Expert Eye: What’s In A Hang?

HANGING A WORK IS CRITICAL TO ITS EFFECT IN A SPACE. STYLIST JULIA GREEN PROVIDES HER  TOP FIVE TIPS ON HANGING, FRAMING AND STYLING THE ART IN YOUR HOME.

Art often comes with a backstory. It may be the place it was purchased, the meaning behind a piece gifted to you for a significant occasion, or the person who gifted it. It may be the colours that make you feel happy, or simply the anticipation as you wait for the right piece from an artist you have long admired before it finally ends up on your walls.

Either way, art is a powerful storyteller, adding depth and unique meaning to one’s home, layering it with soul and personality.

Once you find the right piece, there are some practicalities that need to be considered. Where to hang it, at what height, the size and its impact on a wall, to frame it or not to frame it, are just some things to take into account.

Here I explore some of these practicalities, to help you make good considered art purchases, and feel confident to know how to make them sing on your own walls.

TIP 1 / SCALE

Scale is important. Hanging your artwork in a place that feels proportionate will make it feel right. For instance, a tiny piece placed on a huge wall, may lose its effect and feel lost in space.

You can always use masking tape to measure up where the piece will hang before you take a hammer and nail to the wall. Or you could try Greenhouse Interiors’ free 3D art app that will place the work on your own walls to size, scale and depth, so that you can see exactly what it looks like before taking it home.

TIP 2 / HEIGHT

Remember to hang the work at eye height. Too high or too low may ruin the effect you intended your artwork to have. There is no point hanging the piece too high, as you will only crank your neck and find yourself gazing at the ceiling way too often!

TIP 3 / FRAMING

If you purchase an art print in a tube, you will need to consider your framing options. One of Melbourne’s premier framers, Cath Stocks from Framing to A T, sums it up beautifully: “Investing in your art to last a lifetime is so important. Regardless of the value, we always recommend quality conservation framing. Quality museum and conservation framing materials and techniques will ensure your art piece, photograph or objects are preserved and protected from damage or fading.”

Canvas prints look best stretched, and finished with a shadow box frame. You can choose any colour frame, but I find the most popular to be Victorian Ash, or a light timber due to their neutrality.

TIP 4 / GROUPING

Don’t be afraid to cluster your artwork with others if you like a gallery hang look and feel. Make your puzzle of art on the floor to ensure visual harmony with the sizes and shapes before taking hammer to wall. Gallery wall hangs lend themselves to an eclectic mix of styles, but can also be unified via a colour thread. I personally love to mix abstract art with graphic works, as I work to the mantra of opposites attract.

Another effective way to hang multiple works is for them to share a shadow line, i.e. the top of all artworks, regardless of their shape and size, are at the same height. This gives a sense of uniformity to a collection, even if their styles are poles apart.

TIP 5  / LIGHTING

Lighting is important when it comes to art. Where possible, it’s great to have natural light interact with the work, but that is not always possible. Lighting can make for a dramatic effect, and highlight works of significance. Considering the backdrop is something else worth thought. The colour of the wall you are hanging the work on, can play an important role of highlighting it, or accentuating certain colours.

Slim Aarons artworks supplied and framed by FRAMING TO A T FRAMERS & DESIGNERS. Styling by Julia Green for Greenhouse Interiors, assisted by Aisha Chaudhry and Jessica Retallack. Photography by Armelle Habib assisted by Edwina Hollick.

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