How to hang art – Everything you need to know

How to hang art

So you’ve invested in the best art or paintings money can buy, what’s next?

Although hanging art may seem easy and straightforward at first glance, hanging art correctly is one of the age of conundrums of art owners. Naturally, everyone wants to avoid an improperly hung piece of artwork or painting.

Why? That’s because incorrectly hung paintings stick out like a sore thumb; it’s too hard to ignore. Furthermore, an improperly hung piece of artwork can cause maintenance problems down the line, thus affecting the longevity of your artwork. Not only will this compromise its quality, but it is also likely to result in an expensive restoration that could easily be avoided with better care.

So how does one hand art correctly? Here is a detailed guide of everything that you need to know.

Start by picking the right size painting

Searching for an original painting to take your décor to the next level used to be a tedious task. However, with the beauty of the internet, all it takes to find your perfect painting these days is a simple click of a button or, if you’re lucky, help from Siri or Alexa. But here is the thing about finding a painting; you may already know which style you are looking for and even come to terms with the budget.

However, most people often forget to take into account the size of the painting. A work of art that is created in the right dimensions and orientation will anchor a room. Working with the wrong size of art, on the other hand, can have the complete opposite effect.

So what size of painting is best?

As far as size is concerned, you want to fill approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of the intended wall space. If you’re going to hang a painting centrally above another piece of furniture such as a headboard, couch, console table, you should follow the same principle. For example, if your couch is 60 inches (152.4 cm) wide, you should find a piece of art that is at least 40 to 45 inches (101.6 cm to 114.3 cm) wide.

If you are completely unsure of where you want to hang your painting, it’s better to buy a bigger painting than a small one. That’s because you always want your paintings to stand out and complement the space that you are working with. Having a painting that is too small can underwhelm a space that’s too large. So in doubt, always buy big.

But if all you can afford are smaller pieces of art- worry not! Instead of larger paintings, consider filling your blank spaces with multiple works. Paintings of equal sizes or almost the same sizes can be hung together in a grid. You can also hang various-sized paintings into a salon wall as they did in 19th century France.

How to hang art prints without frames

Custom framing is nice, but not a lot of individuals can afford it. Apart from offering art owners yet another unique way of diversifying the look and feel of a gallery wall or any wall art section for that matter, hanging an unframed painting is an inexpensive way to get your artwork to stand out. If you are often looking for new ways to change up how you hang art, hanging prints without frames is something that you should consider.

What types of art prints can be hung without frames?

The best types of artwork to hung unframed are lightweight pieces of art such as those on lightweight board or paper, which can be easily affixed on the surface without damaging the piece and without needing a hanging device.

Some canvases can also be hung on the wall without a frame, but they should not be large. If you are going to hang unframed canvases, it’s best to make sure that the sides of the canvas are painted as well instead of leaving them blank as it will give a better appearance.

The easiest way to hand a lightweight piece of artwork is by using clips as they will secure the piece in place without damaging it in a way that pins or tape would. If you want the piece to look flawless, go for clips that match the patina of the art piece that you are working with.

If the artwork is not too valuable or permanent, you can tack it easily directly on the wall with map tacks, washi tape, or double-sided tape.
How to hang art prints

Are you hanging a single print or a collage?

Some art prints work better alone, while others work well in a collage. If you have several prints with a similar theme or motif, you can arrange them together to create a nice collage. One way to tell whether your art prints will work well in a symphony is by arranging them on the floor.

Once they are all laid out, try arranging them in different layouts and compositions before finally hanging them on the wall. You can also look for art collage ideas to get a few inspirations whenever you feel stuck.

Hang them or leave them standing?

You don’t always have to hang a piece of art or painting. It is also possible to put a piece on a shelf or ledge. This typically works really well for any framed artwork that can stay firmly in place. If you have a shelf, try arranging your artwork next to other accessories such as candles and plants to give it a little more depth.

What about hanging art on either side of the fireplace?

If you are hanging art on either side of the fireplaces, try and get a pair that coordinates with one another. It doesn’t have to match exactly. Picking pieces that have slight differentiation will help give your fire space interest while creating a cohesive feel overall.

How high to hang pictures in 9-foot ceilings?

There is nothing as outstanding as high ceilings to make a space feel elegant, expansive, and sophisticated. But, even though high ceilings come with all these great qualities, they aren’t the easiest things to work with, especially when it comes to decoration. That’s because tall ceilings equal spacious wall spaces that can be daunting to fill.

