No home is complete without a piece of art—or many! While mustering up the courage to hang things on those blank walls may feel a bit daunting, you’ll thank yourself when you finally get that gallery wall up and can admire your favorite photos and paintings each and every day. Before you get started, though, keep the following tips in mind. We spoke with designers to gather plenty of do’s and don’ts to consider when it comes to displaying artwork.
Take your time planning out your desired arrangement. “It can be hard to visualize how a combination of art will look on the wall, so it helps to sketch out your plan on graph paper or use a computer program to lay out your art,” designer Adrienne Robideaux says. “Rearrange the pieces on your floor until you love how it looks, then cut out paper the size of each piece of art and hang those onto the wall. This will help you visualize the final result and provides an easy way to measure when you start hanging!”
Compile the Necessary Equipment’
Grab the right equipment—a hammer and nails alone may not cut it. “Two handy tools for hanging art are an electric level and stud finder for heavier pieces,” designer Daniella Hoffer notes. Additionally, she advises, “Make sure you are using the correct mounting hardware and don’t overdo it with heavy duty Sheetrock nails if it’s not necessary—you will end up with bigger holes which could be visible.”
Measure, Measure, Measure
Space everything out properly. “Allow for at least four inches between frames; any closer and the art pieces can look overcrowded,” designer Stephanie Lindsey notes. “And when pieces are really close, every little imperfection stands out, so it makes it essential to hang everything perfectly level.”
Don’t Be Basic
Think outside the box a bit when it comes to creating a display. “Blending art and artifacts along a wall, even turning the corner, provides a sense of movement throughout the space,” designer Lucinda Loya shares. “These unique placements and groupings help capture a client’s personality while adding another element to the art’s beauty that can elevate any space.”
Let Your Favorite Pieces Shine
Go ahead and play favorites. “When arranging wall art, I find it’s always important to start with your favorite piece and build out from there,” designer Lauren Thorup says. “Pay attention to scale and proportion and what you want your eye to see first.”
Use a Variety of Frame Styles
\Vary your frame styles. “Don’t be afraid to mix and match frames,” Thorup adds. “Most homes have a variety of finishes, so I always encourage people to hang what they love and not worry about the rest. It all comes together in the end!”
Don’t Skimp on Size
\Don’t skimp on art size. “I aim for at least 50 percent of the width of whatever is below the piece of art, but in my opinion bigger is almost always better when it comes to art,” designer Lee Harmon Waters explains. “If a work of art is wider than the item, say a sofa, below it, that’s totally cool. Just layer some other objects on either side of the sofa to balance the width—maybe some end tables or a pedestal with a plant or sculpture.”
Don’t Break the Bank
There’s no need to spend beyond your means to create a designer-worthy setup. “If you cannot find large pieces that you love or can afford, grouping pieces together, even when they don’t match, creates a mass of artwork that can also read as one solid focal point,” Waters says.