Hanging Art and Photos

As I know I’ve mentioned before, my background is in interior design and although i don’t do it on a daily basis anymore, it’s still very much a part of me and my everyday life. Being an interior designer for over 15 years has certainly shaped the way I see the world and also great influenced my photographic style. So, it’s no surprise that I bring that design sensibility when I am creating a photo collection for exhibit or when I’m just placing photos or artwork in my own home.

For many people figuring how to hang and display their art can be quite a conundrum. It doesn’t have to be so. Either from lack of knowledge or effort, lots of people haphazardly hang photos, not really giving more thought than – “oh, this would look good over my sofa.”

But, with a little bit of planning and consideration, you can create unique focal points in your home (or wherever the space) that can be a unique and personal way to display your art or photos.

Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

  1. Height – The center of the art should be roughly eye level from the typical vantge point it would be viewed in. In other words, if it’s on the wall and you would be standing to view it, 5′-4″ to 5′-7″ are good standard heights for the center of the work. If the art is going to be over a sofa or chair, then seated eye level is what you’re going for. Most people hang their artwork way too high, so this may seem too low, but trust me, it will make a difference. Your art/photo will seem more personal and intimate.
  2. Finding a center or focal point – A piece of art doesn’t always have to hang in the center of a wall. In fact, in most cases that is not what would work best. If you are hanging a single piece, consider the surrounding or what it’s hanging over. Obviously, if it’s going over the sofa, you would center it, but if it’s going near a chair (or let’s say a column) on a long wall, you’d most like place the piece to be spaced evenly between the end of the wall and the object along on the wall. Keep in mind, though, there is no hard and fast rule about this. Such as when you have groupings or are wanting to create a very specific area of interest.
  3. Groupings – There are so many ways this can be done. Take some time to think about what you’re wanting to achieve. Are you wanting to proudly display the b&w photos you’ve taken of your family? Of you trip to Yellowstone?  Or are you simply trying to fill up a long, dark hallway? I suggest gathering the works you want to hang and lay them on the floor in front of the space. Move things around, see how the pieces work best together in the space. Maybe you want it to be more structured. Maybe you want it to be more random and off center. Maybe the wall and furniture will dictate the layout. Most likely you’ll have one piece that is the focal image and everything else must work around that. Play around with it before you make any holes in the wall. While, they can always be covered, getting it figured out before you do the nailing and hammering will mean much less frustration and work for you in the end.
  4. Scale – Another issue I see a lot is not hanging photos/art of the correct scale. If it will hang over the sofa, take the size into consideration. If the image itself is on the small side, for example if the sofa is 72″ wide (6 feet) and your print is only 20″ wide, then it’s going to look out of scale. This is where framing can really come into play. Try matting the piece and using a nice, wide frame to bring up the scale. Of course, another option in this situation would be to add other images, perhaps a grouping of 3 or so.


These tips should help you get started and there is tons of great info on the web, but keep in mind rules can always be broken. Just make sure it’s done intentionally, with purpose and over all design in mind!

And speaking of good design below are some images of photo and art galleries that I think are quite wonderful.



Styling and Photography by Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss on http://www.theeverygirl.com




IG group

Design and Photo by Erin Lepperd of Style Me Pretty



Photo from http://www.thedesignchaser.com Design by Greg Natale, Photo by Anson Smart



Photo by Amanda Shadforth on http://www.oraclefox.com


For more lovely ways to displays photos and art in your home take a look at my Pinterest board for some fab inspiration. https://www.pinterest.com/squintphotoart/home-photography-galleries/

You can find out more about me and my work here. While you’re there sign up for my newsletter to get FREE seasonal photo downloads!

Ciao for now!

Sonja – Squint Photography


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