Hanging a new print or collection of prints can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time. Luckily, there’s no need to be intimidated. Take a look at these 7 simple design principles to help you make the most of your prints.
- Does the print suit the room?
The first and arguably most important question to ask before hanging your piece of wall art is: Do the colours in your chosen prints compliment or jar with the other colours in your room? It’s a good idea to try to ensure some colours in your print match other objects in the room like couches, cushions, chairs etc. to help tie the room together. It’s also important to ask yourself if the print suits the general decor of the room? i.e. Modern abstract art for more modern rooms or traditional pieces for vintage or retro styled rooms.
- Choosing a frame
A well-chosen frame can often be the difference between making a print stand out or letting it fade into the background. It’s important to give this decision some thought. Try to stay away from frames that are the same colour as any of the dominant colours in your print. You want your frame to compliment the piece, not compete with it. Another good tip is to match the style of the print with the style of the frame. For example, a more modern piece of abstract art is usually suited to a modern simple style of frame, whereas an older baroque print may benefit from being placed in a detailed, fancier and ornate frame. For more in-depth advice on framing have a read of article.
- What height to place your print?
Traditionally, designers tend to place the centre of a piece of artwork about 57 inches (145cm) from the floor. Although this may seem low, it is the measurement used in most galleries and museums and it means your print will be at about eye level for the average person. To calculate this simply:
- Divide the height of your frame by 2
- Subtract the distance between your frame’s nail hook and the top of your print
- Add the result to 57 inches (145cm) and you’ll get how far from the floor you should place your nail.
If you choose to hang a group of prints in a cluster, it can be useful to first decide on what the collective theme of your prints is going to be i.e. similar colours, subjects, styles. Next, arrange your prints on a large sheet of thin brown kraft paper in whatever order you think works best. When you’ve decided, trace around the frames and mark the hanger points onto the paper. Cut out what you’ve traced and stick them on the wall with blue tack. This is a great way to give you an idea of how your prints will look when hung up and allows you to play around with before committing.
- Hanging over furniture
Placing a print over a piece of furniture is a great way to underline it and make it stand out. To achieve symmetry, it’s generally recommended that your print should never be wider than the piece of furniture you’re hanging it over. A good rule of thumb is that your print should be about ½ to ¾ the length of the piece of furniture and sit between 10-30cm above it. Another idea you may want to consider would be the option of leaning your print on a piece of furniture like a table or a shelf. While this won’t be for everybody, the popularity of this method has grown in recent years and can help create a more laid-back casual look in your space.
- Hanging a group of prints asymmetrically
For an asymmetrical arrangement, choose a middle print that really stands out and position it using the method explained in tip 3. Using this central print as a reference point, position your other prints to the left and right, up and down, using the nail of your middle print as your central line. Place the same number of prints on either side of your middle print for the best effect. When hanging, make sure each print is an equal distance away (either vertically or horizontally) from the next print. Anywhere between 2-6 inches is ideal as long as you pick one distance and stick to it. This method allows an asymmetrical look without it looking untidy or too random.
- Trust your judgement
None of the above tips are intended to be hard and fast rules; every space is different. If you feel any of the rules don’t work in your space, then disregard them. Nobody knows your home better than you and if your gut is telling you something doesn’t look right then trust your intuition and change it. After all, it’s your space and you’re going to be the one looking at it. Some of the greatest artists in history were artists who broke all the rules, so be brave and develop your own style!