How to Arrange Art for a Flawless Wall Display

art above small white couch
Photo: Edmund Barr

Artwork is a great way to add interest to a room, but arranging art can be stressful. The trick is to know where and how to hang art (and how many pieces to hang). With our expert advice on arranging art, your home will feel like a gallery in no time.

01 of 17

Arranging Art in the Kitchen

Liz Strong home neutral kitchen
David Tsay

In the kitchen, hang art in a place where it won't get damaged by water or heat. Consider placing art above a command center, near the dining table, or above open counter space. Linda Crisolo, director of merchandising for, also recommends avoiding art with cooking motifs 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."

02 of 17

Match Art to Decor

Dining area with blue couch and large artwork
Annie Schlecther

Select artwork for your walls that complements the other colors in the space. Art can introduce an additional accent color, but it should fit into the overall color scheme. Look for common hues in your other furniture and decor to guide your artwork picks, such as the blue in this abstract artwork that repeats on the breakfast banquette.

03 of 17

Arranging Art Above the Sofa

pink couch and red rug
Adam Albright 

Hanging art too high is one of the most common decorating mistakes "The center of the image should be at eye level," Crisolo says. 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.

04 of 17

Choosing Art In Scale

art above small white couch
Edmund Barr

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."

05 of 17

Create Visual Balance with Wall Art

desk below art
John Bessler

When you hang multiple pieces in a group, visual balance is key. "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."

06 of 17

Where to Hang Art

Rustic wood wall with relief artwork
David Patterson

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," says Linda Crisolo, director of merchandising for "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."

07 of 17

How to Arrange Art Before Hanging

test art arrangement
Greg Schiedemann

Save yourself the frustration (and your walls the trauma) of hanging 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 painters tape to try out gallery wall placements and arrangements without covering your wall with holes.

08 of 17

How to Hang Artwork

Hanging artwork will add polish to your walls. The right hardware and hanging techniques will help the process go smoothly. Watch and learn how to hang artwork with ease.

09 of 17

Arranging Art in the Bedroom

photographs above bed
Edmund Barr

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. You can also unite the art arrangement by choosing frames in the same color, style, or finish.

10 of 17

Mix-and-Match Art Gallery

mirrors and art in entryway
Dana Gallagher 

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 entryway. 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.

11 of 17

Arrange Art in Layers

white brick fireplace
Anthony Masterson 

Instead of spacing artwork out on a wall, try layering pieces to add more dimension to the display. "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."

12 of 17

Arrange Art on Shelves and Furniture

wooden shelf with art
Edmund Barr

While blank walls are a natural choice for displaying artwork, there is another option. Prop artwork on shelves against a wall or atop a piece of furniture for a casual display. This allows you the freedom to quickly change up the arrangement, without inflicting more damage on your walls.

13 of 17

Arrange Art in Odd Numbers

odd number of paintings
Paul Dyer

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. This trick helps your art arrangement look balanced and complete.

14 of 17

Frames for Wall Art

symmetrical shadow frames
Dana Gallagher 

A symmetrical arrangement creates a striking and simple focal point. All-white frames and mats unify this grouping. "I like to use the same frames to create homogeny," says Crisolo.

15 of 17

Level Art Arrangement

desk with green chair
David Tsay

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.

16 of 17

Arrange Art with Decor

blue book shelf
Robert Brinson

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."

17 of 17

Art for Your Decorating Style

dining room with art
Kim Cornelison

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."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles