Arranging Pictures

I’ll be posting some lighting information within the next while. Bit busy in the workroom right now..

One of the most interesting picture walls I’ve seen was a compilation of about 60 pictures, all different subjects, all different sizes and frame styles that were displayed on a wall; covering the wall from the ceiling to the floor, wall to wall. What made the arrangement work is that each picture contained the exact same shade of blue. This is one of the keys of good picture arrangement: a commonality. In this case it was the blue, it could be the subject – all pictures of nature, or pictures of the dog , it could be the frame, it could be the color – all sepia toned for example. To unify an arrangement, there needs to be some reason for all the pictures to be together.

A client of mine was the keeper of the family photos. She had photos everywhere; every book shelf, every wall, every table top. The clutter this created finally got to her and she asked for help. We used the big piece of paper technique and hung all the pictures on the wall behind the sofa. A real rogues gallery. 10 years later she has changed the arrangement to accommodate new photos but the gallery is still the focal point of her living room and she is quite proud of it.

A few ‘guidelines’:

Just like picking an area rug, the picture arrangement shape takes its cue from the space it is going to occupy. A rectangular shape suggests a rectangular or oval arrangement, a square shape suggests a square or round arrangement.

The arrangement should never be wider than the object over which it is placed. If your sofa is 80 inches wide, the arrangement over it should not be more than 80 inches wide unless you increase the visual width of the sofa – with lamps on tables, or a large plant for example.

There needs to be at least one ‘suggested’ horizontal and vertical line.

The spaces between the pictures should be consistent.

I am often asked ‘How high do I hang pictures?’ You hang pictures so the center is at eye level. Will the person viewing the picture be sitting or standing? If there is one main picture in the grouping, place the horizontal center of it at a height where it will be viewed straight on. If you have a grouping on a dining room wall, this picture should be placed where the center will be on level with someone sitting at the table, if that is how it will be viewed. In a long hall arrangement the horizontal center should be placed for someone standing. If all the folks in your home are really tall, mount the pictures higher.

Here’s a guide to hanging pictures without any extra holes.

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