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Hanging Pictures - vol 08-05

You’ve selected a beautiful piece of art to complement your interior. Now it's time to hang it. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid hanging one small picture on a huge expanse of wall - art looks better when it seems to extend the lines of furniture, windows or doorways.
  • Decide where to hang the artwork, keeping in mind the type of feel you'd like your room to have. The way in which you hang art can make a big difference. Smaller pieces hung together will overwhelm a small room. However, grouping multiple pieces in a larger room adds interest. The right piece of art also makes nooks and crannies more warm and inviting.
  • Art tends to look best when it seems to extend the lines of furniture, windows or doorways, or when several small pieces are grouped together.
  • Sketching the wall, furniture, and artwork on graph paper beforehand can help you decide where to hang your art by allowing you to visualize the final room and by conveying the size and the scale of the pieces you are working with.
  • Large pictures look best centered over sofas or consoles. They are meant to be the focal point of the room and work well within a large expanse of wall space. Allow 4 to 5 inches from the top of a sofa, slightly higher for a console.
  • Also be aware that how you display your art is as personal a statement as the work itself. For example, you may want to hang a painting where it’s visible to you when seated in your favorite reading chair.
  • Once you’ve decided where you’d like to hang your art, measure to find the center of the piece. Allow for the drop of wire, and make a mark on the wall where you will put the hanger.
  • Use more than just nails. Choose an appropriate hook. You might want a two-piece nail-and-hook, or a one-piece hook with a disk that keeps the straight part from going completely through the wall. Heavier art should be hung with a hollow-wall anchor. A picture hook will protect your walls and bear the weight of the picture. If this sounds confusing, the easiest thing to do is purchase a picture hanging kit at your local hardware store. It contains everything you need to hang your art.
  • ou can prevent the plaster or drywall from cracking by placing a piece of Scotch tape on the wall where you will insert the hook.
  • If your artwork is larger than 8" x 10", use 2 hooks to hang the piece. This helps it remain balanced by distributing the weight evenly. Use a carpenters level to determine where the hooks should be placed. Your painting will remain straight without constant vigilance.
  • If your artwork is particularly heavy and you are hanging it on drywall only, you may want to use a stud or beam to hang your art. A stud is a slender wood or metal vertical structure that is placed as a supporting element in a wall. However, your standard nail and anchor hook that comes in a picture framing kit will suffice.
  • Nail the picture hook into the wall where you've made a mark and carefully place the artwork on the wall, catching the wire on the hook. Straighten, step back, and enjoy.

Now that you have bought your art, you want to enjoy it. But how do you protect your investment and guarantee its preservation? We would like you to enjoy your art for years to come. Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help conserve your fine artwork and maintain the integrity of its original state.

  • Keep your art away from direct sunlight, as anything that will fade your carpet will fade your art. Be careful not to let direct sunlight shine on your art.
  • Hang your art in neutral climates, away from excessive humidity or dryness. Too much moisture can cause mats and prints to buckle or mold over time. Extreme dryness can also unfavorably affect the artwork.
  • Framing your artwork adds to the life of your art. Be sure to ask for 100% conservation materials when framing your art, such as cotton-rag mat board and acid-free backings. This combination results in the best long-term protection of your art.
  • Keep an eye out for pollutants and contaminants in the environment. Art is just as susceptible to environmental damage as we are.
  • Check your framed artwork about every 6 months, front and back, for signs of damage such as cracking and molding. There are paper conservators who may be able to repair any damage that has been done and help you with preventative maintenance for the future.
  • Do not spray cleaner of any kind directly onto the framed piece. Rather, spray cleaner onto a cloth and then apply it to the glass or Plexiglas.
  • If you are a renter, you may want to consider purchasing Renter’s Insurance. Landlords have insurance for the apartment building itself, but this does not cover your personal belongings within the building. Renter’s Insurance would cover the value of your artwork should anything happen to it.
  • If you are a homeowner, be assured that your artwork is included in your Homeowner’s Insurance. However, it is a good idea to take out a rider for artwork valued over $2,500.