Tackling the burden of getting it right the first time.
Installing artwork can be a frustrating endeavor. After spending so much time selecting an artist, an image and a color palette, the final step is installing artwork in your home. This last step can often be the most exhausting. I have spoken to so many people who confess to having artwork sitting in closets or leaning against walls waiting for it to hang itself. Sometimes it’s the fear of getting it wrong or to put a hole in a freshly painted wall. I hope I can give you some tips to feel confident the next time your ready to hang your next treasure.
Supplies: Hammer, hook and nail hangers, step ladder, tape measure, pencil, maybe extra set of hands to juggle supplies and give an opinion
Find the center point of the wall you want to hang the art. Take into consideration the furniture in the room. If the piece is being hung over a couch, but its not centered on the wall, then center it over the couch. Don’t assume you can eye it, that usually doesn’t work out in the end. Measure the couch, divide in half, but then add the space between the edge of the wall and the couch. This will allow you to mark the wall from the wall edge and over to find the center point over the couch. Often, the couch’s longest measurement is not the part of the couch that is just below where you plan to hang the art. Sometimes, other objects make the artwork install off centered. It’s always best to have help and hold the image in several locations and heights to be sure if the best position.
Most museums recommend installing art that has the center of the image 60 inches above the floor. That is a good place to start, but doesn’t always work. For most of my installations, I will hold the artwork up to a wall and the center is usually just above my sight line. Then I will ask the client what makes them feel best viewing the image. It’s usually best to hang a bit higher then you might initially consider. Nothing is worse then hanging art too low. It’s best to view with slightly raised eyes.
Once the painting is at the height desired, take a pencil and lightly mark just below the edge of the artwork. Be sure it’s a light mark so you can easily erase once complete. This is your starting point to hang the artwork. Hopefully, you have marked directly below your center mark on the wall.
Set the artwork on the floor and measure from the bottom edge to the wire hanger. Be sure the wire is raised taunt, just as if it was on the wall hook. With this measurement, mark this amount above the line you marked as the bottom of the image. You may have to adjust the mark’s placement the appropriate amount from the edge of the wall if you didn’t mark your spot near the center of the wall.
It is very important you use the appropriate hook and nail size for the weight of the artwork. If the art weighs 50 pounds, the hook should be able to hold 100 pounds. Always use twice the strength of the art’s weight. Also, if it is a large painting, I usually use two hooks, about 6 inches apart, level, and placed at the appropriate height. This helps keep the image from moving if a door is slammed or object in nearby space is dropped, causing a vibration.
Once you mark the center of the two measurements, using a hook and nail, hammer into the wall with the bottom of the hook sitting one the mark. This assures you are hanging the artwork on exact spot, not where the nail is place. The artwork rests in the hook, not the top of the nail.
At this point, you are done installing artwork. You may have to adjust one or the other corner to level the painting. Good luck!