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Wall Installation Size & Hanging Guidelines

Today I spent almost all day thinking about the best practices to hang wall installations.  This all came about because I just got a commission piece for a large nook in someone’s home.  Our clients came to see the piece they had picked out online, but it was not the right size for their space.  Then they saw a wall sconce I have been working on and they fell in love.  However, it was not the right size either!

So, we talked through their space size and location, what they liked about the current design, and decided on their ideal dimensions.  Then I started thinking about hanging the piece and the space it needed to look it’s best.  That’s when I started investigating wall art hanging best practices.

First of all, when you hang art for an exhibition it is typically hung with its center 60 inches from the floor.  Turns out for residential settings this is the same.  If you are wanting it to be a focal point then there must be open space around it.  The guideline is at least 3-6 inches of space on all sides.  But, if you have a really beautiful piece of art and there is not a companion piece then you really need to allow more room.  

For hanging over furniture, whether it is a sofa, chair or even a mantle the recommendation is to have the art take up at least 75% of the width of the furniture.  So if you have a six foot sofa, your wall installation should be about 54 inches wide.  For hanging over furniture you want to install the art so that the base is about 6-12 inches above the top of the furniture.  

When hanging an art installation I typically make templates showing where I need to penetrate the wall with my hanging hardware.  My pieces aren’t typically straight and they may protrude from the wall with one end higher than the other, so I try not to add any more tension to them than is needed.  Sometimes, even with templates I end up with an extra penetration.  That can be very frustrating, especially if you are installing a piece for one of your clients.

Deciding what to purchase and where to install it is sometimes  a major concern.  There’s an app that’s free called “Wallary” that you can supposedly use to see pieces on a wall.  I haven’t tested it out, but think it is a cool idea.  If you are wanting to hang your piece with it’s center at 60 inches from the floor it can feel daunting.  However if you just divide the height of the piece by 2, then subtract the distance from the top of the piece to the hanging hardware and add 60 you will get the appropriate height.  Then just remember that once you look at where the boundaries of the piece extend you may have to move that around a little.  After all best practices are just guidelines.

Happy Hanging!

Enriching lives through artistic self-expression.

Sally Pennington Moore
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