Art hangs in the Lars Gesing Fine Art Photography Gallery in West Seattle.
July 09, 2024

6 TIPS HOW TO HANG ART LIKE A PRO

As you try to figure out how to hang art like a pro, there are a few things you want to keep in mind before you even buy a piece. Things like the 57-inch rule, lighting, the right hardware and the dimensions and decor of your space all play a role.

Generally, all my signature large wall art comes ready to hang, with the mounting hardware attached to the back and instructions included. From there, the relatively lightweight yet sturdy piece can be hung on the wall in a matter of minutes (more on what’s the right hardware to hang my art in the Tip #3 section!)

But how do you place the art so that you create a balanced design in your room? Well… read on — I’m about to tell you everything you need to know for the best way to hang art!

#1: THE 57-INCH RULE — WHAT IS THE RIGHT HEIGHT TO HANG ART?

When you try to figure out how to hang artwork, the best starting point is the 57-inch rule. That means the center of the artwork should be 57-60 inches from the ground. Why 57 inches? Because that puts the upper third of the artwork at the average person’s eye level.

Of course, this can vary based on the placement of other objects in the space, like lighting fixtures, door frames, the height of windows, furniture, etc. Ultimately, the goal is to hang the artwork in a way that makes the room feel well-balanced. Whether you have a large wall to fill or you are hanging art in small spaces, the 57-inch rule is a good place to start when looking for the right height to hang artwork.

If you live in the Greater Seattle Area, one of the perks of automatically joining my COLLECTORS CIRCLE as a buyer of my art is that I will gladly hand-deliver the art you love to your home and help you place it correctly.

Lars Gesing shows art in his West Seattle photography gallery.

 

#2: WHEN TO BREAK THE 57-INCH RULE: HOW TO HANG ART ABOVE FURNITURE

As I mentioned above, while the 57-inch rule is a great place to start when figuring out how to best hang artwork. But there are a few common exceptions.

Above Furniture

The 57-inch rule is a great for determining the right height to hang artwork on a blank wall. But if you have to match it to furniture, the best way to hang art — especially larger pieces — is to go off the dimensions of that furniture. 

For example, if you are hanging a large piece of art above a couch, or above a headboard in a peaceful bedroom, consider their width first. The right artwork size will be between 2/3 and 3/4 the width of the focal piece of furniture. You are then going to want to leave 6-12” between the furniture and the bottom of the artwork for the best way to hang it. 

Rooms Where You Will Be Mostly Sitting

If you are choosing art for spaces where you will be mostly sitting, such as living rooms or offices — as opposed to, say hallways, stairways, kitchens, etc. — you might also want to slightly deviate from the 57-inch rule as you figure out how to hang your art the right way and place it a few inches lower on the wall? 

Why would you do that? Remember, ideally a large section of the art should be placed at eye level, if possible. And if you are sitting down a lot in the space where you want to hang the art, well, then you might want to adjust the right height to hang it slightly.

When You Have High Ceilings

One of the most popular places to hang artwork for my collectors is above a fireplace mantel. It seems like every month I am doing one of my free digital mockups for a potential collector who wants to hang art above their mantel.

One thing a lot of those spaces have in common? They have high ceilings, and the mantel is fairly high as well. In those cases, don’t be afraid to hang the art higher than 57 inches. In fact, artwork, especially a vertical panorama photography print, is a great way to balance out a room with high ceilings.

Vertical Panoramas

When you are trying to figure out how to best hang a piece of vertical panorama art, don’t be afraid to hang it a lot lower, either. This is especially true for larger pieces. The great thing about fine art nature photography prints compared to other, more traditional art forms, is its ability to immediately take you to your happy place. 

Well… and if you hang a large fine art nature print a lot lower than 57 inches, it will feel like you can step right into the scene — like a portal opened for you. It’s a great way to bring your nature-inspired Biophilic Interior Design to life and jumpstart those daydreams. 

Take a look at the photo below how I hung my image FOREST FLOWER in my West Seattle photography gallery with that concept in mind.

Lars Gesing in his West Seattle photography art gallery.

#3: CHOOSE THE RIGHT HARDWARE TO HANG ART THE RIGHT WAY

There are a lot of different hardware options to choose from when figuring out how to hang art the right way. 

I don’t want to confuse you. Hanging art should be exciting, not daunting — which is why the appropriate hanging accessories will always be included when you purchase art from me. 

Most of my pieces will be hung on the wall using cleats — one of them will be screwed onto the wall, and then the one that’s already attached to the back of the art will latch in place when you hang the art, making sure that it sits securely and snugly against the wall.

Lars Gesing shows his art in his West Seattle photography gallery.

