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How to choose and hang art

I can’t remember the exact year I bought my first piece of original art, but it was around 2007 or 2008. I was sitting in a café and there was an art exhibition. Opposite to where I was sitting there was a piece called ‘Shadow Lady’ on the wall. This piece of art resonated with me and I bought it. I support my clients in their art purchases too. Art can make or break a space so how do you choose and hang art.

Style of art

As you probably know there are different interior design styles. For example, French Provincial, Scandinavian and so on. The same is true for art. There are different styles of art. For example, portraits, abstract, surrealism. Some art is also categorised by the period it was painted such as Renaissance art.

If you don’t know what style of art you like, have a look at my favourite online art suppliers such as Bluethumb and Saatchiart. Just browse the different categories and make a note of anything that catches your eye.

While I like to buy art that gives me a strong emotional reaction, as a newbie, write down why you like a particular piece. Is it the colour, the imagery, the patterns, or how it makes you feel?

By doing this you will start to see patterns in your preferences. For example, I like images of women. Shadow Lady is an image of a classically styled woman. Think Hollywood actresses from the 1940s and 1950s. She’s looking out the window, with a pensive look, with red lips and red nails.

how to choose art

I have two other pieces of striking women. I also like photography, and I have an abstract piece as well. Visit galleries and follow artists on Instagram and slowly learn what kind of art style you like.


Once you have bought a piece of art it makes sense that you’ll want to display it proudly in your home. Some art can only be hung in either a portrait or landscape orientation.

But some art can be hung in both orientations, for example abstract art. Some art can be grouped together to create an orientation.

For example, a series or triptych can be hung in a portrait or landscape direction. What’s important is having art that’s the right size or proportion to the wall.

So, you would not hang a singular piece of art in a portrait orientation on a wide wall above a sofa. But you could hang three pieces of the same sized portrait piece to make a landscape direction.

Having the right piece on the right wall, is as important as choosing art in the first place.

Singular or Vignette

Some art is so special that it needs to be hung by itself and take centre stage. This is how I’ve hung most of my art. But I have also made a vignette (below). Where I have grouped five pieces together.

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For me the vignette works because all the pieces of art share the same colour. In this instance it’s the colour blue and brown. So, while the pieces are different styles for example, a photographic print, with a mosaic piece, they work together due to the colour.

You can do this too by creating a theme. The theme might be florals, a colour, travel, even family photos. When you have a few pieces of art you might find a pattern in your choices that makes an interesting vignette.

An interesting vignette is enhanced by different coloured fames, unframed prints, canvas art and other objects, for example mirror or a mask.

Hanging art

I’ll admit I’m not ‘handy’ so while there are many how to hang art videos I just go with my gut. And yes, it’s not perfect but I’m ok with that and I think my art looks good on my walls.

Check You Tube for how to hang art videos but there is also this guide from Apartment Therapy.

Step By Step:

1. Measure and lightly mark 145cm on the wall
2. Measure artwork and divide by 2 (this gives you the centre)
3. Measure top of your picture to the tightened wire (a small amount)
4. Subtract “tight wire” amount from 1/2 height amount for the “to the hook” amount. This will tell you how far above 145cm your hook should go
5. Lightly mark wall just above 145cm with the “to the hook” amount 

For more information and a short video click here.

Specifying art for clients

Some of my clients want me to specify art for them but I resist. The reason why I resist choosing art for my clients is because art is a personal choice. Art does not need to reflect the interior style of a space. But it should reflect your personal preferences.

While I share ideas for art with my clients, it’s more to help them make a sound, heart felt decision about what art they want in their own home that tells their own design story.

Past clients have loved abstracts, nudes, portraits, floral motifs, travel inspired art and other styles.

Art like my clients’ tastes, preferences and life experiences are so varied. The art in your home should reflect you and add an interesting talking point into the space.

So often art is the one singular piece that individualises a space and makes a space my clients’ own. Art is a wonderful opportunity to add interest, colour, pattern and mood to your space. Therefore, I encourage everyone to embrace art, because there is art for everyone no matter what your budget is.

This is my latest piece it speaks to the digitisation of beauty and how beauty can disintegrate. It’s really interesting and some people love it, some people hate it and some don’t have an opinion and that the beauty of how to choose art.

how to choose art