Placing grandma Käthe next to Henri Matisse: decorating rooms with pictures

Placing grandma Käthe next to Henri Matisse: decorating rooms with pictures

Art posters, family photos or classic paintings in a modern interpretation – there are many ways to stage your own personal gallery. Height is key for taking advantage of a single picture. The following rule of thumb applies: the centre of the picture should be at eye-level or slightly lower. It is advisable to use existing edges as guides for avoiding a turbulent overall impression. The upper edges of doors or furniture offer great reference points.


The classic rule for the division of surfaces is the golden ratio. This has played a key role in painting and photography for hundreds of years – you simply can”t go wrong. If you want to hang a picture according to the golden ratio, draw a line at 5/8s of the wall height with a pencil. 3/8s of the space should lie above this line.


The number of variations increases with the number of pictures available. Wall design is fundamentally a question of type: if you are more puristic and value order, then a single large-format picture is preferable to a colourful arrangement of collected works. The first question when hanging multiple pictures is how the ensemble should look once finished: what is preferred, an orderly and symmetrical organisation or something more exciting and spontaneous?


A grid arrangement appears strict and organised. The pictures should all be the same format and have the same frames. They are then hanged in a geometric scheme at exact distances. An edged arrangement is a good choice for pictures in various formats. In this manner, all pictures are arranged in a row with the upper or lower edges on the same line. A string stretched horizontally on the wall helps when hanging the pictures. A picture bar helps make this arrangement more interesting and flexible, because the pieces of art can be hung simply. Other objects such as figures or models also find place and the entire arrangement can be reorganised quickly and easily.


If the picture wall should appear more casual and combine vary different works, the Petersburg or salon arrangements are recommended. These arrangements involve hanging many pictures in close proximity to one another. The distances should vary, though skill is necessary for avoiding chaos. The best method is to arrange the pictures on the floor before starting any drilling. The “inside the lines” principle offers guidance: the pictures are arranged inside of an imaginary geometrical shape, such as oval, circle or rectangle.


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