Here's what my artwork looks like on the back. All hardware is always included — the piece will come ready to hang! 

#4: HOW TO HANG ARTWORK WITHOUT DAMAGING THE WALL

There are also options for hanging artwork without damaging your wall — especially if you are moving artwork around a lot, which is a great way to use art in small spaces.

In my West Seattle gallery, I am often rotating artworks and moving them to different places on the wall. I am using the AS Hanging System — and I love the flexibility it affords. Yes, you will ultimately still need to screw the track into the wall (although the track can also be screwed into the ceiling if you are for example looking to hang art on a stone fireplace and don’t want to drill a hole into the stone).

But once the track is installed, the movable cables will afford you maximum flexibility both in terms of height and where on your wall you want to hang the art.

AS Hanging Systems is an affordable way to hang artwork without damaging your wall repeatedly — I encourage you to take a look. I’ve been using their products for years.

The Lars Gesing Fine Art Photography Gallery in West Seattle.

#5: MAKE SURE THE PIECE IS LEVEL WHEN HANGING ART

Ahh, yes… I couldn’t write an article on how to hang artwork the right way without including my absolute worst pet peeve… artwork that is not level.

I just don’t get it… Why would you spend all that money on an heirloom piece of fine art and then have it hang on the wall slightly crooked? (You’d be surprised how often I see this…). If the art is not level, it’s the fastest way for the entire room to feel unbalanced — and it’ll be much harder for you to create a truly calming zen space that way. (Rant over.)

Thankfully, the fix is easy. As you hang the artwork, use a level, measuring tape and pencil. Or, do as I often do and make your life easy by using a laser level — and forever enjoy level artworks.

A piece of Kauai art from Tunnels Beach hangs in a living room.

#6: SOMETIMES, THE RIGHT WAY TO HANG ART IS TO JUST HANG IT

Okay, so you should follow a few rules as you figure out how to hang artwork. Most of the time, that is. And then, sometimes, the right way to hang art is to just hang it—no further questions asked (well, as long as it's level).

There are times when you will simply fall in love with a piece of art, and when that magic moment happens, questions what is the right art size for your space, or the right color, etc. should absolutely take a backseat to that emotional connection.

My friend and West Seattle interior designer Andrea Bushdorf likes to say that the right art will find a space — and I agree wholeheartedly. If you are so lucky to have found a strong emotional connection with something, make it part of your life and don’t ever let it go.  

You can always paint a wall, or move some things around if needed to have the art unfold all of its magic in your space. You’ll be surprised how quickly the room will turn into a place that consistently invites you to daydream — even on your busiest days.

#7: CONSIDER LIGHTING FOR THE BEST WAY TO HANG ART

As you consider how to hang your art, you will want to think about lighting. That doesn’t necessarily mean artificial light. The paper I use to produce my artworks has a very dynamic relationship with light — depending on the intensity and the angle of the light, the print illuminates and appears to shift, to come alive, right in front of your eyes. If your space has natural lighting that achieves this effect, perfect! If, right out of the box, you do not see the same effect, consider some artificial lighting. Both wired and wireless solutions are available.

And the best thing: Thanks to the glare-resistant treatment of the TruLife acrylic I use to mount my prints to, you do not have to worry about glare or reflections from windows ruining the viewing experience of your art!

A collector with Lars Gesing's fine art nature photography.

Collector Mike Bauer hung these two artworks, FAMILY BONDS and MEMORY LANE, in his entryway and hallway and chose to highlight them with spotlights.

#8 WHERE NOT TO HANG ARTWORK

Most artists and interior designers will warn you not to hang artwork anywhere in direct sunlight for fear of damaging UV lights, or in the presence of moisture — like in bathrooms. 

Well, with my sealed acrylic floats, you do not have to worry about either. These acrylic photography prints can safely turn your regular bathroom into a spa-like sanctuary — as my collectors Sam and Phil Neale did with my image ECHO, which was the perfect touch of nature in their monochrome bathroom design. They do not have to worry about the art getting damaged by moisture due to its seal, and neither do you.

Each of my signature acrylic facemounts is also protected against damaging UV light and treated in a way that it significantly reduces glare, opening up walls opposite of large windows to be adorned by art that otherwise would have been out of bounds because of the double-threat of glare and UV light.

Lars Gesing fine art collectors

My collectors Sam & Phil Neale with their 24x36" acrylic float of ECHO, which they planned on hanging as a touch of nature in their newly-remodeled monochrome bathroom.

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PLEASE NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. If you end up buying something through those links, I may earn a small commission — at no additional cost to you. It’s just one more way to keep my small biz running. Please know though that I only link out to products I have used or would use myself.