How to Arrange Your Wall Art

If you’re looking to truly personalize your home, arranging art on the walls is by far one of the most versatile and customizable ways to bring your personality into your space. Every room can benefit from having something to brighten up bare walls, or create interesting focal points – but surprisingly, even the idea of putting up art makes some homeowners nervous.

Perhaps that’s because there’s a lot to consider: color schematics, size, framing, mounting your pieces straight enough and high enough on the wall… the mere thought of having to hang new hooks for a framed picture is enough to scare many people away from diving into the world of wall art.

Just because there’s a lot to think about doesn’t mean you should just settle for plain, boring walls! You can navigate the task of finding the perfect accent pieces to adorn your walls, liven up your room, and ultimately brighten your life.

We’ve got a few tips to ease the stress of arranging wall art, and help you make your home look like it was professionally decorated:

Look to the Living Room Couch

Let the sofa be your guide. Better Homes & Gardens advocates for putting a large statement piece directly above a couch or a sideboard, for a simple reason: it can help you judge how high a piece of art should be hung. It’s recommended that art be located at eye level, and since most people are sitting in a living room, putting it over a couch is a good measure of exactly how high you’d want it to be.

Using the couch as a scale is also handy when it comes to the size of your wall art. Think of a couch or a sideboard as a giant ruler — you don’t want a piece of art hanging over the couch to be huge, but you don’t want the art to be too small either. Linda Crisolo, the Art.com director of merchandising, advises that you “make sure artwork is at least two-thirds the size of the sofa or sideboard… For example, a 9-foot-long sofa should have a 6-foot-wide expanse of art above it.”

This trick should come in handy for ensuring your chosen wall art is to scale.

Divide It Up

Don’t feel constrained to choosing just one piece of art to hang over your couch – think about grouping a number of related art pieces together, in the same area. Collecting multiple pieces of smaller artwork can make for an interesting visual display, but it’s important to understand how to balance them together on your wall. Crisolo recommends that heavier and larger pieces be arranged towards the bottom and the left-hand side. If all the pieces are of even size, identify the heaviest piece and set it in the middle.

If you’re apprehensive about hanging a number of pieces together, pull out some masking tape and “draw” the outlines of the frames on the wall ahead of time. This should help give you a good visual idea of how you want to lay out the different pieces. You can also trace outlines of your art onto paper, and tape them to the walls if you want a more concrete view.

Color and Frame Smarts

Whether you’re focusing on one large piece or several small pieces, it’s wise to keep color schematics in mind. For many pieces grouped together, try to choose art pieces with one strong similar color in the design, so they have some visual coherence. If you’re looking for a big piece of statement artwork, make sure that its main color aesthetic doesn’t clash with the walls in your room. It’s recommended to stick within two to three palette hues, or else you may risk overwhelming the room.

Speaking of cohesion, there’s a lot of conflicting opinions out there on frames; particularly for groupings of artwork. Some experts recommend you match the frames, but others will say to use a variety of designs. What you need to look at is the overall aesthetic of the room – if your interior décor features clean lines like a modernist kitchen, choose a matched set of understated frames. If you’re decorating your children’s bedroom, feel free to play up the fun factor. Linda Crisolo suggests that if you’re using mismatched frames, it’s a good idea to spread them out a bit to give the artwork some “breathing room.”

Balance It Right

Don’t be daunted when faced with mounting one big piece of wall art, or several smaller pieces together – there are plenty of practical ways to ensure your art is at the correct height and pleasing to the eye. With a little thought to color palettes and proportions, you can bring your walls to life with vibrant elements.

Some people even love to change up their wall art seasonally, or every few years; this is an easy way to keep things feeling fresh in a room, even if you haven’t changed any other aspect of the décor. Artwork, photographs, and other wall hangings truly bring personality into a space, as eye-catching pieces whose sole purpose is to bring beauty and joy to the people using the space. The key is to choose wall art (and accompanying frames) that fits your style, preferences, and overall home décor aesthetic; because then it’ll be a snap to balance out your artwork just right.