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The Golden Rules Of Hanging Artwork

14th July 2015

by Elinor Olisa

Being a gallerist, it’s not uncommon to find yourself up a stepladder in three-inch heels from time to time, making sure the finishing touches are all in place before a big show or client viewing. So it comes with no surprise that we’ve picked up a few nifty hanging tips and tricks over the past decade since my business partner, Isobel Beauchamp and I have been in the art business - the golden rules of hanging artwork.

Knowing how to hang a piece of art well is the difference between it looking like a cheap reproduced print, or a carefully selected one of a kind masterpiece, whatever your budget may be – and it doesn’t have to be a hellish DIY task that you call the handy man in for. So here’s a few tips that will ensure your home or office can be as carefully curated as the Tate!

Don’t Hang Too High! 
Time and time again we come across walls with pieces of art that seems to be trying to escape through the ceiling. Hang your work at eye level to allow you and your visitors to enjoy it. If you have other artwork hung – find out the mid-point of the piece that will be nearest to your new work of art.

Think about how the work will hang from the wall. There is no need to add wire or string to a canvas painting as they look best hung from their frames, whilst framed prints and photographs will require a wire or hooks. If you are concerned about security, mirror plates are ideal meaning the work has to be unscrewed in order to be released. Do remember that mirror plates will be visible around the edge of your work of art so you may want to paint them to match the wall.

The Right Space for your Work 
Avoid hanging tiny pieces of art on large walls as they will be swallowed up by the expanse of wall surrounding it. Little works of art suit little spaces unless you are hanging a series or this is the look you are going for! Think about how the piece will look from different aspects of the room.

Fixtures and Tools
Make sure you use correct hanging fixtures i.e. picture hooks and nails for work that you can lift easily and screws and raw plugs for work that is heavy. Have the right tools on hand – especially a spirit level, tape measure and pencil.

Measure Twice, Hammer Once!
Back this golden rule up by having someone on hand to offer a second opinion before you start making holes in your wall!

Odd Never Even
If you’re going for a series of artworks together on one wall, remember that threes and fives always look best. Even numbers of artworks can appear too blocky and the individuality of each piece may be lost.

Multiple Hanging
If you’ve got a lot of works to hang in one room, be sure to select your works carefully, so there is a cohesive theme that runs throughout, this will help balance the overall feel of the interior – and detract from it looking like a junk shop wall!

Keeping It Simple
If you’re dealing with a large piece of work that is already securely framed, then sometimes it’s nice to simply prop the work up in a stark corner of a room to add a focus - provided there are no little people running around that may bump into it! Simplicity can work just as well.

So in summary: Not too high, get the right fixtures, think about the space you will hang in, have the right tools to hand and have some help. Good luck! was founded in 2003 by Elinor Olisa and Isobel Beachamp, and is one of the UK's first Online Art Galleries. Over the past 12 years, has established itself as the market leader in UK student and graduate art sales, hand picking and promoting the most promising artistic talent. As well as selling, commissioning and renting the finest artwork created by the artists emerging from the most prestigious art establishments, has launched other initiatives such as Artellite and its higher bracket sister gallery Contemporary Collective, and carry out interior consultations for both residential and commercial projects.

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