Picture perfect – how to arrange wall art beautifully

Get the hang of displaying wall art at home with our tips and tricks for putting up pictures

Above a sofa
When hanging artwork, a general rule of thumb is that the centre of the image should be at eye-level. In rooms where people are usually sitting down – such as a living room or dining room – eye-level will be at a seated position so artwork should be hung a little lower. Roughly one hand width above a sofa is a good way of gauging the right height.

In symmetry
Wall art displayed in even numbers, such as a pair or a foursome, looks best when it’s hung in a symmetrical arrangement and part of a larger geometrical shape, such as a square or a rectangle. Use identical frames and mounts for a unified look and keep the spacing in between pictures narrow so that they appear part of a group rather than in isolation.

Create a focalpoint
A random assortment of pictures and frames can work well together, but it’s always a good idea to have some sort of unifying theme, shape or colour to link them. Start by positioning the most prominent piece centrally and at eye level and then work outward with smaller pieces.

Stagger a display
If you have an assortment of artwork and family photographs that you want to display together, try a staggered arrangement displayed on a narrow picture shelf. This works well if you have lots of pictures in different shapes and sizes – just keep to similar frames, colours or mounts. Start with the largest frames first, working down to the smallest, overlapping as you go to fill in any gaps.

Try three in a row
A trick that stylists often use when they’re putting a scheme together is the rule of three, where odd-numbered groupings look more natural and work better together than even-numbered – this can work with objects, colours, fabrics, shapes and wall art. Keep the arrangement strictly symmetrical for best effect, with pictures hung horizontally three-in-a-row and spaced evenly apart.

Mix and match
Try a more relaxed arrangement and group artwork and other favourite things together on a shelf or mantelpiece rather than hung up on a wall – this allows you to change the display more easily and you can add to it with newer finds as and when. Start by propping your largest pictures against the wall first, layering tall items behind short ones to create an interesting backdrop and filling in gaps here and there with smaller ornaments and postcards.

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