You spent a lot of time choosing just the right artwork for your home, and it’s well worth spending a little time and effort over arranging your display.

Begin to think of the artwork as it relates to everything around it. 

Whether you are hanging a framed picture over a sofa, on a stairway wall or in the hall, each of these spaces will have elements to consider.

There are no hard and fast rules about hanging pictures.

You should hang them where they are easiest to see and appreciate.

Hang them lower in a room where people generally sit, and hang them higher in a hallway where you are usually standing.

Be careful not the hang the picture, or group of pictures, too high.

The most pleasing height for a single picture or for a grouping is to have the centre of the picture or group of pictures at eye level. 


As ‘eye level’ is different for different people, a good rule of thumb is to position the centre of the picture or group of pictures about 5ft 6in above the floor as a starting point. 

If it does not look ‘right’ to you, try moving it up or down a little.

If you will be mainly standing in the space, it may make sense to hang the artwork a bit higher than the 5ft 6 in starting point, especially if the ceiling is tall. 

In a room where you generally sit down, such as a dining room, family room or office, hang artwork a bit lower so they can be enjoyed at a lower viewing angle.  

Sit in a chair and have someone hold the picture against the wall, moving it up and down so you can evaluate the look.

Large, bold pictures usually look best displayed singly, or in pairs, while small pictures are often better carefully arranged in groups. 

Your pictures and your room scheme will be enhanced if you relate your display to furniture or other features, such as a narrow stretch of wall between two windows.

Relate your artwork to the furniture below it. A large framed piece over a sofa or sideboard relates more easily when it is hung so that the bottom of the frame is positioned 6-12 inches above the top of the sofa back or tabletop. 

When working with a grouping of pictures or objects, think of the grouping as one large picture and relate the bottom of the entire grouping to the furniture underneath it.  Art over furniture should not be wider than the furniture.

Small pictures can look out of balance when hung on a large wall. 

Look for narrow walls such as the spaces between doorways or windows, and consider hanging two or three pictures in a vertical line, treating the centre picture as the centre of the grouping.

To unify the group, have them matted and framed all alike.

Always allow the right amount of space between each picture. This is usually 3-5 inches on each when creating a display.

A group of pictures framed alike and hung close together can have big impact.

You can give a small room with low ceilings or a large room with high ceilings desired drama by hanging pictures a little lower or higher accordingly.

When planning a grouping of artwork, lay them out on the floor and shuffle them around until you have a selection and arrangement that pleases you. 

Odd numbers of pictures work best for a grouping.

If you are hanging the artwork by yourself, cut paper templates the same size as each piece of artwork and attach the templates to the wall with painter’s tape. 

This will allow you to stand back and see how the artwork’s shape and size relates to your room and your furniture. 

Moving the templates up and down will help you to find the perfect spot to hang your pictures.

Have fun, eventually you may run out of wall space.

Michele Smith is managing director of OBM International/Bermuda. Contact 278-3550.