Hints and Tips on Hanging Artworks
I’m often asked about the hanging of paintings in client’s homes so thought a few hints and tips would be useful to share here.
Consider the positioning
When hanging paintings it’s firstly important to consider the context and positioning in your home and how they will mix with other art and elements in the space. Look at all the other elements present in the space where the artwork could be hung. The presence of the doors and ceiling height, plug and switch positions etc. Consider everything that may impact on someone standing in front of your painting to view it at a good distance.
You need to be able to stand back so you can see the whole painting without having to move your eyes – then you get an idea of what most people will see when they walk past it. A good rule of thumb is to stand about three times the width of the painting away from it if this is possible in your room space.
The space around the artwork (Negative Space) is just as important to give the painting ‘room to breathe’. Negative space is very important when hanging several artworks together,’ The Negative Space between paintings is where the viewers eyes go when they scroll from one painting to another. There is a trend today for ‘Gallery Walls’ overcrowded with lots of photos, paintings etc. Personal taste I know, but think carefully if this is the aesthetic you want to achieve or if your new painting warrants being the star of the show!
Small artworks work well in alcoves, space between doors and walls, vertically hung above each other etc. Similar works look good either side of a space to link them together.
Avoid locations that could cause damage
Tempting as it may be to hang your new painting in pride of place above the fireplace this could cause damage in the long term if your fire is used very regularly or is an open fire. Likewise radiators give off heat that can affect the canvas of a painting hung above them. Try to avoid direct sunlight especially if your artwork is painted in watercolour or is a pencil drawing… they will fade in sunlight. But do consider lighting to ensure your painting is shown off well… spotlights/picture lights are the best here.
There is no substitute for professional framing. To protect your investment, a professional framer will always advise on the best way to do this. For example, the use of specialist UV glass to help prevent fading and treated frames to protect art in humid or fluctuating temperatures. Non reflective glass gives a much better finish making it very easy to admire your investment!
Hanging at the right height
Museums and Galleries typically hang art at 1.5 metres to the middle of the painting. This is the optimum and considers the average eyelevel of the viewer. Of course the height you hang work in your home will depend on many factors such as your ceiling height, position of large furniture items etc.
Fixings – don’t scrimp!
Choose the right picture hooks for the job! There are an array of options for sale in DIY shops which cater for the different types of wall in most homes… solid plaster, cavity wall, blockboard etc.
It is important to understand the structure of the walls in your home. A very large picture isn’t going to stay on a simple plaster wall if you’re only using two nails. Check for electricity cables and water pipes (there are gadgets in DIY stores to help you do this). In modern houses cables and pipes tend to be channelled around the edges of walls, but in older homes this isn’t always the case.
Consider the weight of the artwork in the frame. It may be best for large pieces to have two fixings on either side rather than a single central one. This way the artwork won’t droop forwards or tilt each time someone brushes by it.
Essential kit for hanging a painting: the right fixings (including rawl plugs if using screw in fixings), tape measure, pencil, hammer, spirit level to ensure artworks are level (don’t trust your eyes they can play tricks on you!)
Grouping together can bring out nice visual themes between the art. This could be their subjects, styles, colour schemes etc. Don’t get too ‘hung up’ on this though. The layout will reveal itself as you begin to assemble the painting. Best to do this on the floor to see what works well together. Also keep in mind that hanging very different pieces alongside each other can create a really striking effect too.
Don’t over think it!
These tips will help you prolong the life of your new artwork but when it comes to hanging make sure you do it in a way that appeals to YOU! Afterall you will be the ones looking at it every day. If the painting is good it will still be good anywhere!