A Guide to Arranging Wall Art
Guest Contribution by Hana Rehman
Curating your own gallery is an amazing way to take advantage of large amounts of wall space and personalize your living space in an organized fashion. It’s also an opportunity to showcase your style and ultimately contribute to your interior design based on your taste.
Arranging artwork can be difficult because there’s no “right” way to arrange your pieces. However, there are some helpful tricks that can guide you towards creating neat and clean-looking gallery walls. Therefore, we’ve compiled a guide with tips and tricks from 1stDibs on curating your personal gallery while also maximizing your wall space.
Step 1: Select Your Wall
The first step to arranging artwork is deciding where you want to hang your pieces. Large walls are certainly a good option, but remember that small pieces on a large wall can look isolated or cluttered. When decorating large walls, go big! You can choose one large work or create a group of artwork that fit the same theme or aesthetic.
For smaller walls between windows and doors, small pieces will look best. Clustering artworks to create a gallery wall is also another great option.
If you don’t feel up to hanging your pieces, you can lean artwork on easels, mantelpieces or floating shelves. These display options are great for those who either want a casual look or the ability to change out artworks easily without damaging the wall.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Rather than reaching for tools right off the bat, it’s important to plan how you want to arrange your artwork. To digitally envision how artwork will look on your wall through your phone camera, try out an art visualizer app before you dive into the art-hanging process.
Another way to see how your gallery will look before putting nails in your wall is laying out the art you want to display on the floor. To go the extra mile, you can make templates of the pieces you want to display by tracing their outlines on kraft paper, cutting them out and taping them to the wall with painter’s tape in various arrangements. Make sure to take a step back to see how each arrangement looks so you can see it from different angles.
Once you’ve found the perfect arrangement, use the template cutouts to mark where you want each artwork to go, like a blueprint for your gallery.
Step 3: Hang Your Art at Eye Level
A great rule of thumb when it comes to hanging artwork is to make sure that the center of the piece is at eye-level, which is about 57 to 60 inches from the ground.
However, if your room has a low ceiling or you’re hanging your artwork in the living room, you may want to hang your works lower given occupants are often sitting and their eye level isn’t as high.
Step 4: Keep Furniture in Mind
You can create a lovely arrangement by hanging art above a piece of furniture, such as a sofa or console table. One tip for a clean look is to make sure that the artwork is no wider than the furniture it resides above. When it comes to sofas, make sure that the art spans two-thirds of the width of the sofa.
Step 5: Create an Arrangement Style
When you are deciding how you’d like to arrange your artwork, you’ll find there are tons of different arrangement styles to consider. A great place to start is choosing whether you want to create a symmetrical or asymmetrical display.
Symmetrical wall arrangements are characterized by looking formal and organized, consisting of four to six pieces for an even number of works. However, for an odd number of works, consider a horizontal row. Make sure that the spaces between the pieces are identical and note that this arrangement style works the best with pieces that are the same size with identical frames. This style is best displayed over furniture or lining a hallway.
Asymmetrical arrangements look more eclectic, and they can incorporate works of multiple sizes and mediums. With an asymmetrical arrangement, there’s more room for creative mixing and matching on your gallery wall.
Step 6: Maintain Visual Balance
Creating visual balance in your art arrangement will ensure your space is aesthetically pleasing. The first tip to maintaining balance is drawing an invisible line down the wall where your art will reside. As you plan your arrangement, keep an equal amount of visual weight on either side of the line.
Another way to create visual balance among pieces of different sizes is to align the centers of the pieces along a horizontal line. This will help you maintain a sense of cohesion in a row of three.
We hope these guidelines gave you the confidence and inspiration to arrange your wall art unique to you and your space. These rules are not hard and fast, but can serve as a useful reference point for beginners. Feel free to switch things up so that your art arrangement is natural and meaningful to your personal style.