An open wall or bare tabletop is a canvas just waiting for your photos and pictures to light it up. But before you start randomly pounding in nails and hooks, take some time to plan out the best approach for displaying your treasures.
1. Group similar photographs, framed prints and other artwork. Create a relationship among a variety of pieces. For instance, put black-and-white portraits together in one grouping, modern art pieces in another, and landscapes in yet another. Arranging pictures and photos around a theme brings purpose to an open space. Use an odd number of items on walls or tabletop groupings to create balance (unless you have just two pieces).
2. Choose frames that complement each other. A multitude of frame styles is distracting and detracts from the arrangement.
3. Cut out templates in brown craft paper for each piece in a group (if you’re hanging pictures on the wall) and label them to identify the item they represent.
4. Arrange a group’s templates on an open wall, securing them with masking tape. Start with the largest piece in the center and then, working out to the sides, add smaller pieces. As a guide for spacing, allow no more than a hand’s width between pieces in a group. Expand above and below as the space and number of items allow.
5. Continue adding and moving template pieces until you find the desired balance. Avoid hanging all items in a straight line. Varying heights add interest to the sight lines.
6. Line up the horizontal center of each group or of an individual piece so that it is at eye level on the wall. Average eye level falls between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches. For homes with people of greatly varying heights, find the midpoint between the eye level of the tallest and shortest persons. You can also drop the centerline 1 to 2 feet in areas where the admirers will mostly be seated, as in a living room.
7. Choose hanging hardware strong enough to support the weight of each item (look on the hook’s package for weight limitations) and suitable for the type of wall you have. Use two hooks when hanging heavy or wide items. Use specialty hangers designed for brick walls instead of drilling directly into brick or mortar. If you live in an earthquake-prone zone, take special care in hanging large and/or heavy items. Consult a professional for choosing appropriate hardware and techniques.
Arranging pictures and photos vertically makes a room seem higher. Likewise, horizontal arrangements make a room seem wider.
When hanging items on a papered wall, cut a small V through the wallpaper using a utility blade. Lift the V and drive the nail in underneath. If you move the picture or photo later, glue the wallpaper flap down again and no one will be the wiser.
Frame black and white pictures in all black or all white frames for a striking, classic arrangement..