Art-tastic! Our guide to displaying art around the home

Above: @amys.home.interior

After spending more time at home during the pandemic, google searches for wall art spiked throughout 2020 and its interest hasn’t waned since – with 2022 being a record-breaking year for the art market.

Whether you’re looking to brighten up bare walls or your Zoom background needs livening up, wall art is the perfect place to start. It doesn’t matter if you own or rent your home, or are limited on space, art is a brilliant way to make your mark and an easy, non-committal fix for adding colour and interest to your décor.

Displaying your chosen pieces can even be an art form in itself. “Whilst hanging artwork can be a doddle once you’ve had a little practice, for many of us the process can seem a bit daunting,” says Sarah Lyon, Head of Content and Communications at Affordable Art Fair. “This means that newly bought pieces often end up gathering dust or hung in a way that does little to justify the beauty of the artwork.”

So, while what we have on our walls is important, the key to art looking good is more about how and where to hang pictures than what we choose. If you’re looking to add a piece to an existing collection, are restricted on space or are unable to mark the walls of a rental, here’s our handy guide to hanging and displaying art.

Above: @adrestiasrevolt

Practicalities and positioning
In which room is your artwork going to live? Where on the wall will you hang your piece? Before deciding, think about sizing and positioning. A small picture can get lost on a big wall, while a larger piece can dominate a room.

Art hung too low or high can also change the feeling and look of your space. Lyon provides a helpful tip that is easy to follow: “Visually divide your wall into four. Ideally, your work should be placed in the third section when counting up from the floor.”

And before making a start, it’s important to have the right tools ready. “You’ll need a tape measure, pencil, hammer, a range of hooks and nails and a friend to help,” Lyon recommends. Alternatively, try Command Strips if you don’t want to mark the walls permanently.

Create a gallery wall
Gallery walls are still on trend and one of the easiest ways to inject personality into the home and make it unique to you. Research ideas and visualise how you want the completed wall to look. Play with a few combinations laid out on the floor before you start placing anything on the wall. Then, start by hanging your largest picture first and work around that to build your gallery.

Can I get a “shelfie”?
Displaying art on open shelving has become a popular choice in recent years. It’s easy to move pieces around and mix things up when you fancy a change. Shelf space enables you to combine with other trinkets, plants and sculptural lamps you may want to exhibit. A shelf is also a great solution if you want to avoid hanging art on the wall.

Both above: @little_twitchers_brancaster

To frame or not to frame
Professionally framing your artwork can elevate a piece, but if budgets are tight, try displaying art unframed. Consider using a binder, bulldog clips or even washi tape, all simple and creative ways of getting your work on the wall without having to visit a framer. Besides, they will provide a nice contrast to anything more traditionally framed already in the home.

Cheer up an unloved space
Have a small space that needs zhuzhing up or a huge blank canvas like the wall next to your staircase? Think of areas in the home that we pass day after day, yet could really do with a dose of fun and frivolity.

Make walking up and down the stairs interesting by introducing something joyful to smile at, or an uplifting print in the downstairs loo – thinking outside the box when displaying your shiny new artwork is another way of adding a touch of character to your space.

Above: @housenumber71

Mix it up
Really, art doesn’t have to be 2-D. Mix up other items you have around the home – sculptures, plates, tiles, books – and combine them with treasured photographs, posters, prints and beautiful fabrics for an eclectic mashup, either displayed on shelves or attached to the wall. Boho chic at its best!

What not to do with your art
Finally, a few things to consider when choosing where to place your prized possessions. Never position a picture in direct sunlight, as this will cause damage and fading. Think about the conditions of the room. Due to their humid environments, kitchens and bathrooms are not always ideal places to hang art. Plus, anywhere hot – such as above a radiator or fireplace – should be avoided.

Need more hacks or just fancy buying some new artwork? Check out the next Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, London, between 11–14 May 2023. Hosting over 100 galleries and 1,000s of stunning contemporary artworks, installations, curated displays and more – it’s one to visit this spring