How to hang an artwork: your easy guide for installing your new piece at home

Hanging your new artwork can seem daunting, but with these simple tips you'll be creating gallery-worthy displays in no time. Whether it's an original painting or a limited edition print, how you hang your art can often be as important as the art itself. Adding the pièce de résistance to your living space will require a little patience, some insider advice and a few tools. So, without further ado, here's how to hang your art like a pro. 

Measure your wall and art 

Experts at museums and art galleries recommend hanging artworks at eye-level, which is generally 57-60 inches from the ground to the centre of the piece. For the best visual impact, your artwork(s) should measure approximately 0.57 x the width of your wall. Your piece should also be at least two-thirds of the width of a fireplace or sofa. However, you may prefer to select your height by eye, particularly in a room where eye-level is not applicable (for instance you might want guests to enjoy art from an armchair or dining table) or you have many artworks in different shapes and sizes. A hanging partner will be useful for this! Many people also find it useful to align the top of the artwork frame with the top of a door frame.  

Prepare your space 

Before you to start to hang your art, make sure your chosen spot is clean and a safe distance from pipes and electrical wiring. Then assemble your tools: a tape measure, hammer, nails, spirit level and picture hooks. While most small artworks can be hung using one picture hook, larger artworks will require two (spaced 20-30cm apart, depending on size). It is advised that you always seek professional help for hanging heavier artworks, but if you'd prefer to do it yourself, you will also need large nails, wall-plug anchors, screws and a screwdriver or electric drill. If you are hanging on a brick wall, it is advised to use brackets. 

If you're concerned about marks on your walls, a picture rail - a rail or decorative moulding running horizontally around the room below the ceiling - is an excellent alternative, especially for rooms with plaster walls. Often seen in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian homes, this option allows you to customise your display using chains, wire or S-shaped hooks. We do not recommend using Velcro picture strips or adhesive hooks as they can loosen over time. 

Plan your design

Take the time to visualise how you would like to display your artwork: do you want one piece to take centre stage, or are you planning to mix and match? You can outline your chosen design on your wall in pencil, post-it notes or masking tape, or carefully lay them out on the floor to see what works. For medium and large-scale pieces, it is recommended that you leave 5-6 inches between each artwork, and for smaller works around 3-5 inches; however, this will depend on personal preference and how many artworks you are hanging.

Your artworks should also work with the existing features of your home décor, including lighting, furniture, radiators and soft furnishings. It is advisable to avoid natural light where possible to help protect the vivid colours; consider ceiling lights and spotlights instead. 

Keep it straight

Measure the distance from the ceiling to the top of the frame (get someone to hold it for you while you measure) and mark this point on the wall. Then turn the piece around and tug the string gently upwards to full tension, as gravity will pull the artwork down as it is hanging. Measure the difference between the peak of this and the top of the frame, and add this difference below the point on the wall. This is the line at which your picture hook(s) should be affixed with a hammer and nail. Hang your artwork and check it is straight using a spirit level. You are now an expert!

Get creative

Above all else, hanging your new artwork should be enjoyable. Don't be afraid to experiment with different locations: hanging art along your staircase can create a window effect, while in the kitchen it can add a pop of colour to plain walls and surfaces. Hanging styles can also transform the appearance of your space. Originating in 17th-century Paris, the 'salon wall' features artworks from different genres in contrasting shapes and sizes, meaning you can mix portraiture, floral, contemporary and classic art for a unique display that showcases your personality. For a more modern approach, you could take inspiration from the Bauhaus movement and dedicate an entire wall to a statement piece. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it feels special to you and your home. 

Behind the scenes at Castle Fine Art 

To make it easier for you to hang your new piece, each of our artworks will already be strung when you order online or collect from a gallery. Here's a quick peek at our team in action. 

Each of our artworks is hand-finished and expertly strung by our specialist team before they leave Castle HQ. Depending on the weight and size, they are fitted with D-ring or heavy-duty strap hangers and a moisture-resistant nylon string, along with felt pads on each of the corners to protect your walls. They are then carefully checked over by hand. You can see on the back of the artwork which member of our team looked after yours. 

Art installation service

If you'd like to enjoy your new artwork straight away, our friendly and knowledgeable specialist team can carefully deliver and install your artwork(s) in your chosen space via our art installation service. This includes: 

·  Full health and safety checks
·  Expertise on the positioning
·  Contact-free installation
·  Professional cleaning of artwork and removal of packaging

You can choose a two-hour window from Monday to Saturday to suit your schedule, and you'll also receive a courtesy call 30 minutes before our team arrives. Then you can sit back and relax, and we'll take care of everything else!

"There's no better feeling than seeing a collector happy with their new artwork. It is such a privilege to be able to see homes transformed by art every day."

Nick Cherrington

Shipping supervisor

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© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2021. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.

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