How to pick the best spot for your pictures

Hanging art and wall décor in the right spot creates harmony and balance in a space. We want our art to complement the other decorating elements in a room, but with so many options, how do we pick the best spot to hang our pictures? Look like a pro by using these simple decorating tips to find the perfect spot for all your wall art.

three images stack that show the way to get the furniture in place before hanging pictures. 1. put the furniture in place (this example has table and chairs) 2. place accessories on the furniture so you know how high to hang your art 3. find the center line of the furniture and center your art on this line when you hang it

Arrange your furniture first

Your furniture may not always be set up in the middle of a wall, so before you decide where to hang your art make sure that your furniture is where you want it to be. If there are accessories on the furniture, like on a dresser, then put them in place before you test different hanging heights. Then this will give you the best guide for placing your art. Remember it’s always easier to move your furniture a couple of inches than rehang your artwork.

 Four images - a couch or sofa, a table and chairs, abed and a fireplace that shows in each image how to center artwork above them.

Align art with furniture

Furniture or fixed features tend to dominate a room whether it’s a bed, sofa, table, desk, mantel or fireplace. When adding art to a space with these elements, it is often best to anchor the art with the furniture. This way the art and the furniture complement one another and create a strong focal point for the room. Align your art with the centerline of the furniture. Hang your art about 6 - 12 inches above the furniture so it looks connected. Try different heights until you find the one that looks best.

two images of 3 pieces of art hung above a sofa - one is the correct way to hang with the footprint of the art in the center of the couch and the other image the pictures are off balance

Visual Balance

We are wired to notice if things are in balance. So, if there is a picture that isn’t quite centered on the wall, or is crooked, we notice right away. We can use this innate sense to help us decorate. Here are a few things to think about as you create your spaces:

  1. Keep things centered. Carve out a visual space where you want to create a look and then center your artwork in that space.
  2. Decorate in threes - 3 frames, 3 pillows, 3 wall plates. The eye will naturally focus on the center item and then see that the arrangement is balanced with items on both sides.
  3. Use an odd number of items in your gallery. This makes it easier to hang, because you can start with the piece that is in the center. Because the eye focuses on the center image first, select your most important picture for this spot.
  4. When creating a gallery with different frame sizes, frame textures or wall décor items, work from the center outwards and keep the arrangement in balance as you add more pieces. Tip: Lay out your arrangement on the floor and try a few different options. Consider the visual weight guidelines below as you play with various arrangements.

Two images of a couch with 3 pieces of art hanging above. In one image the pictures are arranged with the heavier looking frame in the center and it looks balanced. In the other image the heaviest frame is on one side and the arrangement looks out of balance.

    Visual weight

    In any room, some décor items draw your attention first. This is because they automatically appear to have more weight than others. Taking visual weight into account when decorating can help you create spaces that feel balanced and welcoming. Use these guidelines when hanging your pictures or wall décor:
    1. Furniture has a heavy visual weight, so is a perfect spot for artwork. Use the tips above to find the right spot to hang your wall art above furniture to create a focal point in any room.
    2. Larger sizes have more visual weight compared to smaller sizes. So, when hanging more than one picture together, consider putting the largest frame in the middle of a few frames or the center of an arrangement that has many different items.
    3. Textured items have more visual weight than smooth items. A frame with a lot of embellishments or a complex profile will appear more dominant over a frame that is smooth. You may find that a heavier looking frame is a better option for some large pieces of furniture.
    4. Dark colors dominate light colors. Again, if hanging frames with multiple colors together, putting the darker frames in the center can create more balance. Or choosing a darker frame color can work well over furniture to balance the dominant weight of furniture.
    5. Warm colors are weightier than cool coolers. On the color scale, red is the visually heaviest color and yellow is the lightest one. Again, putting heavier colors in the middle of arrangements can look the best.

    Follow your instincts

    These rules are guidelines only. We all have an innate sense of balance and visual weight, so you are the best judge of what looks best to you in your space. Use these tips as a starting point and let your creativity flow. Be confident and settle on the look you like the best. 

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