Guest Post: 5 Rules of Thumb for Hanging Art


Don Weaver, Red Chair, 2011

At UGallery, we know that once you’ve decided to buy a piece of art your next question is: where and how do I hang it? 

We recently tapped into the expertise of interior designer Tobi Fairley to get the best tips for hanging art.

Tobi founded her design firm more than 15 years ago and shares her insider secrets through consultations, blog post, videos and workshops. Her designs have been featured in prominent publications from Better Homes and Gardens to Southern Living.

In collaboration with creativeLIVE and House Beautiful, she will be hosting a workshop in San Francisco on Function-Driven Interior Design from March 24 to 26.

You can be a part of the live audience! Submit your information here by March 1st at midnight (PST) for a chance to be in-studio during the workshop.

In the meantime, check out her five rules for hanging art. Happy decorating!


Jonelle Summerfield, Cafe Hawelka IV, 2013

5 Rules of Thumb for Hanging Art, from interior designer Tobi Fairley

Use these simple rules to create a functional interior design when hanging art:

1. When selecting a frame for art, coordinate it with the art, not the room. Frames should complement the artwork and allow it to be a focal point of the interior design.

2. If the work comes with a wire on the back, use a picture hanger and a nail of the appropriate weight. If there is not a wire and the art is heavy, you’ll need a picture hanger on each side to balance the weight. And while I love a Command strip for hanging temporary or very light pieces, never hang important or heavier framed items from them. I’ve seen too many people ruin great art that way.

3. Framing and hanging a group, series, or collection of art can be time consuming, but it makes a statement. When hanging the group, think of the collection as one large piece, then place the center of the group 60 to 66 inches from the floor. Also, in most cases, allow no more than 4 inches between individual pieces in a pairing or grouping.

4. Mixing styles and media in a room, or even in one group, can work beautifully. Try to group pieces that have a common thread, such as subject matter, the medium, the color palette, or the period. And be sure that the frames match or complement one another.

5. When hanging art over furniture, place everything close together so it looks cohesive when you enter a room. A good rule of thumb is to allow 6 inches or less between the art and the top of the furniture. Of course, use your judgement so people won’t hit their heads or knock into art when they sit or stand.