What good are those adorable shots of your four-year-old or precious pup if you never take them off your camera? Or those photos from your childhood that bring back cherished memories? And what about those gorgeous (and expensive) wedding pics now hiding away in the closet somewhere?
The photos you love most are best appreciated when you have them around you, of course. And what better way to share the people and places you love most than by putting together an interesting collection in your home for guests to admire?
Hanging photos intimidates many homeowners, often because they’re afraid to make a mistake in grouping different shapes and sizes. But with a little guidance, you can easily transform a blank wall into a striking collection of art that is special to you and fun to share with guests.
In general, artwork should be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at about eye level. That’s between 58 and 62 inches from the floor. So first pick the one photo that you want to make the center of the grouping, preferably a larger print to serve as an anchor for the eye.
Then pull together items that have something in common. All-gold frames with black-and-white images would tie unlike subject matter together. Or maybe you’d rather all black wood frames and white matting. Then, add a couple items with some dimension, such as a similarly framed mirror. Don’t overdo the variety so that the common thread of the grouping is lost. Also, don’t feel that you have to use all the items you’ve collected – if something doesn’t fit in, save it for another wall in the room.
A grouping of pictures should be thought of as one unit. That being said, there are several different shapes or arrangements that you can choose for the space you have:
- Block – Similarly shaped and sized pictures often look most effective in a simple block arrangement. Take care over the spacing and keep the gaps between the pictures even.
- Framework – Set your pictures within a well-defined shape, such as a rectangle or oval, inside an imaginary framework. Balance the display by placing the largest pictures in corners or in the middle of the arrangement.
- Single row – For a horizontal row, range the top or bottom edge of your frames along an imaginary line. For horizontal, vertical or slanted rows, such as stairwells, display them with the centers on an imaginary straight line.
- Double row – Two rows of pictures can either be lined up centrally, by running an imaginary line between the rows, or be aligned at the top and bottom of the double row. Line up the sides of the outer pictures too.
- Cross – Group pictures round an imaginary cross, with the largest near the center of the cross, balanced by smaller pictures at the outer edges.
Consider also that horizontal lines tend to elongate, widen, and emphasize a casual decorating scheme while vertical lines tend to be more formal, add to the illusion of height, and can seem more elegant.
Pictures in a dining room can be hung lower on the wall since they will be viewed while seated.
So let’s get ready to hang some photos!
While you’re holding the piece up on the wall, have someone else put a tiny pencil mark along the top of the frame right in the middle. Next, measure the distance between the top of the frame and the spot on the back of the frame from where the photo will hang. Then go back to your pencil mark, subtract the difference, and make another pencil mark where your nail or hook will go.
Always test an arrangement of pictures by laying everything out on the floor, playing with combinations until you hit upon one that works. Cutting out sheets of paper to the size of your frames is even better because you can work with them easily on the ground, then tape them up on the wall to help you put all your nails in the right place.
Also, when hanging art over a piece of furniture such as a sofa or table, keep in mind it should not be longer than the width of the furniture – follow the general principle of being about 75% of the furniture’s width.
Once the frames are all hung, it’s easy to change or update the photos as you want to mix it up over time.
Now for the best part. Put all the tools away, stand back and admire your beautiful collection.