The Art of Buying, Framing and Hanging Artwork

Sep 2, 2020 | Artwork

Have you ever walked into a person’s home and felt like you stepped into an art gallery? Their walls look well planned, the artwork is spaced perfectly and the pictures/photographs are grouped together perfectly. Then you go home and look at your walls–bare in spaces, a jumble of different frames and some pictures that move every time you shut the door. How do you start to fix a room that looks like a jumble or how do you start from scratch to have walls that will make you the envy of your family and friends?

First, remember that art should compliment a room, not compete with other pieces in it. If you have pieces that have busy patterns like a rug, curtains or upholstery then selecting a large piece of artwork for a wall is a better choice than hanging a gallery grouping. Find ways to incorporate sentimental pieces throughout your living space to make your home your own. If you really like paintings but have a print budget, look for descriptions like “giclee” or “artist enhanced.” These terms describe techniques that resemble brush strokes. If you buy a less expensive print, don’t scrimp on the framing. A quality frame and matting can make all of the difference. Frames can be an investment, but one that is well worth it. A good quality frame will last longer and can take a basic piece from good to great. There are many custom framing companies out there and there are also some chain stores that offer framing services. Shop around for the best deal and make sure to ask about the return policy if the piece does not turn out the way you want. Several retailers that offer framing service will redo matting at no charge.

Not sure where to find unique pieces? Try a local design shop or gallery. You can also take to the internet! Here are some great sites to help you find unique pieces that fit your style:,,,, or visit thrift stores and flea markets. Still at a loss? Hire a designer to assist you to pick out great pieces that fit your style.

Another thing to consider is the location of the piece that you are hanging when you are looking at framing options. If the piece is going to be across from a window, you may want to consider matte paper or not using glass to cut down on glare.

Once you have bought and framed your art or selected the perfect family pictures to hang, you need to figure out how to arrange them. Gallery walls with several pieces are very popular right now. Some planning and time invested before you start hanging your pictures can help keep it from looking too jumbled. First, make sure that you have a piece that will be a strong focal point. Use this as your anchor piece and build out from it. The artwork that you choose should have some type of common theme to pull it all together–whether that be a style of frame, a color scheme or style of art. Trace out the frames on paper and then arrange the cutouts on the wall. Stand back and stand in various locations of the room and see how the wall flows. It is much easier to adjust paper than actual pieces. Have a few people look at your arrangement and give you feedback. Try to have different sizes and shapes of frames to add that extra touch. If you are still struggling, utilize the internet and search for different ideas for layouts.

Before you hang your pictures, make sure that you have the correct hardware for your project, as well as tools. Painter’s tape to map out your final arrangement, stud finder and level. A good tip for hanging a picture is to put a piece of painter’s tape across the back and mark where the hardware should go. This helps to eliminate guesswork and avoid having several holes in the wall. Double sided foam sticky tape or other removable wall adhesives are good for putting along a couple of edges to keep your artwork from moving.

Using the tips and tricks above you can have a gallery worthy wall in no time!


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