How to Hang Your Own Gallery

There are different ways to hang paintings in pleasing configurations. As I find them, easy hanging ideas will be added on this page and as always I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yay Pintrest!

I’ve put together a whole board of art arranging and display ideas and I am constantly adding to it. Check out the board here and feel free to follow if you want to stay updated with my finds.

Martha Stewart

also has a take on how to make hanging pictures quick and easy.

She posts a step by step guide to hanging picture groupings. Originally I saw a segment on photo collages on her t.v. show.  You can see the “how to” here. If you want more Martha, she also posted a longer article dealing with some of the other elements of hanging art together including where to hang pictures, a materials and supply list, how to hang ecclectic art, and achieving symetry. It is a little  more involved but even if you don’t follow the article, it is still a good read, with lots of things that are just good to know.

My Two Cents

I spent three years working in  a small custom framing shop while I was in school. Since I was the only employee, it was a lot like an apprenticeship. So I developed some definite opinions on framing and art and putting it all together. Stick around =)

What I am going to do is look at a few things that the design experts haven’t exactly said. These little tips and tricks could save you big headaches by revealing the guidelines many experts and artists use when hanging their own work.

Designers often use odd numbers.

The magic numbers in composition for almost everything from floral arranging to fine art are the odd ones. 1,3,5,7, and 9 are traditionally more visually pleasing than their even counterparts. The asymmetry that odd numbers create is interesting. If you are looking to know a little more about how this odd stuff works take a peek at Creative Curio’s explanation. It is more from the perspective of a photographer/typographer but the principles are the same and you may learn a trick or two for taking more interesting photos.

When working with even numbers like six, try to have three larger frames and three smaller frames to create interest.

Designers balance the bigger images with smaller ones.

There are some people who want a way to perfectly display their 5 x 7 photos, but what if you have some larger and smaller images that you’d like to display?

What you may often see are one or two big pieces off set with smaller pieces.  By clustering the smaller art together those individual pieces are able to take up the same amount of visual space as a larger painting or photo.

Another option is to use those smaller images to create a “frame” around one or more large objects, as illustrated in a couple of the drawings.

Designers pick one thing to hold it all together.

You don’t have to match shoes and bags anymore and it is the same for wall decoration. It is perfectly ok to hang family pictures and children’s drawings and art you’ve bought in other places all together in one space. In fact doing it that way can add real interest to your home.

So be as eclectic as you are, but pick one thing to link all the pieces together visually. Maybe all your frames are black. Perhaps all the art and photos are black and white, or each image could contain variations on the same set of colours.  A collection of children’s drawings would also be a great unifying theme and a huge encouragement to the young artists in your life.  No matter what you decide, when you select a theme you clarify your vision for the space and save yourself time deciding what fits and what doesn’t.

The Mavericks

There are people who break the “design code” and still have fabulous homes.  Every day someone new hangs a pair of paintings, and lighting does not fall from the sky and consume them. There are some people who can throw darts at a wall and come out with beautiful design. Some people are Martha Stewart.

To borrow a phrase from the great movie classic, Pirates of the Caribbean, “the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.”

At the end of the day, the walls belong to you. Make them yours.



2 thoughts on “How to Hang Your Own Gallery

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