So you’re surrounded by old favorite and newly-acquired pictures, all resting comfortably in their shiny new frames.
There are about a zillion “right ways” to create an art grouping. But my saying, “Just fiddle around with the layout until it looks right ” is supremely unhelpful.
So I’ve tried to break it down.
HANG IN A GRID
I find grid hanging to be extremely effective when you have a series of pictures. It’s both authoritative and restful, and it brings an order to a room.
Just yesterday I was at a client’s house talking with her about an art wall. She has many (MANY) art postcards that are meaningful to her, so we may buy 20 square frames with white mats, frame the postcards, and hang them in a grid in her dining room.
HANG IN A SQUARE
When in doubt, try this. As you’re laying the art out on the floor or a bed, create a big imaginary square: line up the left edges of the art on the left side of the square and the right edges on the right side. Same with top and bottom. And then you can fill in the rest however you like.
It works! Especially if you have, say, 9 or more pieces to hang.
(A few weeks ago, there was a snippet in the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal about this…it was an interesting article. And naturally I can’t find it now.)
HANG IN A RANDOM ARRANGEMENT
This is the most difficult to describe, of course, because a grouping will look right or it won’t. I tend to (TEND TO) start with a piece in the center and add one picture at a time, alternating R and L, trying to balance the arrangement as I work.
This is how I did my own living room:
Sorry – there’s quite a leap between the last two pictures. (I was anxious to finish!):
The 6th picture I hung was: the pastel over the Japanese guy
7th: oil painting in bottom left
8th: round wooden piece above it
Last: tiny colorful picture on the far right, which I think is critical to the whole grouping.
Here are a few rules of thumb for the random arrangement:
- Use an odd number of pieces
- Leave approximately the same number of inches between pieces – I tend to use from 2-1/2″ to 4″
- Cheat by hanging hang everything against a boldly colored wall. It helps erase a multitude of hanging sins.
I hope this is helpful, Gentle Readers. Go forth, be bold, and remember that there’s always more than one right answer when you’re hanging art.
(By the way, Apartment Therapy has a very helpful article called, “How To: Hang Art in Groups (Like Kate Spade),”and this technical post from Artist, Emerging is excellent. As is this i on Design blog post, which provided many of the pictures for this series.)
Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. Look for her advice about jewel tones in the November 2010 issue of Real Simple. Page 155. Not that we have it marked or anything.