Use size, theme, balance to create art galleries

DEAR GAIL: I just moved into a new home and have no idea how to hang my artwork. I bought everything to fit in specific places in my last house and now nothing works. Where do I start? — Lynn Ann

DEAR LYNN ANN: This is a question I get a lot. It’s sometimes hard setting up a new home when the architectural is different.

I want you to think out of the box and that you’re not going to hang your artwork the same way or in the same places as you had before. To start, I want you to separate your art into groups based upon the theme of the art, and then by size, not what room you had it in before.

To get your creative juices going, I’m going to show you a couple of different ideas to hang artwork. And for those of you who have been in your home for years, maybe it’s time to switch things up.

When you have multiple pieces, look to create wall galleries. All the frames do not need to match; they just need to coordinate. When laying out a wall gallery, think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. You start by finding the corner pieces and then fill in the rest.

For example, in the gallery hanging over the table , I started by placing the two largest pieces diagonal from each other and then filled in with the smaller pieces. I kept it balanced by using both medium and small sizes in each opposite corner.

The gallery over the sofa was created with multiple sizes as well as shelves and accessories. I started with the largest piece, then added shelves and filled in with the rest.

Look beyond the idea that the pieces have to be identical. Find those that are similar in size and copy the layout.

When you have a lot of small pieces, use them to create chair rails and columns. Look at your architecture and follow what is already there, such as having the pieces stack up a fireplace flue.

When hanging art this way, it works best if all the pieces are the same size and framed the same. The bathroom is a great example of how a chair rail was created by using vacation pictures.

When working with more than two pieces, remember the frames do not need to match. What’s important is that when you’re stacking pieces, the bottom piece should be the largest or the visually heaviest. In this grouping a square was created with three very different sizes of art.

When going up a staircase, the bottoms of the art should step up with each step. Staircases are not my first choice as a place for family pictures, but if you hang them low enough, it works.

You can create a geometrical pattern for a striking focal point over a bed with four pieces of canvas and black velvet ribbon.

Lynn Ann, I hope this has given you some ideas to get your artwork up off the floor and onto your walls.

Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is:

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