The number one rule for hanging art is that it should be at eye level for optimum viewing. The centre of each piece should be approximately five feet off the floor, whether it hangs above a mantel, sideboard or bed. If your ceiling soars, artwork can be hung slightly higher to accommodate the extra space. That way the art won’t look heavy, and the end result is well balanced.
Living with art
When hanging pictures above a sofa in a living room or den, leave six to eight inches of space between the top of the sofa and the bottom of the picture. For artwork above a table (these paintings should be proportionately smaller), allow 10 to 12 inches of breathing room between the tabletop and bottom of the frame. If a lamp sits on the table, move the painting up so it’s not obstructed and dangerously close to heat from the bulb, which can damage the artwork. Bonus: the light is a nice way to accent your art in the evening.
Hanging work above a mantel is a popular display method, but make sure the canvas is not wider than the fireplace below so it’s not overwhelming. For an unconventional twist, assemble a grouping of several works together. Start with the largest pieces in the centre and work your way out. To keep the overall look eclectic but never cluttered, choose mats and frames that are very similar and allow for three to four inches of space between each frame.
Protect your art
Art adds personality to any space, but the heat and humidity in bathrooms and kitchens can do a number on artwork. Keep fine pieces out of these hot spots (framed reproductions work nicely here). Choose your media wisely and make sure that it’s under glass. Folksy pieces, such as oils on board can withstand the moisture and grease splatters (with gentle cleaning).
Showcase your finds
Expand your definition of “art.” Found objects can make great visual statements: imagine a rusty tricycle in a loft space, or vintage signage, African masks from a holiday, groupings of mirrors, even shoes or childrens’ sweaters. Displaying a treasured collection more formally can translate into unique art. Umbra makes floating shelves that are practically invisible – perfect for showcasing your precious keepsakes. This makes it easy to refresh your collection and regularly switch it up for variety.