Today I spent almost all day thinking about the best practices for 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 had been working on, and they fell in love. However, it was not the right size either!
So, we discussed 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 its best. That’s when I started investigating wall art hanging best practices.
First, when you hang art for an exhibition, it is typically hung with its center 60 inches from the floor. Turns out that for residential settings, this is the same. If you want it to be a focal point, 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 need to allow more room.
For hanging over furniture, whether 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.
When hanging an art installation, I typically make templates showing where to penetrate the wall with my hanging hardware. My pieces aren’t typically straight and may protrude from the wall with one end higher than the other, so I try not to add 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 a free app called “Wallary” that you can use to see pieces on a wall. I haven’t tested it out, but think it is a cool idea. It can feel daunting if you want to hang your piece with its center at 60 inches from the floor. 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.