South Sound Sidekick: Hanging art for Noobs

By Volcano Staff on March 29, 2013

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Olympia artist Chris Ross has advice on how to hang art in your house

Chris Ross writes,

With Olympia Arts Walk just around the corner, and with the future purchases of Art looming, I thought it would be a good idea to share easy steps to hang art in your home. As a former curator for the Olympia Film Society with years of experience hanging art professionally, and a former gallery owner in Portland, Ore., I'm frequently asked, "How do you hang art work?"

Galleries and museums have a standard height for hanging art in a space for patrons to see. This standard applies well to the home. The average height of all people was determined to be 58-62 inches for eye level. Most institutions use this average because when a viewer of the work walks into a room and sees the piece of art, they don't have to strain up or down to get a good view of it.

Below are steps you can use in your home to hang your new pieces, or to adjust current ones to give balance to all your art work, or even family photos, etc.

1. Determine what wall you want to hang the piece of art.

2. Using a tape measure and a pencil, find the middle of the wall, or the middle of the area you want the piece to hang from. The procedure is done by measuring the distance, dividing by two.

3. Measure out the found distance and mark the wall with a pencil. I use pencils because you can erase the mark.

4. Take your piece of art and turn it over. Measure the height of the piece and dived by two again to find the middle of the piece. Mark the back.

5. Trickiest part, measure the distance from the center of your Art piece to the bottom of the hardware used to hang the work. Typically this is a picture wire.

6. Take this new measurement and add it to 58 inches. So, for instance, if you found the distance from center to the picture wire was 10 inches, your new number would be 68 inches.

7. Back to the wall ... measure from the floor, the total of the two numbers (in our example it's 68 inches) and mark the wall at that height. Where the two marks intersect on the wall is where you will hammer your picture hook. This will guarantee that the center of your artwork is hanging at 58 inches.

Christopher Ross is a working artist in Olympia, Wash. His work can be seen at

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