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Designer Guide to Hanging Artwork Like a Pro

AUGUST 17, 2022
Photo credit: One Kings Lane

We believe that artwork is one of the ultimate finishing touches to any room. And chances are you've probably curated, arranged, and displayed artwork throughout many different spaces in your home. Whether you are designing a room from scratch or refreshing an existing space by switching up your walls, showcasing your artwork is essential for any space. From funky bold abstracts, to modern black and white photography, to more classic formal paintings, and everything in between, we believe that no space is complete without some sort of wall art.

But our designers also know that hanging artwork properly can be pretty darn tricky too. We can’t help but notice when a piece of art is hung too high or too low or when a gallery wall is off-balance. We decided to set the record straight once and for all and tapped our designers to create a Decorist-approved guide to hanging artwork — or even leaning in, when need be.

Read on for 8 pro tips to get you on your way to displaying artwork and creating some showstopping walls.

Tip 1. Up And Over

Image via Studio McGee

When hanging pictures over a piece of furniture, make sure to cover only two-thirds of the wall behind the furniture. You don't want the artwork to go wider than the length of your headboard or sofa.


Tip 2.  The Right Height

Image via The Spruce

Designers never waver on the "57-inch rule" when advising on how to hang art. This refers to hanging pieces 57" from the floor to the center of the art - always. This is the approximate average eye height and is never too high or too low.


Tip 3. More Is More

Image via Decorist

A gallery wall typically consists of a variety of frame sizes, however focusing on only three sizes of small, medium and large and positioning the frames both horizontally and vertically will be sure to produce a mixed but harmonious look.


Tip 4. Step It Up

Image via The Everygirl

When hanging multiple pieces along your stairwell, choose similar pictures in a repeating pattern. Stagger your frames in line with the angle of the staircase and hang them above each landing as if the art is "stepping up".


Tip 5.  Welcome Mat

Image via Liljencrantz Design

Use no more than three colors when choosing a mat for your artwork. Factor in the colors found in your rooms and choose three hues that will work well when placed together or even in separate spaces. This will ensure cohesiveness throughout your entire home.


Tip 6. Fifteen Minutes of Framed

Image via Coco Cozy

A good rule of thumb when deciding on how to frame your piece is this: lighter-colored frames allow the focus to remain on the artwork while darker-colored frames create contrast and balance to the piece. Varying frames in wood tones will result in an eclectic and interesting look.


Tip 7. Tools of the Trade

Image via Chris Loves Julia

Have your tools at the ready before you hang. You will need essentials like a tape measure, hammer, level and wall anchors for heavier pieces, or even grid paper and tape if you're mapping out your plan on the floor beforehand. A second set of eyes doesn't hurt either.


Tip 8.  Lean In

Image via Decorist

Last, but not least, when in doubt lean in on your artwork. Leaning art is becoming just as popular as the good old hammer-and-nail method of hanging it. You can layer larger pieces with smaller pieces or focus on one piece above a mantle or credenza. Also, another insider design tip is to place art on the floor and lean it against a wall for extra drama and creativity.

Looking for help with hanging your artwork? Book a video design consultation and have a Decorist designer look at your space to give you real-time advice on how to hang or purchase artwork in your own home.