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"People have a tendency to hang art too high," says Linda Crisolo, Art.com director of merchandising. "The center of the image should be at eye level." In living rooms, people are usually sitting, so artwork should be lower. A good way to ensure you're placing artwork at the right height is to hang it one hand width above the sofa.
A common problem when hanging artwork above a sofa or sideboard is that it's not in scale. Having pieces that are too small or too large will make the whole arrangement look strange. "Make sure artwork is at least two-thirds the size of the sofa or sideboard," Crisolo says. "For example, a 9-foot-long sofa should have a 6-foot-wide expanse of art above it."
Save yourself the frustration -- and your walls the trauma -- of hanging, and rehanging, and rehanging a grouping of art. Instead, trace each piece on kraft paper, label the tracing, and cut it out. If you're hanging portraits, draw arrows on the paper to indicate which way the subject is looking. Use painter's tape to try out placements and arrangements without covering your wall with holes.
When you hang multiple pieces in a group, visual balance is very important. "In a group arrangement, keep heavy pieces to the bottom and left," says Crisolo. "It balances the weight of the items because the eye starts on the left. If you have an even arrangement, put the heaviest piece in the middle."
A symmetrical arrangement creates a striking and simple focal point. All-white frames and mats in three colors unify this grouping. "I like to use the same frames to create homogeny," says Crisolo.
Gallery arrangements are easy solutions for blank walls. Give the display interest by including more than just framed art, such as the vase and plates used in this living room. Start by defining the dimensions of your display. Position the most prominent piece at eye level in the center and work outward. "If you're using different frames, spread them out to give a little breathing room between each piece," Crisolo recommends.
Hanging multiple pieces around a room can be difficult, especially when walls, doorways, or windows separate the pieces. "When hanging multiple pieces around the room, don't try to make the bottoms or tops of frames level. Level the middles," Crisolo says.
In the bedroom, choose personal art, such as family photographs or your own photography. If you're arranging the pieces in groupings, Crisolo recommends sticking with one color theme, either all black-and-white or all color photographs.
When creating a grouping, choose an odd number of items. "With odd numbers, there's a middle and a mirror image on both sides," says Crisolo.
Crisolo also recommends avoiding kitchen art in the kitchen. "I tend to shy away from pictures of asparagus in the kitchen," she says. "Vintage art with traditional frames works in a traditional kitchen. In a modern kitchen, try bright colors with stainless-steel frames."
When deciding where to hang images in your home, consider the wall space available and the arrangement of the room. "Use small pieces between windows and doors," Crisolo says. "If small items are in a space too large, the pieces look lost. With larger pieces, allow room for people to step back and admire the work."
"Above a mantel or fireplace is the perfect place to layer pieces," Crisolo says. "A house looks like a home when you can see layers of artwork and accessories."
Make sure your arrangement matches your decorating style. "Symmetrical arrangements are more traditional or formal. Asymmetrical is modern," Crisolo says. "Also look at the image and style of the frame. For cottage-style rooms, stick with vintage images or botanicals. In modern rooms, choose large and abstract pieces."
Artwork collaborates with other accessories and decor to create a visual story. Make sure images, moldings, and shelves all work together. "Hang artwork in front of a bookcase, on the face of the shelf," Crisolo says. "The shelves and ledges become part of a decorating story."