The Art of Displaying Art

Art is one of those defining elements that improves the overall sophistication of a space. And yet, the thought of buying and hanging art seems to fill many of my clients with fear.

BUY WHAT YOU LOVE – but what do you love?

Art is like music. If you buy what moves your soul and fills your senses, you will enjoy it everyday. Many experts say “buy what you love.”  But from my experience, many clients don’t know what they love.  Here is an easy way to find out, go to or anyother online website and look through the categories – abstract, landscapes, figurative, modern, floral, and photography.  Narrow down the general art genre (or category) you like.  This will help you hone your style.  After that, truly, buy what you love.  Don’t let anyone tell you a piece of art is not “good” because art is completely subjective and should evoke a feeling – in you! 

If you are a business, you need to think about your clients.  Because you love sailboats does not mean your office should be themed with photos of sails cutting blue water.  Your art needs to reflect your company culture and enhance the space.  What often works best are gently abstracted works of art – nothing to edgy or disturbing.     


Art can immediately grab you but you can grow tired and bored with it quickly. If you buy art with a bit of abstraction or interpretation, it will leave space for your mind to fill in the blanks. This may keep you more intrigued over time.


If you are hesitant, lease or rent to with an option to own.  If you are a business, you can write the lease off as an operational expense.  Studio Art Direct leases for about 4% of the purchase price per month.


A recurring mistake I see in clients’ homes or offices is to hang art too high on the wall. Prints or portraits should be hung at approximately the eye level of a person standing between 5 foot 6 and 5 foot 8 in a room where people will mainly stand. In rooms where sitting is the main position, place art lower. The goal is to be able to enjoy the artwork at a natural level. Not to have to be looking up at it.



Click here for a larger image

Often clients will spread art across an entire wall. But this creates an unrelated, anonymous and distant feeling. When creating a display on a large wall, it’s important that the artwork be hung close together, with a relationship to each other, rather than scattered across the space. Consider similar framing or matting to make a theme.

Even if you’re hanging pictures over a couch or conference room console, don’t feel they have to be spaced out over the entire 7-foot furniture piece. Try to have the pieces equidistant from each other, but centered over the middle third or half of the focal point. You can also play with your pieces by taping paper templates up on the wall or spreading the art pieces on the floor and shuffling them around until you get the look you want.


Big art is very dramatic. If you have a large wall or space, don’t be afraid to go big.  A trend today is to place big works in small spaces.  With today’s technology, Studio Art Direct can take virtually any high resolution image – art or photo – and reproduce it in very large sizes – even as wall paper! 


Go to True Value Hardware/Ace (not Home Depot) and pick up plastic hooks that attach to the wall with adhesive and are REMOVABLE – no damage. This is a great way to determine if you like the placement of your artwork. You can use them permanently – they hold about 20 lbs (they say more, but my experience is 20 lbs is max).


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