Decorating Essentials: How to Hang Art


Most decorators agree that a room does not come alive until art is hung. The character, style, and soul of a space absolutely depends on what goes on the wall. (Not to mention what is left off!) That said, art is always a tricky thing to hang. Where to place it can be figured out much more readily when you remember one important thing: Art is meant to be seen.
Above, the grouping of drawings is organically hung above a cream antique sofa. Via Tom Scheerer.


When it comes to bold art, especially in terms of abstract paintings, hanging them in a prominent place with nothing else on the wall conflicting the eye is usually the most successful choice. Bunny Williams does this brilliantly in this golden yellow living room pictured above. Art that hangs over a piece of furniture should be close enough so that it feels apart of a single configuration.


This look of including abstract paintings within the context of a more traditionally appointed room was mastered by the great American master of decoration, Billy Baldwin. For more on this approach, read this interesting history lesson via Jeffery McCullough’s blog.


To a certain extent, there is an intuitive aspect to picture hanging. Don’t let it hang way, way up by the ceiling, and don’t let it hug the floor. And in terms of whether or not to go with an asymmetrical, salon style grouping (as shown above with Miles Redd’s bohemian, quite eclectic grouping of work) or a more traditional, symmetrical grid depends upon the nature of the room, not to mention the style you are trying to cultivate.


Is there anything better than groupings of botanicals hung in a grid-like style?



There’s an inherent visually pleasing quality that comes with symmetry. Above is a version of that with tulip prints sold at Kellogg, arranged in a grid. The result: a pleasant, almost serene aesthetic that is very livable.




Sometimes grouping art based on a similar quality or color palette works, making sure to hang them in a visually pleasing way that is specifically not a grid. The common mistake in this type of grouping happens when you hang art so that the tops align. Instead, arrange artwork so it shares a center line.
(image credits: Shown first is native Washingtonian Lucy Jenkin’s dining room with gold leaf framed botanicals surrounding an oil portrait of a family member)


Then, there is of course the art we display in a workspace, that is all about simply what inspires us. It’s hard not to be struck by this unique grouping that decorator Tom Scheerer has put together in his Manhattan office. Much of it are paintings he himself has made.
Bottom line: hang art in a way that will best allow you to enjoy it. And if your walls are bare, come to The Kellogg Collection to see what they offer.