How To: Display Art Like a Pro

August 6, 2014

Artwork is a fantastic way to display your personality and style at home. So you buy this great painting or photograph, but now what? It can be tricky to decide where to display it, what kind of frame to put it in, and how to integrate it into the décor you already have. While there is no formula for how to display artwork correctly, you also don’t want it to look haphazardly strewn onto your walls. We hope our guide to displaying art (which really is a guide, not a prescription) helps you add a little extra spark of personality to your spaces.

1. Buy what you love.

For those of us who aren’t big time art collectors, there’s no “right” piece of art to buy. Whether you like paintings or photography, contemporary or more traditional pieces, it’s important to choose what you love.

2. Use other elements in your home as a guide.

When hanging a piece of art, consider the room’s size and architectural features, as well as what other furnishings and décor are already in it. Use preexisting lines and empty space as a guide to create relationships between what’s hanging on your walls and the other elements in your rooms.  

3. Be sure to hang your pieces at the right level.

Prints or portraits should be hung at approximately the eye level of a person standing between 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. The goal is to be able to enjoy the artwork at a natural level, not to have to be looking up at it.

4. Group pieces together.

When creating a display on a large wall, hang artwork close together rather than scattered across the space. Even if hanging pictures over a couch or buffet, don’t feel they have to be spaced out over the entire furniture piece. Try to have the pieces equidistant from each other, but centered over the middle third or half of the focal point.

5. Build your collection over time.

If you’re working on a collage of pieces, start in the center with a cluster of pictures you can gradually fill the wall space around. You can plan by taping paper templates up on the wall or spreading the art on the floor and shuffling them around until you get the look you want.

6. Use repetition to your advantage.

When hanging a collage of themed photography, rely on the style standby of matte black picture frames. They don’t compete with the artwork and provide an elegant boundary. In this display, the repetition of black and white photography is what provides the excitement.

7. Use a variety of different frames.

If all of your frames don’t match – they’re different sizes and materials – don’t sweat it. The variety will create an appealing visual effect. Mix and match standard black matte frames with white, brass, antique, and other materials.

8. Don’t be too matchy.

When choosing a frame, don’t worry about matching the artwork too much. And on that note, don’t feel like you have to match the room’s décor. It’s okay for the frame to stand out a little.

9. Consider adding a mat.

Mats add a more finished appearance to any piece of art, rather than having it free standing in the middle of the frame. You can have mats professionally made, or size them yourself.

10. Less is more.

You don’t have to fill every wall with artwork, and you can keep it simply by putting a great piece over your mantle or in an entryway. 

Looking for places to buy art online? Here are a few we love: Tappan Collective, Etsy, Little Collector, Artspace, 20×200, and Society6.

If you are interested in a free estimate or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form by clicking here. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page!

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