Many people purchase a piece of art for their home, find the nearest wall, then use a thumb tack to attach that art to the wall in a random location above their heads. There is a better way to hang artwork to make it more visually appealing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years for how to hang artwork.
The most important step in hanging artwork is to make sure you have the correct hangers. There are many different hangers available from a basic nail or screw to complete mounting systems. Make sure whatever system you choose, that it can support the weight of your art. I personally love to use specialty hooks that do not require tools (Hercules Hooks, Monkey Hooks, and equivalent) because they are so quick and easy, however they will not work if you hit a wall stud.
Location in the Room
The location of the artwork in your room should be thoroughly considered. If you have a large wall, then use large artwork or a cohesive collection of smaller artwork in that location. If you spend a lot of time staring at a certain wall, such as walking down a hallway towards a wall, then it should probably have artwork. Not every wall has to have artwork.
Location on the Wall
Most people hang artwork too high up on their walls. Art galleries typically hang artwork to where the center of the art is 57" from the floor (approximately eye level). For homeowners, I would suggest picking a dimension between 57" and 60" (5 feet) from the floor and use that dimension throughout your home. If your artwork is 48" tall, then the center (24" from the top) should be 57" to 60" from the floor. Yes, you will have to use a little math to figure it out, but measure twice and hang once. You can even make little pencil marks on your wall to help you during the art hanging process.
There are exceptions to the rule when hanging artwork. If you have a fantastic view out your windows, then you may not need artwork at all. If you are hanging art over a sofa or bed, then feel free to adjust the hanging height where it looks aprorpriate. If you like the look of artwork hung extra low or extra high, then go for it!
Collection of Frames
If you like to have a collection of frames on one wall (perhaps photos of your kids or their artwork in nice frames), then try to have a cohesive element to tie the grouping together. You can have identical picture frames, or at least frames of the same color. I personally like to use black frames of different shapes and sizes with a white mat and print the photos in black and white. When mounting the art to your wall, keep a consistent dimension between the frames - top to bottom and side to side.
Now to my biggest artwork pet peeve - art niches. Builders love to put art niches in homes, however niches require that that your art be a particular height and width. You are now also required to put art on that wall, even if you did not want to. If you are a builder and are reading this, please do us a favor and stop putting in art niches. If you are remodeling your home and have an opportunity to remove your art niches, please do so. Also, feel free to hang oversized art on top of art niches that covers the niche completely. I hate having to settle for artwork that fits in a niche but we don't love and would never buy if the art niche did not exist.