Pleasing display of artwork depends mainly on how tall its likely viewers are … and not much else. However, some additional tricks of the trade come in handy from time to time. After all, décor attracts the eye, enhances illusion, and creates a sense of beauty.
Act Like A Dealer
Average eye-level for the adult population is about 57 inches, so galleries and museums hang art at 57 inches on center. ‘On center’ applies to the midpoint of either a single piece or a group of pieces.
For individual pieces, measure the distance from the midpoint of the piece to its framing wire or hanger, then measure the same distance above the 57” inch line on the wall to set your hooks. That places the midpoint of the piece right at the 57” inch line. If you will be the only viewer of the work or works, it’s perfectly okay to use your own eye level.
- Leaving 6 to 8 inches above the back of a sofa to avoids discomfort while sitting
- Leaving 10 to 12 inches above tables avoids discomfort while working
- For walls taller than the 8-foot standard a higher placement enhances the illusion of height
- Treat a group as one large picture to find the midpoint
- Lay out groupings on the floor first
- Place larger pieces to the left, smaller pieces to the right
- Cut paper templates to check the arrangement before setting hooks
Preserve and Enhance Value
- Direct sunlight fades color in photographs, acrylics, oils, and watercolors
- Avoid hanging valuables over heat registers
- Don’t place works on wood, paper, or canvas in humid areas like bathrooms
- Consider extra lighting, especially low-wattage halogen or incandescent
- Place their favorites at their eye-level, not yours
- Use open frames or shatterproof Plexiglass, not glass in frames