Hanging your painting: how and where?

If you are considering buying a painting, then of course you will be thinking about what it will be like. But also consider where you want it.


Not only do you know about the colours and atmosphere in the painting, but you also have an idea of the size. The rule here is that the piece must stand out. A tiny painting on an otherwise empty wall can be very special in a museum, yes, but you don't live there. So you can choose a reasonable size - and your taste as well as the room determine what is reasonable. Keep in mind what is in front of the wall: chairs, tables, benches, lamps: the painting must fit in. There must be sufficient freedom to view (room). If you cannot move the furniture, it means that you have to alter the size.

1. Portrait or landscape
A wide painting above a wide sofa (or wide sideboard) gives a certain calm to the artwork and to the room - especially if all objects are in horizontal format. But of course it has to suit your taste! If you want to create a certain tension, hang your painting partly offset from the sofa or sideboard! You shatter the balance by doing this, but you can restore it using another item of furniture or object.

2. Balanced - or not?
Portrait or landscape is also a question that needs answering in advance. If you have high ceilings, then portrait format will work well. If you have a wide sofa, a landscape painting will generally fit better. But don't hang it right above the sofa so you hit the object with your head. A landscape painting fits well and naturally above a wide sofa. A painting offset from an item of furniture can be great. A lamp can provide balance here.

3. Large space? A small painting with a large frame is also an option!
By the way, don't forget the frame when thinking about the size. A somewhat smaller painting with a solid, attractive frame can achieve the preferred size exactly. Make sketches beforehand of a canvas with a wide frame, or a painting without a frame - you will soon see what the effect is and which you like best. Those sketches also come in handy when looking for the right spot (and it makes a lot of difference with the real painting). A large painting fits perfectly on a large wall, but you can make a smaller painting large using a solid frame!

EXTRA If the painting is hung on a textured background, a larger frame gives it calm.

4. Hang it at eye level - when sitting or standing?
A rule of thumb is that you hang the painting at eye level: if you look straight at the piece, your gaze will land in the middle. The deciding factor is whether you view your painting when sitting or when standing. And that is determined by the room.

In the living room the painting may be hung a little lower if you can view it better! You almost always view a painting in the dining room while seated. So do not hang it too high - especially if the room is not large (you should always be looking up). This also applies to the living room.

EXTRA Take into account the height of your position (sitting or standing) when viewing the painting. Make sure that the top of your painting is no higher than 2 metres off the floor.

5. Try different sizes
Once you have started sketching, you will see more and more options. Why should a painting always hang on an empty wall above a sofa? Look at your furniture and the objects in your house, and play around with the sizes. A large painting above a wide cupboard, with a lamp on either side, opens the wall up, as if it were a window. Even though it might seem very busy, the painting draws attention and balance comes from the almost symmetrical arrangement.

Experiment! A painting above a dresser with two lamps might seem busy, but the symmetry still brings calm and balance. There is also harmony with paintings that reinforce height. A desk defines the horizontal line.

EXTRA Line the top, bottom or side of the frames up along an (imaginary) line. This makes it look more organized and a lot more spacious.