published February 23, 2020
  • Word count 585

Too often our posters and art get stuffed under beds and backs of closets instead of up on our walls. For starters, framing art often seems pricey and confusing—a blue mat with a white wood frame or a blue frame with a white mat? And what about glass? And then putting a nail into the wall seems like a serious enough act to just avoid it all together. Before we know it, dozens of Saturday afternoons have rolled by and our walls are still cold and bare. It’s important to remember that expert advice from a neighborhood frame shop can make all the difference between barren or beautiful.

There is nothing like walking into a room and instantly feeling a sense of comfort. Mindfully displayed art and pictures on a wall has a great deal to do with the overall atmosphere, as much as wall colors, furnishings and carpet selection. Many times, the addition of art turns out to be the most transformative step of all. Art that leads the eye without dominating a room while still blending with the room and the surrounding architecture. Follow this advice on how to make the most of each display—and how to hang art like a pro.

  1. Have all your art ducks in a row

Before picking up a hammer and nail, have all your pictures and art professionally framed. That way, you can design and plot out a map of exactly where pictures will be hung, and how they will look next to each other.

  1. Strive for balance

If your home or apartment is already furnished, or has specific architectural elements such as a fireplace, archway, or book cove, first have someone hold the custom framed art while you look at it from a distance. Sit and stand in different areas of the room and judge for yourself what feels right and balanced. People have the tendency to hang pictures too high which makes them dominate the room. When in doubt, hang pictures lower so they balance and blend well with their surroundings.

  1. Use a measuring tape and level

This is especially important when hanging art where there is no other furnishings or architecture to line up with, like a staircase that goes up and down. It is suggested to measure 58" to 60" from the floor to the bottom of the picture, mark off lightly with a pencil or paint tape. Two inches between pictures is a good rule of thumb. Don’t forget to run a level on top when you’re done, to double-check that they are perfectly straight.

  1. Map it out and relax!

Lay out your art on the floor beneath the wall first and play around. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative before hanging by grouping images together in an irregular shape, with colors that compliment each other but may not match. Try not to line up the top of each picture, or line up the picture top with furniture. To translate the pieces to the wall, measure the full height and width of each, and then mark off those outermost points on the wall using painter’s tape. From there, start hanging. Remember, imperfection is more than okay; it can be fun! Even if the golden number for spacing between works is two inches, there’s no need to be too rigid. If you make a mistake, keep a can of Spackle or toothpaste handy and don’t sweat it. Fill up that hole, and keep going.

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