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How Not To Hang Artwork


While artwork itself is subjective, hanging it is not.  Recently a dinner conversation with a group of friends (artists, gallery owners, interior designers and a person from the Cleveland Museum of Art) turned to hanging artwork.  This opinionated bunch wholeheartedly agree on how not to hang artwork.  Here is a glimpse of their pet peeves. Don'tsArt over doorsOVERKILL – Too much and too small in scale is not attractive.  Hang artwork to be viewed, not just to fill a space.  Every spare foot of wall space does not need to be filled with something on the wall.Bad artworkLINE – “Too many people hang things up in a line, one right after another all around the room.”   This concept got a unanimous thumbs down.  UNDERSIZED – Artwork should be sized correctly for the space.  Using too small of a piece to fill a space on a wall looks unfinished.  Big walls need big art or big groupings.

POSITION – Hanging artwork too high or too low is another common mistake.  As a general rule hang artwork or groupings with the midpoint approximately 5′ – 5’4″ from the floorIn the illustration here, I used a 5’4″ midpoint to balance the 10′ ceiling height, any higher is too high.  Notice how adding a large piece and grouping the smaller pictures together fills the space and is much more interesting to look at.

BAD ART – The last point everyone agreed on was, artwork is not filler.  One designer commented how a prior to a party, a client filled her walls from a discount store.   “It looked terrible, like a store full of junk hung on the walls.”   The gallery owner chimed in,  “Empty walls are a whole lot prettier than those filled mindless artwork.”

Artwork should enhance the room.  Hang pieces which are attractive to look at and add to the decor.  Art will invite one to linger and look a bit more especially when hung at the appropriate height.  Happy hanging. 🙂Lisa sig

For more on hanging artwork click on these popular posts: Placing Artwork, Groupings, Mistakes and Art Placement

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