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How to Create and Hang Art Groupings

Tips for Hanging Pictures, Paintings, and Art Objects


Art groupings are popping up everywhere -- in magazines, design blogs, and home decorating television shows.

Creating and hanging art groupings, or clusters, can be a little tricky. Before you start pounding nails into the wall, take some time to plan your grouping. You can lay it out on the floor on newspaper pages, trace around each piece once you're satisfied, and then tape the paper to the wall as a template.

For some tips you can use to create your own groupings, take a look at these arrangements:

All interiors and groupings by Memphis Designers Gwen Lausterer and Stan Carpenter of Carpenter & Carpenter Designs.

Display Collections Together

Collection of vintage silhouettes
© Gwen Lausterer

Hanging a collection together is one of the most obvious, and lovely, types of art groupings.

This symmetrical arrangement of fine, vintage silhouettes hangs in a bedroom. Though the individual pieces are quite small, the complete collection makes a tremendous visual impact.

Think 3D

© Gwen Lausterer

Here, the iron sconce is the anchor for the arrangement, but decorative plates hang behind the candles, and a terracotta angel rests on top.

Build Up and Out

© Gwen Lausterer

Start with the piece you want as the focal point of your grouping, often the largest piece, or just the most special if there isn't a huge size difference. Then, build your arrangement upward and out to each side.

Anything Can Be Art

© Gwen Lausterer

Don't limit yourself to hanging only objects originally intended as art. If it speaks to you, looks good, and you can figure out a way to secure it to a wall, you can include it in your art grouping.

Mix Different Items Together

© Gwen Lausterer

While collections are great, don't feel like you can't an create attractive art grouping without one. It's perfectly fine, very interesting even, to mix vastly different types of objects together.

Here, an Asian display shelf full of tiny curiosities, an art pottery platter, and a painting hang together harmoniously.

Consider the Rest of the Room

© Gwen Lausterer

When planning your grouping, don't forget about the other objects in the room. Consider repeating shapes and themes for harmony and dramatic effect.

The horns in the wall arrangement echo the shape of the tabletop dragon sculpture. Either would be fabulous on their own, but the repetition of shape increases the impact of both.

Beware of Clearance Issues

© Gwen Lausterer

Now that you're thinking 3-dimensionally about hanging art groupings, make sure you have the needed clearance for doors, cabinets, and shutters to open. Before hanging, walk through narrow hallways, and other tight areas, to be sure you won't be bumping into your arrangements.

Take It Outside

© Gwen Lausterer

There is no reason you can't expand your art groupings to the outside of your home, as long as the objects you hang are weatherproof enough for the area you choose.

A former coworker had the inside of her garage painted a favorite color, then hung paintings on the walls. Once the cars were removed, the garage was a perfect place to set up the bar and buffet during parties.

In the photo, a clay lion's head and metal star hang above a console table on a balcony. The table was made by topping a salvaged iron balcony rail from New Orleans with a narrow slab of scrap marble.

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How to Hang Art

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