Arranging Artwork

Do you have trouble arranging artwork.
Is there more trouble when you try hanging it on the wall?

Here are a few secrets that decorators use to arrange artwork and wall hangings with as little frustration as possible.

A large dramatic picture or an ornately framed mirror will look best if displayed alone. It can serve as the focal point of the room if the eye is immediately drawn to it upon entering the room.

Smaller pieces of artwork become more powerful when grouped together as opposed to being scattered all over the wall. The exception is a high quality piece or a piece by a well-known artist. Displaying this piece alone, with a picture light to illuminate it and to draw attention to it can have a dramatic effect.

Your grouping can consist of a variety of objects. You may want a photo wall representing the family and important events in your lives. Hanging treasured memorabilia with the photos gives added interest to the display. There are great shadow boxes and display frames now available on the market.

To unify your grouping, use the same framing material on all artwork to be hung together…all metal or all wood. Keeping the frames all the same style further unifies and is more pleasing to the eye. (All rustic, all contemporary, or all ornate etc.)

Remember, the eye craves some sense of order. One way to accomplish this when arranging artwork is by hanging your pieces to form at least one vertical straight line and one horizontal.

This can be achieved by using the left side of the frames to create the vertical line and the bottom of the frames to create the horizontal. Or the top and the right, or the top and the left…you get the idea.

When arranging artwork, the arrangement must hang together …literally. You don’t want your groupings to spread disjointedly across the wall. Too much space between the artwork ruins the over-all effect you’re trying to achieve.

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make everything equidistant. The spaces should be relatively the same and kept to a minimum. The end result is a cohesive and pleasing grouping.

Once you have gathered all the artwork you want to hang, tape together several pieces of poster board the size of the area you intend to hang your collection on. Lay the artwork on the poster board and move around until you find the right arrangement.

When you are satisfied with the placement, trace around each object. (Make sure the tracings are dark enough to be seen from a few feet away.) Tack the poster board on the wall.

Are you still pleased with the arrangement?

If so, you’re almost ready to grab the hammer.

The next step is to look at the back of each frame. Will wire, brackets or hooks hang the piece?

Measure from the edge of the frame (top and side) to the center of the bracket or hook. Mark that location on the tracing for that piece of artwork on your layout. That is where the nail or screw will go on the wall.

If there is picture wire on the back, pull the center of the wire toward the top of the frame as tight as it will go. Measure from that spot to the top of the frame. You will mark that spot on your layout halfway across the frame. (If your picture is 24” across and the wire comes within 2”of the top edge, you will mark 12” across and 2 inches down.).

When you look at your layout, you will see the placing of the artwork and the placing of the nail or screw.
Now you’re ready to grab the hammer!

If a permanent accessory as a lamp or vase will be sitting in front of the arrangement, make it a part of the grouping. It doesn’t make sense to spend time putting together a pleasing arrangement only to stick a large object in front of it.
Artwork needn’t be expensive or museum quality to be enjoyed. If it’s something you like, it coordinates with your décor and reflects your lifestyle, use it.

A great source for prints, photographs and limited-addition artwork that won’t cost a fortune can be found on the intern at Just a warning…be careful. You can lose all tract of time as you browse through their expansive collection.

Variation is the key to a good wall arrangement. Combine large and small, square, rectangles and circles in the same grouping, but scatter the various shapes and sizes throughout the composition to create interest.

Pictures, artwork and photographs help add the finishing touch to your room. And just as with the planning of the room, a little thought beforehand can save a lot of aggravation.

You can have that picture perfect arrangement