How To: Display Art

By Sklar Furnishings

Designer Tips and How to Guides

April 11, 2017

Art personalizes a home and expresses your unique character. There are however a few display pitfalls to avoid, including unflattering lighting, haphazard positioning, and environmental conditions that risk damage. We’ve assembled a few guidelines to help you display your framed art to its best advantage.

Lighting your art: Good lighting is essential to making your art look its best. Rather than settling for the existing light design in your home, add a few fixtures that exist solely to draw attention to your paintings. If you choose ceiling-mounted lights, the light should hit the center of the painting at an angle of 30 degrees, to prevent both long shadows (from too oblique an angle) and excessive glare (too direct). Other options include track lighting and wall washers that throw non-directed light across the entire surface where your art is hung. Finally, while white gallery walls are classic, with the right lighting a black background can really make your collection pop.

Displaying your art: Although well-coordinated frames are a good look, never feel that your art collection has to share a certain color palette; this is one area of the home where you can throw caution to the wind. You may opt for a salon wall with lots of art hanging at different heights, but if you’re only hanging a single frame or one straight row, remember to position it at eye height. According to a simple rule generally accepted by museums and galleries, the center of a painting should be 57 inches above the floor. Scale can be tricky, but if in doubt, go large. A small artwork hanging in the middle of a wall invariably looks off kilter; a really big piece is far more likely to look intentional.

Caring for your art: The major enemies of works on paper or canvas are heat, humidity and direct sunlight. Sunlight fades, while heat and humidity can both cause warping; all points to consider when choosing the perfect place to hang them. Avoid hanging art over heating vents, working fireplaces or radiators; steer clear of bathrooms or areas directly outside bathrooms where steam might escape; and never hang anything directly opposite a window. Asking your framer to use UV filtering Plexiglas will help further protect your art.

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