Ask The Expert: Placing Artwork in Your Home

Fall is the perfect time for undertaking a little home refreshening, and those goes for the inside as well as the yard. Whether you’re re-doing the interior of a new home or trying to to put a new spin on your old one, artwork can play a pivotal role in defining the look and feel. But what to hang? And where? And why? No worries. Allegra Dioguardi, President of Styled and Sold, is here to help.

Allegra Dioguardi, President of Styled and Sold
Allegra Dioguardi, President of Styled and Sold

The Question: We recently repainted the interior of our home. After re-working the furniture arrangement we put it all back into place and are very pleased with our “new look.” We have collected a few nice pieces of art over the years and the last step is to re-hang them. Before we do, are there any “tricks of the trade” as far as how to place artwork that you could share to achieve that “designer look?”

The Answer from Allegra Dioguardi of Styled and Sold: Great question! Good artwork placement can be the icing on the cake. When placed correctly, art can contribute to a polished and professionally designed look. When hanging artwork you must consider several factors; size/scale of the pieces, subject matter and color. The most common mistakes people make is hanging art that is too small and spread too far apart as well as hanging pieces in the same room that are not compatible with one and other.

A good rule of thumb when determining the correct size and scale of artwork needed is, art placed over an object such as a sofa, a bed, a mantle etc. should span between 1/3 and 3/4 of the length of whatever it is hung over. If it spans less than 1/3 of whatever it is hung over- it will appear too small. When placing art on an unencumbered wall, such as in a hallway, the art should span about 1/3 to 1/2 of the space. Be bold; don’t be intimidated by larger scale art.

Start by hanging your most impressive artwork on a focal wall (the first and most important wall you see upon entering a room) whenever possible.  Utilizing pieces in the same room that have a common denominator such as subject matter (nature, portraits, animals etc.), color story, frame style or style of art (contemporary, abstract etc) will help tie it all together. Please note, you probably only need one commonality so that it all looks like it belongs together. Have fun mixing up art that you love. Once you are proficient and get the hang of placing art go with your instincts and remember that in design, “ All rules are meant to be broken.”

Pairs of prints and groups of threes and fours are great for creating impact. Pairs should be hung close together, 2 to 4 inches apart for the strongest effect. Hanging artwork further apart and will appear under-scaled and just screams “I don’t have enough art, so I’m spreading it out!” (Better to have one or two walls done correctly!)  On volume walls or walls with high ceilings, utilizing groupings of artwork will help to draw the eye upward and accentuate the volume.

When hanging a grouping of artwork, lay it out on the floor first and arrange it until it’s pleasing and has achieved some balance. I like to incorporate mirrors, decorative plates, brackets, shutters and iron pieces to expand a grouping. You are only limited by your imagination.

Looking for assistance hanging art in your own home or have other home redesign questions? You can visit Allegra Dioguardi of Styled and Sold at or call her at 631-599-1297. And you can always send your House & Home questions to us here at [email protected].

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