Tips for using artwork in your home

One thing I’ve noticed with my clients over the years is that most of them at some stage say to me, “I have this great piece of art but…” and then they proceed to tell me one of the following reasons why it is not hung:

  • “I don’t know how to hang art.”
  • “I am not sure what height to hang it at.”
  • “I don’t know where it goes.”
  • “I don’t know whether it goes with my other art.”

That’s just to mention a few.

Here are a few pointers to help you be more confident in using the art you have around your home and even creating some yourself.

1. Hang at eye level

Around 99% of my clients hang their art at the wrong height, usually far too high, which means you don’t get the chance to admire it as it was intended.

Germany, Bavaria, Munich, Picture frame hanging on wall with flower vase and telephone on shelf

The correct height to hang art is at eye level, with the average eye height being approximately 160cm from the ground for an adult.

With large pieces, remember to hang the centre of the piece at eye height, not the bottom of it.

Get the most out of your art by making sure it’s hung at eye level.

2. Get creative with framing

The ‘mat board’ and frame can have a big effect on the overall appeal of the piece, so before you throw a piece out for charity thinking it doesn’t work in your home, consider what it might be like framed differently.

Start by removing it from the frame and taking a fresh look at it.

You can refresh a piece with a new frame, or unleash hidden character in a piece by adding an older, interesting frame.

3. Use art to accentuate the room

If you have beautiful tall ceilings, use art to draw your eyes upwards by hanging one piece on top of the other, rather than the more traditional way of side by side.

Use ornate detail to embellish or highlight art pieces, and vice versa. Choose art that brings out the best of the room, and can help mask the less inspiring elements of a room.

4. Mix & match

Don’t be afraid to hang different shape, size and colour images together on a wall. Your pieces don’t have to be perfectly matching.

When this is the case, use another element to unify the display, such as:

  • Using frames all the same colour
  • Use frames all the same size (but maybe different styles)
  • Using frames in the same profile (all landscape, for example).

5. Don’t confine yourself to walls

Who said art belongs on walls?

Think outside the box and use art at different eye levels within the home, and on different surfaces. For example, you could lean a frame on a hall table or sideboard with smaller decorative pieces or books at its base; or hang a small piece on the side or front of a large bookshelf.

6. Make sure your art is lit correctly

This doesn’t mean you have to install gallery lighting all over your home, but be conscious of the lighting around your art.

Some art will only shine when light dances onto its surface in the correct way and the beauty or detail of your favourite piece could get lost if it’s catching some rays.

7. Explore the homemade

Having art in your home is all about having things you love around you. Your collection doesn’t have to feature Blake or Dobell prize winners. Your art can be homemade, handmade and often simple.

Some great ideas are:

  • Frame up your favourite gift card
  • Find some patterned wrapping paper you love and frame it up
  • Use treasures you find as art, like leaves from a holiday, trinkets from a charity store or even quirky art you create yourself.

Never be afraid to have some fun and experiment with art and images in your home.

Art doesn’t have to be all about bright white galleries and expensive pieces. Instead, it can be all about you, and helping you create a home you love to spend time in.

Originally published as Tips for using artwork in your home by Naomi Findlay. Author at