Hang Artwork Like a Professional

Unless you work for a gallery or a museum, chances are, you need just as much guidance as the rest of us on how to hang artwork properly.

As with any composition, there are a few tried-and-true design principles you can implement quite easily to achieve that polished look you're after.

Let's explore these picture-hanging principles in greater detail.

Follow the 57-inch rule

For most of us, 57 inches off of the ground is roughly eye level.

That's why most galleries and museums hang their work at this height, so that the art falls within the sightlines of their patrons, making for an easier, more natural viewing experience.

(Bear in mind, now, this is 57 inches from the exact center of the work, not from the top or the bottom portions of the frame.)

Applying this principle across all of the art pieces in your living space will create a strong sense of visual unity among all the work there—something guaranteed to make your guests admire your interior decorating skills that much more the next time they visit.

Leave space between your furniture and the artwork

If you're not going to follow the 57-inch rule, please—at the very minimum—leave a bit of a buffer zone between your furniture and the artwork that you intend to display around it.

It's not just for safety purposes (you don't want any sofa-sitters bumping their noggins against the expensive glass frame behind their heads, now, do you?). It's a matter of style, too.

Whether it's six inches, eight inches, or ten inches, a modest amount of space between your furniture and your artwork just makes things look better visually.

As interior decorator Emily Henderson says, "The artwork and piece of furniture should live near enough to each other that they collectively engage the whole wall together as a unit."

Map art size to wall size

It's important to keep proportions in mind as you decide how and where to arrange art around your home.

You don't want a small piece to stand alone on a large wall—that would just emphasize its emptiness and put too much negative space in the visual composition of that particular room.

The obverse of this is something you'd want to avoid as well. A large piece of art on an especially small wall can dwarf that part of your room, making it feel uneven, compositionally speaking, when the room is viewed in full.

A good rule of thumb? Aim for equilibrium. Map art size to wall size and be sure that you're not over-cluttering or leaving a space too empty. (Unless, of course, that's the look you're after for that particular space.)

It's important to remember that these are just principles, not hard-and-fast rules. What suits one person's living room might look absolutely horrid in another person's living room.

So, get creative with your art-hanging, and tailor it to suit the character of your home, or the particular look that you're after. There's no right way to decorate an interior. Ultimately, it's whatever you want it to be.