Monday, April 5, 2010

How to hang your art

Where to hang art: The standard rule is midway on a wall, usually 58-62 inches from the floor.

Let a large piece stand alone and be the focal point in a room.

Reframing can change the way a piece looks.

When hanging several pieces across a wall, like what is seen at an art gallery, keep the top of the frames at the same height to let the eye easily follow the line.

Track lighting is one of the best ways to highlight a work of art.

Oils will stand up better to strong light than watercolors.

Put artwork in unexpected places, such as the powder room, where it can have immediate impact.

Simple changes can spice up a room: Move a piece of art from over the fireplace, for example, and into the master bedroom.

Buy what you love.

-- Interior designer Sara Osthoff and Libby Reuter, curator of the Schmidt Art Center at Southwestern Illinois College

More tips for framed art

Linden Laurent, a senior designer at Betty Johnson Interiors in Milwaukee, recommends a simple test when you're deciding where to hang your art once it's framed:

Take a large sheet of kraft paper, or even an old bedsheet, and lay it flat on the floor. Map out the wall's design, using the actual pieces of art as your guide. Then hang the sheet on the wall. If you're not happy with the look, continue shifting pieces on your "mock-up" wall until you are.

Use different sizes and shapes in a grouping, so that the finished design doesn't look "cookie cutter."

To make a smaller space seem larger, hang an oversize piece rather than small decorative arts. "You can actually only see so much at one time," she says.

A common mistake is to hang the art so high that you need to step on a stool to see it best. "If it's a walk-through area, hang it at eye level," Laurent says. For art that will hang near a sofa or side chair, lower it so that it's at eye level when you're sitting down.

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