How-To

How To: Creative Ways to Display Your Art

Picture this—you have just purchased your first artwork, or have just added another piece to your ever-expanding art collection, after hours (or days, or weeks) of searching for that perfect piece. Now what? Your new, hard-earned heirloom deserves a display that both reflects your personal style and lets the artwork shine. If this prospect is too daunting and you’re feeling unsure of how to display your new acquisition, below are some tips on how to showcase your art to the best effect.

Whether you want to create a whole gallery wall, display a few photographs, or focus on a single statement piece, here’s how to start displaying artwork in creative ways.

Center a work above a complimentary piece of furniture or mantel shelf.

A good rule of thumb is to pick the focal point of the room and place works at just above eye-level, keeping the height of your window frames and ceiling in mind. Your statement painting or print should be one-half to two-thirds the width of the mantel shelf. Reserve this approach for your most treasured, large works that you want to give the center stage.

Try hanging similar works in pairs or in a panel of four.

Displaying artwork in pairs is a great way to create a simple and sophisticated gallery wall. For a gallery wall with just two to four works, it’s important that the artworks complement each other and share similar characteristics (like color scheme and size). This arrangement is an ideal way to showcase a group of works by the same artist. When decorating with pairs, you should use the same kind of frames (frames that are alike in color, material, matting, etc.) to create harmony.

For a contemporary effect, leave canvases unframed and lean them against a wall or furniture.

This can play well in a more casual atmosphere, allowing the works to take the focus. If you rent rather than own your space, consider leaning your artwork on a wall or piece of furniture to avoid unwanted holes and wall damage. Done right, this artsy home décor trend is a great way to mix things up and try something new.

Mix media, color, and styles for a gallery wall or bookshelf.

Displaying your collection with a gallery wall or on a bookshelf is the perfect way to showcase similar pieces, or to unify a miscellaneous collection of works varying in size, theme, and medium. When selecting pieces for a gallery wall, make sure there’s a logical grouping of different sizes and that the artworks are complementary in color. Showcasing your collection on a bookshelf is undeniably cool, and allows you to mix your artwork with your favorite books, travel mementos, or house plants.

For more inspiration, read this New York Times article on how hanging art can actually be quite simple featuring Saatchi Art’s very own manager of curation and art advisory, Monty Preston. As Monty says, “size is really important,” and it’s crucial to “find a space that gives the artwork enough room to breathe.”

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About the Author

Aurora Garrison is Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at saatchiart.com/artadvisory.