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Height & Light, Displaying Art Gracefully

You've found art you love and now it's time to hang it in your home. Hanging your art well will enhance your experience of it. Hanging you are in an awkward way will distract from how great your piece really is. Keep a few things in mind and you will enjoy your collection endlessly.

I am going to make everything around me beautiful, that will be my life.” – Elsie de Wolfe

There are a few rules that the establishment agree on when it comes to hanging art. These rules make it easier on the viewer and honors the art by not placing it too high or low.

Rule #1 - Hang an artwork 57" from the center of the piece to the floor for perfect placement. Our brains really like art here. It lowers our stress when art is at the just right "gazable height". Find the center of the artwork and measure down 57"... here's the tricky part, every piece has different hanging mechanisms and so you need to mark and measure up from the 57" point to the hanger in order to know where to install your hook. It takes a little patience and some math but the results are so worth it!

Rule #2 - When hanging art above furniture or a mantle the 57" rule gets broken and now we use the 6"-8" rule. Hang are 6'-8" above the back of a sofa, a headboard, the mantle, a buffet table, etc. For some people this may feel to low, but it is more important to make sure the art is an over all part of the composition, rather than floating out on it's own on the wall.

Rule #3 - The 57" rule applies to groupings (and gallery walls) too. Think of the group of art as a single unit and begin your hang so that the center of the group is 57" from the floor and build out from there. Hang pieces 3"-6" apart for a clean collection look.

Beyond placing your art on the wall, there is the matter of lighting to consider. Art near a window will benefit from natural light, yet direct sunlight can damage art. Art hung in a shadowy space will never really be view in all it's glory without a little extra attention to making sure it is splashed with light. You can invest in frame lights, or simple use well place lamp lighting for this task. The difference between having your art well lit and having it become muted with shadow will determine your subconscious level of enjoyment and appreciation of the piece.

Taking care to hang and light a piece to the best of your ability will create a harmony in your space and honor your collection.

Happy collecting!


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