How to hang artwork correctly
Our simple guide to hanging artwork and mirrors correctly in your property.
1. Assess the wall
Depending on the type of wall you are hanging the artwork on, there are several hanging methods and pieces of equipment required. Is it a brick, rendered or Gyprock wall? Could there be any cables or plumbing behind the wall? This is important information you need to know prior to piercing the wall with a nail or screw, if you are unsure of whether or not there are services behind the wall you wish to hang art on, or which material the wall is made from you should have a qualified trade’s person assess it for you prior to proceeding.
2. Get the right equipment
The type of wall and the weight of the artwork or mirror will dictate what you equipment you will need.
Gyprock walls may require a stud finder, hammer, hooks or screws, ‘wall mates’ and a Phillips screwdriver. For heavy items like large mirrors, you would be best arrange a qualified trade’s person to do the job for you.
Brick or render walls may require an electric drill or possibly a hammer drill, plugs and screws or a ‘wall mate’ to secure the artwork to the wall.
You will also need a measuring tape so that you can get the placement right. All these items should be available from your local hardware store.
3. Get the placement right
If it’s a single artwork, try to place it above the centre of a visual focus point – i.e. above the centre of a bed or sofa. As a rule, artwork should be hung in the centre of the wall space, both horizontally (from wall to wall) and vertically (between the top of the piece of furniture and the ceiling).
Generally, you want your art to be at eye level or slightly above eye level. You don’t want to be looking down on the art or craning your neck to look up at it. If this is happening then the piece may be the wrong size for the space you are trying to hang it in. Have someone hold up the artwork up against the wall for you and check the placement from a few steps back.
Hanging artwork so the tops of the art all align is another popular method, you can use a window or door frame height as a starting guide.
If you have lots of small, mismatched artworks a gallery wall is a great way to work them all into a single space. The trick is to cluster them in a large group and when hanging work from the middle outwards.
Hanging artworks in a series can look impressive, especially if the images are uniform in size and colour – try black and white framed photos down a corridor for a big impact.
In a period home, use the existing picture rails to hang your artwork. Picture rail hooks are readily available and will mean you do not have to damage the wall surface when hanging your art. You may need to get picture chains to have the artworks at the right height, which can be purchased from hardware stores.
4. Measuring the wall
First, measure the size of the wall space and the size of the artwork. Then calculate the centre point at which you will hang the art, by working out how much space you will need either side of it and above and below it.
Take the total length of the wall space minus the length of the artwork and divide it by two.
For example, if your wall space is 2 metres by 2 metres and you artwork is 40cm in width and 60cm in height, you would use the following calculation:
200cm (total width of wall space) – 40cm (total width of art) = 160cm
160cm /2 = 80cm. So you will require 80cm on the left and right of the artwork.
200cm (total length of wall) – 60cm (total height of art) = 140cm
140cm/2= 70 cm. So you will require 70cm above and below the artwork.
Now measure the distance between the hook or string on the back of the artwork and the top of the artwork. If it is a string, let the art hang from the end of your measuring tape to get an accurate distance once weight is added. Add this measurement to the distance between the top of the artwork and the ceiling that you calculated earlier.
When hanging artwork with a fixed hook or clasp on the back of it, you will need to measure the distance from the sides of the artwork inwards to the hook as well, and add these figures to the distance you need on the left and right of the art.
5. Making the cavity
Once you are sure where to place your hook or screw, you can make the cavity in the wall and fix the appropriate fitting for the type of wall and artwork.
Remember once you make the hole, it will be difficult to cover it so ensure you check your measurements thoroughly!
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