Though I’m a firm believe in the power of doing whatever you damn well want — and in fact applaud design rule breakers — sometimes design “mistakes” don’t make a room feel rebellious. They just make a space seem sad. Read on to see if either of these art hanging no-no’s is currently on display in your home. And then learn how you can remedy and re-hang the situation.
Mistake #1: Hanging art too high
I see this mistake the most often. It seems so trivial, but even a piece of art hung a few inches too high can make a whole room feel “off.”
What do I mean by too high? Because factors are different for every home — where the art is going, what it will be hanging above, how high the ceilings are — there’s no one-size-fits-all formula that can tell you exactly where on your wall an art piece needs to go. But, there are some tips you can remember that might help you remedy this mistake if you’ve realized some of your art is too high.
Remember this measurement: 57″ on center. Like I said above, different homes may require different methods, but start here. What it means is, place the center of your art piece 57″ from the floor. Step back and see how that feels. But another measurement you can use is yourself; you want to be able to comfortably view a piece of art when you’re standing in front of it, like at an art gallery. If you find yourself craning your neck to look up at the details of an art piece, it may be a bit too high.
You can also use the furniture it’ll be displayed above to help you determine where to hang your art. If it’s a sofa or a headboard, start with 5″ – 8″ between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the art. Again, it’ll depend on how big the art piece is, and how much space exists between the furniture piece and your ceiling. But starting here and then stepping back to look will be helpful. And if you measure and find that the inches between the bottom of your art and the top of your sofa are way off from 5″ – 8″, consider asking a friend to come help eyeball. Speaking of eyeballing…
Of course, there’s also the art of eyeballing. Grab a friend or loved one to hold a piece of art up against a wall while you instruct them to move it up and down an inch or so at a time. It’s certainly not an exact science, but if you look at enough of photos of rooms where the art is hung at the “right” height, you may be able to train yourself to see the right height without having to break out the measuring tape. Where can you find a group of photos with art hung at a just-right spot? Why, this very post you’re reading!
Mistake #2: Choosing art that’s too small for the space
Don’t choose art too small for the space or the wall you want to hang it. I repeat, don’t choose art too small! If you do go with an art piece that’s too small for a room, it’ll make the entire room — and all the furnishings in it — feel like it’s out of scale and out of balance.
Again, unfortunately, there’s no magic set of measurements that will guide you in choosing art the right size; you’ll have to rely heavily on the the eyeball method outlined above. But below, these GIFs can help illustrate the difference between too-small art and just-right-size art.
If you’re not sure how good your eyeballing skills are, take this quiz. If you discover that, in fact, your art might be too small, you don’t have to replace it. Consider creating a wall art collage instead, or maybe even re-frame and re-mat your art to make it appear larger than it might actually be. If you’re in the DIY mood and don’t mind paint, you can even paint a large shape (like a square) behind a too-small piece of art to again, make it appear larger than it actually is.
It really comes down to balance. You don’t want the decor surrounding the art piece to feel like it’s drowning the art piece. In the same vein, you don’t particularly want your art feeling like it’s about to eat everything in your room. When art is the right size, there’s a Goldilocks-vibe that happens.
Feel like something might be “off” with your art but it’s not one of the things above? → 9 Art Displaying Mistakes Everyone Makes at Least Once (And How to Never Make Them Again)