Picture Hanging Do's and Don'ts
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2020)
Have you ever noticed how often people simply stick a picture on the wall, with little or no though about it, and call it good? This really isn't the best way to go about getting your pictures to look their best. If you are looking to get the most out of your decorating efforts, then you really need to learn the picture hanging do's and don'ts. With these guidelines firmly in place, you will be well on your way to creating a wonderful home art gallery.
- Look at it as a whole. The key to really getting pictures hanging the right way is by learning to look at everything as a whole. Keep in mind that where you will be placing one picture will affect the placement, and how well everything is viewed overall. If at all possible, think of it as a form of the classic video game Tetris where you need to make everything fit together just right.
- Practice. Before you begin hanging pictures, try practicing the arrangement first. This can be done very easily in one of two ways. The first is to simply lay out the pictures on the ground, and moving them around until you have them arranged how you would like. The second is to draw it out (even a rough sketch will do) until you have the arrangement that you like. Not only is it easier to get the look that you want this way, you can also help reduce the number of holes that you put in your wall.
- Order is preferable to chaos. The human mind likes to make order out of chaos, and this works in art as well. What this means is that you should try and arrange your pictures so that there is both a horizontal and vertical element, preferably more than one if you can arrange it.
- Keep it close, but not too close. Create groupings for your pictures so that they are close, but not exactly too close. When there is too much space between groupings it tends to disrupt the flow that you are trying to create. When possible keep in mind that color, size, and texture of the pictures (as well as the frames) can all effect how the arrangement will look. Try to strike a balance of all of those elements when creating your groupings.
- Stick to a band. One of the classic principles of hanging pictures is that you are supposed to hang them at eye level, except that this has one small problem. That problem is that not everyone in a home has the same eye level. To deal with this, determine a happy medium between the people that live in your home to start with. For example, if you have someone that is six foot two inches tall, and another that is five foot eight inches, then your starting eye level should be at around five foot eleven. From there you can then hang your pictures in a band that can go six to eight inches both above and below this line.
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