The Art of Presenting Art: How to Hang Pictures the Right Way!

The Art of Presenting Art: How to Hang Pictures the Right Way!


Owning a work of art is not enough to unfold its full effect. It is crucial to present it appropriately. We provide answers to the most important questions on how to place a picture perfectly on the wall.

In principle, the same applies to art: Everything is a question of taste! Some advocate the one-picture-per-wall rule to avoid distractions. Others believe that this makes a picture look lost. They prefer the so-called "gallery wall", a wall covered with several pictures in different sizes.

It is necessary to look at each work of art carefully. Does the theme or the colour scheme in combination with the respective size make it so expressive that it really does not tolerate any other work next to it? Or do the colours and style fit together so well that several pictures complement each other wonderfully? Deliberate contrasts within a grouping of pictures can also be appealing. The frequent question as to which pictures can be combined can be answered easily: Everything is allowed!

You can even place your artworks next to each other on the floor and merely lean them against the wall. This can have a fantastic effect, especially in a long hallway. It is reminiscent of an artist's studio, where the pictures are arranged on the floor as well, and is a modern way of setting the scene, especially in flats with a spacious loft character.

Despite all the individuality, there are nevertheless a few empirical values that can offer guidance when hanging pictures:

General Guidelines: Height, Framing and Intensity

Particularly colour-intensive or expressive pictures should not be hung directly next to each other - regardless of their size - so as not to lose their effect. Subtle and strong motifs are the ideal mix to stand on their own, even in combination.

Finding the right height for a picture: place it at eye level. This way, you can perceive all the details. The recommended height varies between 145 cm and 150 cm from the floor to the centre of the picture. This approximate rule should also be observed when it comes to staircases. You should arrange the several pictures next to each other in a staircase-like manner.

Possible Hanging Methods - From Petersburg Hanging to Symmetrical Hanging

In museums, experts are responsible for arranging works of art in an exhibition according to a well-thought-out principle. There are several well-known hanging methods that leave nothing to chance but are aligned along certain lines:

Petersburg Hanging

The Petersburg hanging is named after its location, the Petersburg Hermitage, a famous art museum whose walls are lavishly hung with pictures. In this type of hanging, a correspondingly large number of pictures are distributed very closely and high on one wall. A certain symmetry is not observed here, but the ensemble should nevertheless appear harmonious in the end.

Edge-To-Edge Hanging

Systematically hang all pictures so that the centre of each picture follows an imaginary horizontal centre line, regardless of the picture format. A spirit level is an ideal aid.

Symmetrical Hanging

Even if symmetries are not immediately apparent, they still have a harmonious effect on the viewer. Hanging three or more pictures in different symmetrical ways is possible. Choose a horizontal and arrange the pictures above and below it. The same applies to a vertical.

Mathematical Formulas Provide a Harmonious Picture-To-Wall Ratio

Hanging pictures can be quite a science. There are some mathematical formulas and guidelines for calculating the exact hanging of a picture. Nevertheless, you need to remember that furnishings, the incidence of light or ceiling height can be additional factors by which the result must be adjusted.

Wall width multiplied by 0.57 = X. The pictures are centred here in the middle of the wall. The width of the hung pictures should not exceed the determined value X in total.

Works of art and pieces of furniture should not compete with each other under any circumstances. For walls behind sofas, a popular place for pictures, the following applies: Keep a distance of approx. 15-20 cm from the lower edge of the frame above the couch. In addition, it is ideal if the grouping of pictures or a single work of art is placed in the centre and does not take up more than two-thirds to a maximum of three-quarters of the width of the sofa.