One of the quickest ways to make your home feel more welcoming, interesting and personal is to display art. It not only tells your story, but also adds a big shot of colour, pattern and dimension to a space!
But there's 2 common pitfalls to displaying art that I want to tackle here today - scale and height. They're common, given it's generally our awesome men hanging said pieces, and because they're taller on average, the art tends to land higher than it should for the best effect. Also, small art is less of an investment, so it's an easy trap to fall in to if you don't understand how important getting the scale right can be! (Read: worth paying the extra for! I mean just look at the impact an oversized piece makes above in this living room by Alice Lane!)
As opposed to the below example, the scale is great, but the piece needs to be lowered by 15" so that it doesn't look like it's floating in outer space.
Size of Artworks
In general, the bigger the artwork, the bigger your space will look. A good rule of thumb is art should be 50-90% of the size of the furniture below. For a more successful look, aim for 75-90%. If you're hanging art in a hallway, the same ratio applies. Have your wall decor cover about 50-75% of the width of the space. For a maximalist look, you can pull off the 90%. For Gallery Walls or when hanging a series, tighten up those gaps for the best look. I like 2" between pieces in a gallery wall.
Think outside the Frame
Large original art can be expensive, but check out up and coming artists or student artists for great deals! Also, consider getting a smaller piece framed with a large mat to grow it to the appropriate size for the space. A series can fill a large space without breaking the bank. Or, hang a textile like a vintage rug or quilt. I'm planning to frame a silk scarf for my stairwell gallery wall. A beautiful mirror can be an inexpensive and practical way to fill a space. Special Objets can look super curated in a gallery wall. Do you have any collections that could be displayed as wall art, such as plates, hats or baskets? Metal or plaster sculptural pieces can add a lot of interest. You could even frame fabric or wallpaper to achieve the scale you need without breaking the bank.
Standard Mounting Height for Art
In general, if we don't have any furniture beneath the artwork, such as a hallway, hang your art between 57-60" from floor to centre of piece. This puts things nicely at eye level. If your family is shorter, go 57". Taller, go 60".
Mounting Height for Art over Low Furniture/Fixtures
I love art over toilets, but eye level can make the scene feel too disconnected. Try the piece around 53" from floor to centre of art instead.
The same thing goes for art over benches in an entryway for example. In order for the vignette to work, you may want to lower the art down to around 53" to centre. Grab a partner and play with it. It's definitely more of an art than a science and your eye will tell you if something's off.
Mounting Height for Art over Beds or Couches
A good rule of thumb is 4-9" from the top of the headboard to the bottom of the art. However, if the piece is long and narrow, you'll want to increase the distance between headboard and artwork, ensuring it isn't too far below eye level.
If the piece is oversized (go you!!) you'll be hugging it lower to the furniture it's being centred above. 2" is minimum.
Mounting Height for Art over Consoles and Tables
This depends on the height of your art. If it's smaller, you'll be leaving more distance between the tabletop and the artwork, if it's larger you can come as close as 2". You want to balance this guideline with keeping the centre close to eye level. I think this dance is important, because the tighter the elements in a vingette, the more designerly it looks. So I don't want to overly simplify and say, just hang everything at 60" to centre and walk away!
This also ties back to the importance of scale, if you've purchased art that is large enough for the space, you won't have to make compromises in meeting both these guidelines. It will be close to the table, while still being at a comfortable viewing height.
What about table top styling? Shouldn't my art be hung above the tallest item?
That's a negatory in my books! Layering items in a vignette (for example, a frame slightly in front of a lamp, in front of the mounted artwork) will look like you had a professional in! It's about the overall scene, rather than seeing 100% of each individual item.
You tell me, what's the more interesting look below?
Mounting Height over Fireplace
Again, I like this pretty tight so long as you art is large enough. Hang art 3-5" from mantel, or, try leaning your tall art for a laid back vibe.
Hopefully this inspires you to pull your art down closer to your heart :) It will instantly warm up your place to have art hung a little lower, and if the scale is also on pointe, you won't be able to get your friends to leave! Something magic happens when art is done right. I hope you can implement these tips and feel the difference! If you need help with styling, book us to come in and help (we can even work virtually!) Live beautifully, friends!