After their initial sophistication wears off, high ceilings can often feel cold and overpowering. The good news is that decorating them with paintings is one way to make a cold wall space feel vibrant again. When working with 9-foot ceilings, always keep in mind:

The rule of thirds

As we’ve talked about earlier, always follow the rule of thirds when working with high ceilings and spacious walls. This will help you position your artwork properly. When using the rule of thirds to hang paintings on high ceilings, hang your artwork roughly at the centermost point of the wall measures from the floor to your ceiling.

This will ensure that the piece is hanging at a visible level. When hanging a single large painting, you want to make sure that it fills your wall space to make a bold statement. Choose an art piece that is approximately the same shape as your wall.

If you are working with a tall wall, the painting that you want to hang should be wider rather than tall. However, if you are working with a tall but narrow space such as what you would find between 2 windows, look for a painting that will fit in between the tall and narrow wall space available. Alternatively, you can also go for a pair of square paintings arranged either horizontally or vertically, depending on the shape of your wall.

For gallery style grouping, go for an even and regular display. Choose to arrange paintings that echo one another, whether that means in terms of color, style, or theme so that they look organized and not cluttered. You can also try using the same matting or frames for all the pieces to create a much more cohesive appearance.

Please know that there are no rules set in stone as to how one should hang their paintings. You can also choose to hang your paintings in any way that makes you happy. If you have a mix of artwork, it also helps match and mix large artworks with small ones for an abstract look. Feel free to add any other media or accessories to really ante up the eclectic display.

What about hanging art gallery style?

The process of hanging a collection of art pieces can feel dizzying, like trying to figure out a puzzle. But you will be happy to know that there isn’t just one way of correctly hanging art gallery style. As with every aspect of decorating, it all boils down to your style; the most appealing arrangement may be one that you’ve never seen before or thought of at all.

As stated earlier, when hanging your art gallery style, it is usually better if you group several pieces first. Arrange and disarrange them on the floor, considering every conceivable layout until you find one that you like.

How to hang heavy artwork

Any artwork that weighs 5 pounds and under can be hung easily using trips, adhesive wall hooks, or any strong mounting tape. Pictures that weigh higher than 5 pounds alternatively need a longer-lasting solution. The method you pick will depend on the weight of the artwork you are working with and the surface you are using.

For instance, interior walls are usually constructed using some type of wood that’s then covered with a different material. If yours is an older home built before 1940, your walls may be made of plaster. In modern homes, you are far more likely to come across drywall. Plastic drywall anchors work really well for artwork weighing between 20 and 50 pounds.

If yours is a heavier artwork or piece, you can also use a metal wall anchor or a rail cable hanging kit for enhanced security. Drywall anchors are also commonly referred to as screw-in anchors and they are ideal when you need to screw directly to the surface or drywall. Screw-in anchors are best for heavy pieces as they offer a lot of stability.

There are different types of anchors, made either from plastic or metal. Plastic anchors are suitable for less heavy pictures, but metal ones are preferred for artwork heavier than 20 pounds. A straightforward and often overlooked solution for hanging heavy artwork is rail cable hanging kits.

The great thing about rail cables is that they can support art pieces that are as heavy as 300 pounds. Rail cable kits can also be used on most surfaces, whether they are made from plaster brick, drywall, or wood. Rail cable hanging kits are often used in offices, art galleries, and even in homes. Rail cable hanging kits only need to be installed once and they will provide you with a convenient solution for hanging heavy paintings without ever needing to hammer some nails.

How to hang artwork without damaging your walls

If you are looking to hand your paintings without damaging the walls, it is best to look for adhesive strips. However, these will only work well with paintings lower than 15 pounds. The best part about these strips is that they can easily be removed without damaging your walls. They are also relatively inexpensive and widely available.

If the artwork that you want to hang is framed or has a hook at the back, you can hang them using adhesive hooks. You can use multiple hooks on one piece of art if you want to prevent further movement once the piece is on the wall. Be careful when using adhesive strips or hooks on textured surfaces.

For super heavy paintings, you can use press-in hooks that can hold artwork that’s s heavy as 150 pounds. To use press-in hooks, you will be required to make a small hold in your drywall, but it will not require you to use any tools for the installation.


Even though hanging artwork is the norm, don’t feel restricted. There are several other ways that you can use to showcase your artwork. For instance, you can lay your artwork on your fireplace mantle, on your bookshelves, or even on a painting easel to incorporate a fun and cheap element into your space.

During the hanging process, arming yourself with the right tools, such as rulers and levelers, can also ensure that you hang your pieces perfectly. Tools like measuring tapes are especially useful when hanging gallery-like spaces such as hallways, stairways, or alcoves.

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