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Everything You Need To Know About Hanging Pictures

Posted on Friday 1st May 2020   |   News

Everything you need to know about hanging pictures

Here at Frames.co.uk we are experts in picture frames to measure, and so we have pulled together our expert tips on hanging pictures – from how to mix genres of art to finding the perfect height for hanging.


#1 Keep context in mind

Before you start hanging anything on your walls, you should have a good long think about where you want your pictures to be displayed. Make sure you take into consideration the context of where the art is going to be displayed – for example is it a domestic space, a commercial space or an institution? What are the architectural details in the space? What other things are there already in the space where the art is going to hang? The windows and doors, the choice of flooring, electrical plug sockets and switch placement and so on will all have an impact on where you hang your pictures and how you view them.


#2 Avoid places that may damage your art

As tempting as it is to hang your painting in pride of place above your fireplace, you should always proceed with caution. Unfortunately, it can have a negative effect on works of art – from melting the canvas to damaging the paint.  This can also happen to art that is hung over radiators as well. You should also be aware that light can also have a negative effect on paintings as well, so never hang a drawing or watercolour near a window.


 #3 Choose your picture frames wisely

If you are still thinking about hanging a picture above your fireplace then you should also know that picking the right frames to size can help. Special glazes can be applied to glass to help prevent UV light from damaging your picture and causing it to fade. Seals can also be applied to picture frames to help create an artificial environment that will protect from fluctuations in temperature and humidity.


#4 Get the height of your picture right

The most widely accepted height to hang contemporary and modern works is 1.55 metres from the middle of the picture. If you have a more classic picture then you may want to hang it a little higher although of course, the exact height you end up hanging any picture will depend on other factors such as ceiling height and furniture in the room. 


#5 Use the right fixings

If you are hanging a piece of art that is flat then it is especially important to use double fixings on both sides of the work, rather than just a single central fixing. This will ensure the picture does not move every time someone walks past and prevent it from hanging forward.


#6 Space is important

Something that many people forget about when hanging art, is how important negative space. When you are placing several pieces of art together you need to think about the amount of space between each work of art. Negative space is the name given by art galleries to the path that people take when they are considering each work of art, and it helps to give people time to focus on each piece of art.


#7 Vary your hanging style

If you are lucky enough to have a large number of pictures to hang, or you are thinking about buying more, then hanging your works up in your home can get quite complicated. To make it easier don’t be afraid of mixing different periods of art or even different genres. Modern, contemporary art can look incredible when mixed with pieces from the 17th or 18th century for example. You can also mix different sizes of pictures as well, such as five or six small studies or photographs hung with one large portrait.


#8 Consider the links between your artwork

Grouping or pairing pieces of art together when hanging is a great way to bring out the theme you are using or the visual links of the pieces. You could hang a large portrait of a bird, for example, next to smaller photographs of birds. Don’t worry too much about being consistent either – just make sure to use enough pictures to make an impact and to ensure the pattern is obvious when the hanging is finished.


#9 Or go for contrasting pieces

In tip number 8 we have talked about hanging pieces together that have similarities in their theme, as this is a great way to organise your collection of art – but another way to consider is to hang contrasting pieces that will create a visually striking display. This can also be a great way for you to show a strong contrast between your pieces, and help to make a feature of your favourite individual piece as well.


#10 Remember your eye can fool you

Lots of people go wrong by trying to hang pictures using just their eyes to tell them whether they are straight or not – and this isn’t always wise. The best way to ensure your pictures are straight is to use a tape measure and a spirit level – to ensure absolute accuracy. This is really important to get right if you are hanging two pictures in a symmetrical pattern, as if you don’t get it bang on people may not realise that it should be symmetrical. 


#11 Make sure you avoid utilities!

One of the main things to think about when hanging pictures is the structure of the walls in your home. If you have plastered walls, for example, then large heavy pictures are not going to stay up if you only use a couple of screws in them. If it is the first time you have tackled hanging pictures then you may want to err on the side of caution and use larger fixings than you think are necessary.  The other thing that it is important to do as well, is to check for electric wire and water pipes before you start hammering things into the wall. In modern houses they tend to be placed around the edges, but older houses could have them running through the middle of the wall, so it is always best to check. 


#12 Don’t worry too much

All of this advice may have you thinking that hanging art is quite complicated but really there is not much to it. Yes, there are practical things you should take into account when you are hanging pictures but really there is no right and wrong way to hang things – you should hang your artwork in a way that makes you happy. After all, if you love the picture then however you hang it it will look good.


If you have pictures you would like to hang in your own home, or office, and are looking for picture frames to order, then please browse the wide selection availble online at Frames.co.uk. 


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Frames.co.uk is a trading name of In The Frame (Manchester) Ltd. Company 05082556. VAT GB738474009. ICO ZA286204.
© 2021 In The Frame (Manchester) Ltd. 56 Ashfield Road, Sale, Cheshire, M33 7DT. All third party logos are respective of their registered owners.