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Hang Art Like a Pro

Perhaps you’ve been inspired by the countless art collections in your midst, like the ones found at Philadelphia’s own Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Or maybe it’s just time to breathe new life into your rooms. In any case, it takes a masterful touch to properly hang your fine art. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Get the Height Right

One of the most common mistakes is hanging a painting too high. Regardless of size, the work should be around eye level. The general rule of thumb is to hang art so the midpoint of the piece is between 57 and 66 inches from the ground. Larger pieces (4x4 feet and up) still should be at eye level, but the size of the room, height of the ceiling and influence of other furniture and art all should be considered for a balanced effect.

Remember to make a lasting impression with the artwork and not your mistakes, so use a pencil to measure and mark the wall where you’ll create nail holes. And don’t forget to account for the space between the hook or wiring and the top of the painting when you are measuring.

Location is Everything

While hanging a painting over the fireplace seems quite natural, fine art needs protection from extremes in heat or cold. (Canvasses can melt, says fine art auction house Christie’s.) You’ll also want to keep your treasures away from radiators, direct sunlight, kitchen steam and damp areas like bathrooms. If it’s a drawing or watercolor, it is best to avoid hanging them near windows as well. But if you’re determined that it’s over the mantel or nothing, consider smart framing to minimize the toll of heat and light.

Play to the Gallery

When hanging multiple pieces or adding a new painting to your existing collection, even a beginner can master two hanging styles: salon-style and grid pattern. With a salon-style gallery, determine the centerpiece of the collection and then hang the remaining art in an eye-catching pattern around it. Establish a theme or make friends with contrast. Prefer a more structured design? Try arranging your art in a grid formation on your wall. Just remember to leave two to three inches between frames.

A Weighty Consideration

With attention to one last detail—making sure the wiring, hook etc. can hold the weight of your artwork—you’re ready to roll and hang that treasure. By following these simple steps, you’ll soon be hanging fine art like a pro.