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Decorating with art

Be a Show Off

Aside from a few practical considerations, there are no hard-and-fast rules for hanging art. Of course, it should be easy to see the work, so it should hang around eye level—but that could mean low on the wall near a chair or high up near a staircase. It should be lit indirectly so glare doesn’t obscure the picture surface. Bright light, especially sunlight, will fade and damage artworks over time.

When it comes to art placement, creativity is the only constant. Your art doesn’t even have to hang on a wall; a small work (or a collection of pieces) could stand on a bookshelf or sideboard. Your art collection doesn’t have to be chosen to match your decor. “A very modern piece of art could go in a traditional space. Once it’s in a frame, it becomes its own world,” says designer Glen Peloso.

“What we’re most focused on is scale,” he says. “You can’t have a single wall with a miniature in it; it would look ridiculous. You also don’t want to hang a six-by-six-foot piece over the sofa—unless you have exceptionally high ceilings.”

When he’s helping a client decide where to put an important piece, art consultant Christopher Birt tours the space in order to identify which room seems to be the focal point. “A good picture is like a magnet: it pulls you in,” he says.