Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interesting Ways To Display Artwork

There are numerous ways to display artwork effectively. Some of the factors that determine placement are the space/room, the style and size of the artwork, the number of pieces, one's own style, height of the ceiling and so on. Here are some pictures for inspiration with some guidelines to keep in mind.

 Artwork is generally hung too high. In a living room, for example, where most occupants will  be seated, the artwork should be at a level at which those seated can appreciate the piece.

Mix things up for interest by placing different items on the wall like in the picture below. If unsure of placement, in this type of grouping, start with the largest piece near the center.

Provide a common denominator
Photo: Thomas J. Story

The occupant of the room is important in determining height placement. In this case, a kid's room with artwork by bedside at eye level.
Embrace unexpected placement
Photo: Lisa Romerein

Negative space in a room like in this case, a corner, can be made much more interesting by adding a mix of artwork.
Use negative space
Photo: Lisa Romerein

Bringing the outdoors in adds calm. Note - the artwork is not centered above the bed but above the nightstand and bed together. It works!
Bring the outside in
Photo: Lisa Romerein

Adding artwork to a shelf can break up the monotony of the shelf display if too large.
Shelve it
Photo: Thomas J. Story

A frame with a personal picture displayed on the kitchen counter warms up the space instantly and can be easily changed.
Surprise with it
Photo: Ericka McConnell

Another effective way is to keep everything at the same level (eye level) to create a linear grouping.
Unify it
Photo: Thomas J. Story

A color scheme (in this case blue, yellow and white) and a symmetrical grouping adds balance.
Yellow and blue gallery arrangement

A tall ceiling allows for a mix of artwork with inches between rather than grouped close together. Note the artwork on table and propped up on floor.

In this room, because of the slanted ceiling the collection has been grouped closer. There is balance with the sizing of pieces on either side of the window.

Scale is very important. A piece or pieces (collectively) should be at least two-thirds the size of furniture it is displayed above.
4 pieces of art above sofa

Visual balance with heavier piece near the bottom.
artwork after being cut up above sofa

Level the middles of the artwork pieces when working within one room and different walls, different sized artwork. 
orange and green living room with white walls and furniture

In the kitchen, artwork should be hung away from water or heat.
White kitchen with artwork

Do not hang a small single piece on an oversized wall. Place it on a narrower wall or as part of a grouping or else it will look lost. For example, good for between doors and windows.
3 pieces of art by window seat

Layering adds a lot of interest and warmth, like on the mantle.
Layered art and accents above mantel

Match your style in terms of choice of artwork and the way to display - symmetrical displays are traditional and formal whereas assymetrical ones are more modern.
dining room with flower artwork

This I love. Propped up artwork.
Picture against nightstand
Lastly, use paper (brown, newspaper) templates to lay out artwork. I use this all the time for clients (even for furniture layouts) as it gives one a better sense of scale and balance.
mapping it out with kraft paper
Courtesy here & here

These are just guidelines. There is no perfect way to display art. It is your artwork so make it work for you and make sure you enjoy it. Do you display your artwork in one particular way or do you like to try out different groupings and mixes? Would you now try something new?
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  1. I'm giving the husband some artwork for his birthday to hang in our dining room so this post is perfect timing. There are five framed pieces so this gives me some help.

    Enjoy your day!

  2. Great post, Lisa! And perfect timing... I'll be installing an asymmetrical gallery wall in the next couple months and I appreciate your thoughtful comments! Great tips!

  3. Awesome post loaded with so many good examples, I'm bookmarking this one ;) I tend to hang bigger pieces in the middle and expand out into smaller ones, would definitely try some different arrangements to change things up.

  4. You are such a help, Lisa. I have this idea of putting several paintings on a single wall since days now. The guidelines here are just what I needed. Thanks for sharing! Pinning a few pictures.

  5. Artwork is so important to a room, like icing on a cake, and guidelines such as these are so helpful.

  6. What a wonderful post, filled with great information and lots of beauty. Love the settee with the four gorgeous pieces above it!!

  7. Oh do I have a lot to learn from you! I love this post...following you.

  8. Love all these examples. Great tips and images!

  9. Thanks for taking the time to put together such an informative post, Lisa! It's a great reference!

  10. Lisa, this is a great post, full of so many helpful tips! I really like the look of layered artwork on a mantle and art hung on a bookcase.

  11. Lisa,

    This was a very well thought out and delivered post! I think hanging pictures incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes people make- so some great examples are very helpful. Thanks for visiting me today too- thanks for your comments!

  12. such a beautiful ideas, great post, fantastic writing.

  13. I like all of these - especially the first one - such a pretty room.

  14. Great tips! I've been loving the look of artwork hung on the outside of bookshelves like that. I want to give that idea a try. I also love the attic looking room w/ALL of that artwork displayed like that. Such a statement!