Interior Design and Redesign

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hanging Art Over Mantle

I'm going to help a friend hang 3 pictures over her mantle. Each picture is 14 3/4" wide. The mantle is 5'. How high above the mantle should we hang them and how far apart? She is going to display other photo's and the tallest is 17 3/4" and one of the others is 10 1/2".

How high above the mantle depends, in part, on whether you're going to sit anything ON the mantle. Naturally it's good to overlap behind what's on the mantle, because you don't want the eye to be drawn to the wall between objects.

14-3/4 is fairly small, so I'd probably hang the pictures somewhere between 2-3" max apart.

The key is to find an arrangement that fills approximately 2/3rds of the width of the mantle and that is balanced. So what you want to do is lay all of the different pictures out on the floor in front of the mantle and play with different arrangement configurations until you find the one you like the best. Be careful that the width of the total arrangement doesn't exceed (at least not by much) the 2/3rds measurement of the mantle if you want the best feeling.

The reason for this is that you don't want the grouping to appear crunched in the space, but also you don't want it to feel overwhelmed by the space.

You can lay each piece on butcher block paper and outline the piece and cut out the shapes. That makes it easy to rearrange them, but also easy to tack the paper on the wall itself so you have a good idea of where to position them and if the overall arrangement will fill the space nicely.

Group like kinds together. If each piece doesn't "feel good" with the others, don't try to force them into a group, as no matter how good the arrangement is, it still won't look good.