The Ultimate Guide to Hanging Framed Art for a Beautiful Home Interior

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Art Hanging GuidelinesSo you bought an art painting – now what? Can you just hang it on a wall?

Well, you can. But it won’t be anything close to what you have ever dreamed of.  Be it clocks, wall décor or wall art, you need to skillfully arrange these to look prime and flawless.

However, arranging art is not that easy. From size to alignment, you have to consider many things before finally hanging art in your home. For a beginner like you, these steps can be bewildering.

In this three-tier guide, you will learn everything you need to know about hanging art paintings, from deciding on the size and shape to aligning the art painting.

First, let us see how to determine the size and shape of the painting.

The Secret to Choosing the Art of Correct Size and Shape

Size and shape of the painting is a decisive factor in home décor. Unfortunately, nine out of ten times, people get it completely wrong.

It is not an intentional mistake though. It is the result of difficulty in imagining the proportions of a wall. It is even harder to imagine how an art would look on that wall. So such mistakes happen often.

Nevertheless, it is quite easy to avoid these unintentional mistakes. All you need is a bit of awareness about how to use different sized art for each room.

First, let’s start with the shape of art.

How to Decide on the Shape of Framed Art 

Should it be a square or a rectangle? If a rectangle, should it be a horizontal or a vertical one? Essentially, all these depends on the shape of the wall you hang the painting. If it is a tall and narrow wall, you need a tall and narrow art – a vertically rectangular art painting. If the wall is small and square, a square shaped art is what your wall needs. 

Next step is deciding on the size. Have your pen and paper ready, because there is bit of math to do.

The Math of Determining the Size of Art 

First, find the largest block of open wall you have in your room. You can find this to be the region between windows and other distractions. That will be our little ‘playground’. We are going to cover almost 2/3rd of this area with the art painting. So, measure the size of this section of wall in terms of length and breadth.

Determining Size of the Art

Find the Open Block of Wall

Now, time to do the calculations. A ground rule is that the art should not take up more than 2/3 of the whole space available. For example, suppose the width of your open wall is 40 inches. The width of the art therefore, should be no more than 22 to 23 inches.

Sometimes, it is difficult to get large frames for big walls. Then, you can use multiple wall frames of same or different sizes. You need to hang them in such a way that it will not take more than 2/3rd of the open space.

Hanging Art Paintings – 3 Different Scenarios 

After you have decided the size of art, the next step is hanging. But, you can’t just hang your art anywhere on your wall. There are some rules to follow.

The general rule of hanging framed art is “hang at eye level”. All other guidelines that follow are variations of this most important rule.

The rule says, the center of the painting should be aligned to your eye level. This means, a viewer should see the painting at eye-level whether she stands or sits in a room. If you are using multiple paintings as a group, center of the whole arrangement should fall at your eye level.

But, what is the ideal eye level? How should you measure it? Well, there are different strategies. Let us see them one by one.

Hanging on a Bare Wall: The first one is kind of a trial and error method. You will probably need some help here. Ask your help to hold the painting against the part of the wall where you want to hang it.

Hanging on Bare wall

Hang at Eye-Level

Standing at the centre of the room, take a look at the painting. Is it aligned to your eye level? Keep adjusting the height, until you feel it is aligned to your eye level. But, as you already know, you can’t always trust the trial and error method. So here is proper way to mark eye level.

This method is quite simple. All you need is a measuring tape. From the floor, make a mark at a height of 5 ft 7 inches on the wall. And as you guessed it, this is the eye level of an average grown man. It is where the center of the painting should come.

Hanging above Furniture: If you are hanging the art above furniture, bring this scale down to around 4 ft 10 inches. And remember, there should be at least a 10 inch gap between the top of the furniture and base of the framed art. Don’t hang it too close or too far to the furniture. Also, you need to consider the width of art when hanging it above any furniture. Keep the width down to 2/3rd of the width of furniture.

Hang Above Furniture

Hang above Furniture

Hanging in Hallways: If you want your hallways to look like an art gallery, you can use the height the art galleries use – at 5 feet from the floor. You can do the same while hanging art in lobby or a long passage. Whether to use single or multiple paintings here is entirely up to you.

So, you have the height at which you want to hang the painting.

All the measurements and calculations that are left to do are purely common sense.

Measuring Center of the Frame

Measuring Centre of the Frame

Now, measure the distance between the centre of the painting and the hook on its backside. It shouldn’t be more than a few centimetres. Add these centimetres to the marked height on the wall. You have a new height and this is where you should start drilling. If the painting comes with a wire on its back, calculate the hanging distance from top of the frame when the wire is stretched. 

How to Group and Align Multiple Paintings 

When it comes to arrangement, you can bring your own creativity into it. Come up with new ways to display framed art in groups. Depending on the space available, you can hang the painting in groups of any number.

There are no explicit rules about hanging art in a group. However, there are some guidelines. These guidelines will help you to display the framed art in a more ‘eye pleasing’ manner.

Let us give you some examples.

Scenario #1

Hanging Group of Art - Part 1
Imagine you have a set of similar sized art paintings. Say three or four. And the wall is somewhat spacious. In this case, hang the paintings in a horizontal line with equal spacing. But, if the wall is not wide enough, horizontal arrangement won’t look good. So, arrange the paintings in a vertical line instead.
Hanging Group of Art - Part 2

Scenario #2

Hanging Group of Art of Different Sizes

What to do if you have four or five paintings of entirely different size? Well, note down these simple guidelines.

  • Always keep larger ones in the top row and smaller ones in the bottom row.
  • Align the paintings in the upper row so that the top of the frames are horizontally aligned.
  • Every painting should be aligned vertically from the middle.

Scenario #3

Hanging Multiple Art on Side of Door

Now, imagine you have three paintings of different size. You want to hang it in a narrow space near the door to your room. Arrange the art vertically so that the sides closer to the door are perfectly aligned.

Scenario #4

Hanging art paintings on the stairway is tricky. It will not look beautiful if you align it horizontally or vertically. So, you can opt for diagonal placement, especially if you have many steps and art paintings.  Here is how you can do it.

Hanging Art on Stairways

Your Turn

Hopefully you now see just how easy is the process of hanging an art painting.  A quick question for you: Up to this point, how have you been hanging your art paintings? Are there any rules you follow? Do you feel the ideas mentioned in this article will help?

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About Harikrishnan G

Harikrishnan is the Chief Content Writer at He loves to hang out on the internet and make friends on Facebook. You can connect with him on Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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