November 2, 2009

The Luxury of Composition: How to Hang Your Art – Part 1

Posted in Architecture, art, Design inspiration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, How To Hang Art, Luxury for the home, Uncategorized at 3:07 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler
We are well on our art journey, this week we are going to be talking about how to hang your art in a series of articles. 
But first, let’s answer one of life’s more popular design questions -“I’ve always heard that your should hang art at eye-level.  My spouse and I argue about what that means.” Answer: Eye level is loosely defined at 66″ off the floor. Generally, the center of your art or composition of art should be around 66″ off the floor.  But this is a rule that is to be followed in a specific instances.  If you and your spouse argue about is eye-level at 60″ or at 70″, my suggestion would be to split the difference and hang your art at 65″ – a compromise. 
Whew, ok now with that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about instances that the “eye-level” rule of thumb may not work for you.  The first technique of hanging art is by grouping or composition.  This means you have several (two or more) pieces of art that relate to each other.  By hanging in a grouping, you are going to hang the pieces with consistent spacing between the pieces.  This can be as small as 1″, but as great as 4″.  The overall purpose of this technique is to create a larger read on the display of the art.  The grouping does tend to be geometric in shape, generally in squares, rectangles, rows, columns, circles, but as you will see, it can be a bit abstract as well.
Botanical Art

Example 1 - Hanging Art as a Grouping. by Interior Designer Jennifer Mitchell

 The first example shows the grid shape to the art display, even with the sprinkling of the candle sconces, the grouping is very uniform but interesting.  Botanicals, Architecture, and Audubon prints make great subject matter for this large of a display.  As a side note, notice that all the fabrics lack a pattern that would compete with the pattern created by the artwork.

Example 2 - Grouping

Example 2 - Grouping - non structured from by Interior Designer Jennifer Mitchell

 I really liked this photo for an example of how to treat multiple sizes of art and still hang the art as a grouping.  This was very skillfully done and I feel sure that it took a fair amount of time to achieve the look.  If you find yourself with inconsistent sized artwork and want to hang the art as a group, I would either grab some brown kraft paper, or a handful of paper bags.  For each piece of art, cut a piece of paper the same size and shape. Label the paper for the piece of art that it represents, and tape the paper cutouts with blue painters tape on the wall.  This technique does take time, but allows you to individually move the pieces around until you have created a pleasing composition.  Before you pull the pieces of the wall, either take a picture, or lightly mark your walls with a pencil so that you can recreate what you mocked up.

Example 2 - Grouping

Example 3, Grouping Art, by designer Jeff Woosley, as appeared on Southern Accents website.

 This example from, shows the vertical columns of art hung very tightly together.  Although the picture doesn’t show above the mirror, I’d guess there is something there, whether art or a decorative accessory.  With the artwork extending past the mirror, there would need to be a piece to balance the composition.

Example 3 - Grouping

Example 4 Grouping, by Shannon Bowers,

 This grouping of rosette tiles shows how you can group art around architectural details of your home.  The positioning of the tiles, help to accent the stair case, as well as create a secondary grouping with the furniture.  When you are also grouping your art to a piece of furniture, you are going to do raise the art composition up from the furniture, by at least 6″ as shown above, or have the piece sitting on the furniture as seen below.

Example 4 - Greystone Show House

Examples 5-7 Groupings, by Interior Designer Windsor Smith,

 I fell in love with this photo because there are so many examples of grouping shown at once.  The first is the mirror with the furniture.  This could be done with a painting, as well as a mirror.  The second is the gold framed artwork to the right of the mirror and the third is in the reflection of the mirror, where we see two frames position tightly together.  The repetition in this room adds strength to the overall composition, helping everything work seamlessly.

Next Topic: Hanging Art as a Statement

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