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There is a doctor in my city who specializes in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  When a new client walks into her waiting room, they are greeted with a piece of artwork, hanging on the wall, which is slightly crooked.  I’m sure you get the idea, she wants to see how long it will take the client to walk over to the wall and adjust the picture.  Well, this isn’t just an OCD challenge, it can be a home decor one too.

The things I am about to describe may seem at the outset to be simple concepts, but they can truly make your home flow from room to room and be appealing to the eye.

I have four simple things that I always keep in mind when placing artwork, photographs and wall hangings in a new home.  First and second are two simple equations,  wide wall = big wall hanging or more than one wall hanging; narrow wall = small wall hanging.  Take a good look at the wall you want to hang something on.  Is it wide or is it narrow.  You don’t want to have an 8 ft by 10 ft wall with a 4 inch by 4 inch wall hanging on it, and alternatively, a narrow wall will look silly with a huge all hanging on it.  The third is to make sure wall hangings are evenly placed in the centre of a wall with even space on either side. Whether it be one item or a gallery, make sure there is the same amount of wall space on either side.   You can measure this exactly, if you want, but I find it pretty easy just to guesstimate.

The fourth thing is a little bit more complicated, but just as important.  When placing items on adjoining walls, make sure they complement each other, and run this theme all through your home.  By this, I don’t mean the items themselves, I mean the placement.  Let’s say you have a painting on one wall that is 18 inches high, and you are placing a smaller picture that is 10 inches high on the adjoining wall.  Place the smaller item 4 inches lower than the top of the larger item so it will appear “centred” when both walls are in someone’s field of vision, because you will also have 4 inches below.  Sometimes you have to use common sense and veer away from this depending on what you are hanging, but for the most part this will lend a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing look to your walls.

Two walls joined at a corner showing picture hangings in alignment

Of course, the next things to consider involve the actual items you are placing.

Gallery walls are a great idea for a large space, as long as you don’t clutter the wall with a large volume of unrelated items.  There’s a trick to this though, and that is that there are many ways by which items can related.  You may want to display a number of artworks by the same artist, or a grouping of family photographs, maybe even a group of same-themed pictures.  Alternatively, your pictures or works might be totally unrelated, but are in the same coloured frames or maybe a set of vintage or antique frames.  Let your creativity be your guide, but try to have some kind of theme to it.  Here is a bunch of great Pinterest posts with a ton of great ideas and tips – Ideas For Grouping or Hanging Pictures

Pictures hanging on a wall in a theme of all white picture frames

Another idea for a large wall is to use a large centre item, flanked by two mirror items (items that are the exact same) on either side.  An example of mirror items are wall sconces containing candles.  Or, a small centre item, flanked by two larger items.

Use different textures and ideas with wall hangings.  Picture of metal wall art with design and inlaid coloured glass stones They shouldn’t just be a painting or a photograph.  They can (and should!) be other things as well.  Some great ideas are metal art, tile art, pendulum hangings, decorative blankets, plates, wooden items, clocks, letters and numbers.  And, it’s a good idea to mix and match in the same room to add flavour and keep from getting bored.

Another great idea, if you have children, is to purchase frames for their many masterpieces which they will bring home from school, and hang them along with all your other pieces.  This is a great way to add character to your wall hangings and will give the kiddos a dose of self esteem and pride in what they have created.  They will feel a special importance in their painting being considered worthy of a frame!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a small hack that I use frequently, especially if I am hanging a series of items with a precision placement.  I place a small piece of double-sided tape (usually about 1/2  inch square) on the back, bottom corner (either side works) of the frame, and I press it gently to the wall, so it sticks.    This will ensure that the picture does not become wobbly or crooked, and will ensure a precision look.  This also works instead of nails, to hang small, lighter items, if you want them to be flush with the wall.

Horizontal picture alignment of 3 square pictures side by side