While hanging art is a sure-fire way to fill up a lonely wall, putting up canvas art can be as taxing as making art itself. Decisions abound; what’s the best hardware to use for hanging art? How much space should you allow between art pieces? And what about the logistics needed to pull off something ultra-artsy like a gallery wall? If the idea of installing a picture wire or planning out a gallery wall feels nerve-wracking, don’t fret. With a little precision and care, putting up artwork can be straightforward and stress-free. To help streamline the process, we’ve assembled a few tips and tricks that’ll help make your home look like a straight-up masterpiece.

Related: 6 Expert Tips on Collecting Art

A gallery wall designed by Dane Austin takes center stage in this traditional living room complete with two canines
Design by Dane Austin Design / Photo by Eric Roth

How to Hang Art Like a Pro

If you’re committed to securely attaching a piece of art to your wall, consider creating a wire hanging. Art hanging aficionados recommend first measuring a third down from the top of your canvas on each side. From there, twist an eye screw into each wooden bar of the canvas. Next, loop in a steel wire that is the width of the canvas, plus eight more inches, through the eye screws. Once your wire is securely connected through both of your eye screws, hammer a nail in your wall where you want your art to hang. Be careful not to hammer in the nail more than needed—leaving an inch or so of the nail head exposed will ensure minimal damage to your wall. Balance your wire hanging on your nail, adjust a bit, and voilà! You have a beloved piece of art securely affixed to your wall.

Other options like sawtooth brackets and J-Hooks are also great ways to hang canvas art. While adhesive strips are inexpensive and easy, they tend to work best with lighter pieces (think: canvas-wrapped art). And remember, throughout this whole process, a pencil, tape measure, and spirit level will be your best friends. Measure and mark your wall to your heart’s content to help guide you. In the aftermath, a magic eraser can easily buff out errant marks.

Statement canvas art brings together the light wood tones and other sculptural art pieces in this dining nook
Design by Hamilton Design Associates / Photo by William Waldron

How to Position Statement Art

We’ll set the scene: you’ve been searching for that perfect piece of artwork—one large and in charge and sure to make a statement. After weeks of hunting at vintage stores, perusing local galleries, and browsing Chairish, you found one that truly speaks to you—the one. Now comes the question: where to put it?

Interior designers recommend hanging single pieces of artwork at eye level. Most art galleries hang art so that the center of the piece is 57 to 60 inches from the floor. If you opt to hang your art above furniture, allow 4 to 10 inches of buffer space in between.

In accordance with basic design principles, it’s also important to consider the scale of your art in relation to your furniture. As a general rule, artwork should be about two-thirds of the size of a sofa or a sideboard over which it’s hanging. While that’s undoubtedly helpful advice—remember: the rules were meant to be broken! Where you place your beloved artwork is ultimately up to you and what looks best to your eye.

Three matching canvas art pieces bring balance to this funky living room designed by Dane Austin
Design by Dane Austin Design / Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

How to Layer Multiple Pieces of Artwork

Display two or three artworks of differing sizes or styles together for a sophisticated yet casual look. This method works best when your artworks have something in common with each other—perhaps each has a similar texture, color palette, or frame. Hot tip: consider the latter—identical frames—as a potential solution for making disparate art pieces look more cohesive.

Treat multiple art pieces as one and hang them 57 to 60 inches from the floor. A few inches between each piece is more than enough to make sure your artworks look collected, but not puzzled, together.

A gallery wall of black, brown and white art makes for a subdued and sophisticated design in this lounge room
Design by Sean Anderson Design / Photo by Haris Kenjar

Originating during 1667’s annual Royal Academy art exhibition in Paris, the original “Salon-Style Hang” showcased a meticulously-assembled wall of paintings that extended from the floor to the ceiling. Over 350 years later, these salon-style walls are still in vogue. Although salon walls can be as sensational as work of art itself, hanging the pieces to achieve the style can be a daunting undertaking.

There are a few ways to make the whole process more seamless. First, collect your pieces. Collecting meaningful art can take time, so consider holding off on assembling a salon-style wall until you’ve curated enough beloved art. We promise that the end result will be worth the wait!

Once you have enough artwork to create a gallery wall, arrange the pieces on the floor. This will allow you to experiment with different arrangements and pinpoint what looks best before hammering in any nails. The easiest way to design your wall is to start with the biggest piece and work outwards from there. Allot two to three inches between large and medium pieces and one to two-and-a-half inches between smaller pieces.

If you want to err on the side of caution, trace your frames on butcher paper, cut them out, and use painter’s tape to recreate your layout on the wall. But perhaps most importantly, trust your instincts and have fun! A salon-style wall hang involves your favorite artwork, arranged in your favorite way—there are no wrong answers!

Eclectic gallery wall takes center stage in this sitting room designed by Studio 6F
Design by Studio 6F / Photo by Aimee Mazzenga

9 Steps to Picture-Perfect Art Hanging

  • Create a wire hanging
  • Consider using sawtooth brackets or J-Hooks for optimal sturdiness
  • Place artwork (from the center) 57 to 60 inches from the ground. (This allows for it be seen at eye-level.)
  • Allot 4 to 10 inches of space between art and furniture
  • As a general rule, artwork should be two-thirds of size of nearby furnishings
  • Treat multiple art pieces as one and hang them 57 to 60 inches from the floor
  • Before hammering in any nails to for a gallery wall, place your artwork on the floor to visualize your arrangement
  • When creating a salon-style art arrangement, start with placing big pieces and go from there
  • Trace your frames on a paper and use painters tape to recreate your layout onto the wall

Shop Canvas Art >>

Lead image design by studio CAK / Photo by Aimee Mazzenga


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December 28, 2021

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