Tips for Hanging and Displaying Art

December 30, 2020

Art and accessories are an essential part of every home. They add colour and interest, telling the stories of the artist, the owner, and what makes them tick. Art has a place in every room, but your priced pieces aren’t sending the right message – or any message at all! – if they’re not properly displayed. Here are some new perspectives for hanging art, from a professional stylist’s view!

Ensure your art is visible. If nobody can see it, then it is not serving its purpose as a focal point. In fact, art that’s hanging too high or too low puts the eye in an awkward position, and becomes more of an annoyance than an attribute. Hang your art at eye-level, since this is where people’s eyes naturally gravitate. This makes it easy to look at and appreciate.

The rule of thumb is the centre of the artwork should be 60 inches from the floor. If you’re hanging art above a piece of furniture, such as a console table, hang it about four to six inches about the top of the furnishing.

Keep in mind that your “wall art” doesn’t have to be wall-mounted. Consider leaning your paintings against a wall behind the fireplace mantel, console table or on the floor. Try layering a few smaller pieces in a variety of sizes for an eclectic look. This is also a simple solution for large-scale artwork, since hanging a massive painting may require a special ladder or scaffold, additional manpower, and wall anchors and hardware that can handle the weight.

Lighting is key. The right lighting will make the colours more vibrant and the details more visible from across the room. You can also use lighting to add dramatic effect. Special accent lighting is the best way to illuminate your art, but some strategically angled pot lights can do the trick as well. Just ensure your bulbs are bright enough. As a general rule, this type of focussed lighting should be three times brighter than the ambient light in the room.

Tip: Angle your art lighting down at 30 degrees, to reduce glare.

Don’t forget about the area around your art. Limit surrounding distractions to ensure your art remains the focal point. That means leaving enough “white space” around it to make the art “pop.” In the case of a gallery wall, these are meant to be dense, so consider the whole arrangement as a single unit. By the “less is more” logic, you don’t have to hang every piece of art that you own. Be selective. In this case, limiting your displayed art to a few thoughtful pieces can create a carefully curated look that’s reminiscent of an art gallery.

Attention to detail can be transformative in a home. How you display your artwork is as important as the art itself. Put some thought into your lighting, the frames, and the wall, shelf or tabletop that will house it. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a cue from the pros and visit your local art gallery. You’ll find the inspiration extends beyond the art itself!


Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling services, and design services.

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