How to Hang Artworks

February 2 / 2021 by Kennedy Contemporary

You’ve purchased a work of art - congratulations! How do you hang it?

Hanging an artwork can be incredibly simple for most spaces. Although it can be intimidating to pick up the hammer and nail, not hiring a professional installer can save you money (that you can spend on your next art purchase). Professional installation is primarily necessary for tricky wall finishes (like stone, brick, or tile) or difficult spaces that are hard to reach (like a stairwell or high mantle). For straightforward installation, follow these simple steps:

  1. Look at the back of the artwork. Are there D-rings? A wire? Or a sawtooth hanger? D-rings and Sawtooth hangers will require more precision in hanging, whereas a wire gives more flexibility for error. How heavy is the artwork? Galleries will often advise on how many nails are required, but for smaller pieces hung on wire a single nail will be enough. 

  2. Find the center of the wall. Measure from each end of the wall or space. If there is a light switch, consider that as one of the edges as it creates the illusion of symmetry. Once you’ve found the center of the wall, mark the point halfway up (about eye height) with a pencil. 

  3. Do some math. If you are hanging an artwork for an area where no furniture (bed, couch, credenza, etc.) will be beneath it, the general rule of thumb is to have the middle of the artwork be at 60” inches (about eye level).

  4. Divide the height of the artwork in two. If the height is 40” inches, then half is 20” inches.

  5. Add 60” inches. 20” + 60” inches = 80” inches

  6. Subtract the “nail height.” Or how far down the nails or D-rings are from the top of the paintings. This will usually be about 5-10” inches. So 80” - 5” inches.

  7. Hammer your nail at 75” inches from the floor in the middle of the wall. This will put the center of the artwork at 60” inches.

  8. Step back and take a look. Does it look a bit too high, or too low for the space? It doesn’t hurt to revise - take off the painting and fit the nail slightly high or lower.

Congratulations - you’ve hung a piece of art! You’ve earned yourself a celebratory glass of wine.

Stressed or overwhelmed by this process? No need to worry - call or text Kennedy Contemporary and we would be happy to help.