Deciding on the right piece of art for your home can be difficult – so once you’ve found it, you’d like to think the hard part was over…
…but alas. Acquiring the artwork is only half of the job. Next up, you need to decide where you’re going to display it – and how.
But don’t despair! We have had a chat with our fabulous Gallery Manager and in-house hanging specialist, Henry, to get the low-down on the dos and don’ts where hanging is concerned. You know what that means? It’s time to face up to that ever-growing collection of frames stacked up in your cupboard.
Here are Henry’s top tips on how to get started on hanging art in your home like a pro.
So, I have my work ready to hang but I’m stuck on where it should go. What are some of the things I should keep in mind when choosing where to hang my art?
"Firstly, I would always keep in mind the size of the work in relation to the size of your wall; smaller works can get lost on big spaces, and larger works can dominate small, intimate spaces. Keep in mind how the light will be entering the room and how this changes throughout the day. Also avoid hanging directly above radiators."
Let’s talk tools of the trade. What do I need to make sure I have before getting started?
"It really depends on your walls and how permanent you want your hang to be, but my main essentials would be a spirit level, measuring tape, wall anchors and screws. If hanging on drywall, you will need a stud finder and screwdriver. If hanging on brick, make sure you have a drill to hand.
"I would also recommend checking the max load that your hanging mechanism can take, as well as the weight of your artwork. It might seem a little strange balancing your artwork on your bathroom scales, but it’s necessary! No one wants to destroy their walls and their favourite artwork in one fell swoop…"
Is there a standard rule of thumb that I can apply to hanging any single piece of art on a wall?
"When following the standard rule of thumb, the centre point of your work should rest at eye level, between 145cm-155cm. If you’re hanging art above furniture then the bottom of the artwork should sit around 10-15cm above the piece.
"That being said, it is not a crime to disregard exact measurements and just do what feels right - there is no incorrect place to hang your art."
How about if you’re tackling something a little more complicated like a selection of works or even a gallery wall?
"With something more intricate like a gallery wall, I would say start off by laying the works you want to hang out on the floor and arranging there. Once you’re happy with the layout, make sure to snap a picture on your phone before transferring onto the wall to use as a point of reference. If you like symmetry and order, try hanging in grids and triptychs (this method is most effective with works that are similar in size and have matching frames). Cohesive spacing is particularly key to a clean and uniform layout; we typically leave 5cm gaps between each work.
"A cluster can be a good way to display any oddities in your collection. If you’re stuck with where to start, pick a centrepiece - perhaps your favourite work or the largest - and build outwards from there. It can help to follow a loose theme, concept or colour palette that connects the works, or even finding similarities that go beyond the work itself. For example, you might want to match works with how they make you feel; if one instils a sense of calm, try to pair that with others that match that feeling.
"Ultimately, there are no rules when it comes to a cluster wall – they can be uniform and perfectly matched, or an eclectic mixture of style, texture and scale."
Not all of us have the ability or the confidence to drill holes into the walls – what would be your advice for anyone keen to spare their precious walls (and security deposit!)
"If using a drill or a hammer seems like a herculean task, then command hooks and strips are your answer. They are likely the most common method of hanging artwork at home – and certainly a necessity for anyone wary of losing their deposit. Keep in mind that there is a limit to the weight that these strips can bear, but they will comfortably support most regular sized artworks without leaving any marks when taken down.
"Another solution is to not hang the art at all (stay with me!) Don’t be afraid to lean artworks on shelves or mantelpieces. With smaller works, more and more of our artists are putting picture stands on the backs of their frames so they can be displayed on an ornamental table or on top of a chest of drawers. This is a good alternative to wall hanging and can offer up some space on your walls if they are getting a little busy!
"There are also picture rails. Picture rails are typically associated with traditional interiors, although these sorts of period features are becoming increasingly popular in modern builds. As well as being an aesthetically pleasing bit of décor (and creating the illusion of higher ceilings), picture rails can be great time savers. They offer the flexibility to keep changing the curation of your art over time with minimal effort. If you’re thinking about utilising a picture rail, you will need D rings, picture hooks and picture wire (or other hanging material)."
Do you have any final words of wisdom, or things to avoid?
"The Sun! There is no real way to get around this, although UV protective glass can help - it will cost a little extra, but it is worth it in the long run. It won’t solve the problem completely, but it will certainly alleviate some of the damage that might be caused. Ultimately, it is best to keep artworks out of direct sunlight altogether as it can lead to discolouration, cracking, fading and a whole plethora of other sunlight-related afflictions."
Thank you, Henry! Now, where's my drill...
Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out our Online Store, which features brilliant original and affordable unframed works by members of the Royal Watercolour Society and Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers! All works are available to buy immediately and have delivered directly to your door.
More like this on the Blog...
Read: 5 top tips for collecting art on a budget
Read: The Art of the Gallery Wall: Tips & Tricks for Curating your own Gallery Wall
Read: Artwork to complement your living space
Read: Home is where the art is
Read: Three Reasons Why Art Makes the Perfect Gift
Read: Starting your Art Collection with an Original Print