Tips for Displaying Your Artwork
A well-placed art piece takes any home from simple to magnificent. The beauty of displaying your artwork within your house is that you can choose any style. Match hues with your furniture or select pieces opposite on the color wheel for a striking effect. Adopt a homestyle feel with warm, bright paintings or dive into futurism with stainless steel installations and minimalist sculptures.
Every collector knows the importance of maintaining their art and getting the most value out of it. Wrong answers cease to exist when it comes to personal taste, but there are some useful rules you should follow when displaying your artwork.
Tips for Displaying Your Artwork
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Direct light exposure will fade art and cause it to become brittle, so keep your prized pieces out of the sun’s rays. Check your interior light sources by placing your hand in front of the art — if you can feel heat, it’s too close.
If you can’t avoid exposing your pieces to the sun, invest in plexiglass or museum glass to protect paintings and photos. You can also place a protective film over your windows to lessen the amount of light coming in.
Choose Dramatic Frames
Invest in a frame that fits so well it becomes one with the artwork. A suitable frame is the perfect companion to any painting or photo and can enhance its artistic value. Go for a golden, ornate appearance or keep it streamlined with a black or white border. A collection of grayscale photo prints goes well with black framing, while watercolor and oil pieces look amazing next to wooden borders.
Implement mat boards when showcasing your artwork. These allow variability when selecting sizes, and they give the piece a breathable border rather than letting it fill the entire frame. They also serve as an extra layer of protection between the glazing and paper. Explore different framing techniques within the same area of your home for diversity.
Protect Your Art During Transport
Whether you’re moving art into or out of a space, you should transport it with care. Use bubble wrap to keep pieces intact and layer them with glassine to prevent scratches. You can also take your art out of its frame and wrap it in glassine if you’d rather not transport it within its framework.
Store sculptures in boxes large enough to fit the entire form with the lid closed — you don’t want any cracking or damage. Wear gloves and other protective materials to avoid smudging or debris collection. Human skin contains oils and dirt that destroys the surfaces of paintings and sculptures.
Avoid cheap materials like newspaper or packing peanuts, which can stick to your art when exposed to condensation. Packing peanuts get crumpled down during transportation, which can make them less effective at cushioning your pieces.
Keep Temperatures Stable
Your home should ideally be 20 to 23 degrees Celsius. High temperatures can melt varnish or paint and allow debris to stick to the surface more easily. Low temperatures cause brittleness and cracking, especially when you move the piece.
Manage your humidity levels, as high moisture can cause rust on metal sculptures and mold growth on paintings. The ideal level is 50% — avoid going above or below this number. Low moisture, like low temperatures, causes pieces to dry out. Invest in a gauge — such as a hygrothermograph — and a dehumidifier to maintain the appropriate levels.
Hang Art on a Centerline
Hang your artwork on a centerline of 144 to 152 cm — the center of the piece should be at least 144 centimeters from the floor. This height puts it at the eye level of the viewer, making it easy to see without strain. Don’t be hesitant about hiring an art handler to situate your piece if you’d rather not do it yourself.
Make accommodations for surrounding furniture to ensure you get the optimal perception of your artwork. If you hang a piece above a sofa or chaise, establish 16 to 20 centimeters of space between them. You don’t want to spend time putting up art only to find out it’s uncentered, too low or too high. Avoid displaying art in areas where it can be obscured from various angles.
Create an Artist Series
When buying multiple pieces from the same artist, create a series by grouping them. Avoid placing them so close together that they can’t breathe, but don’t scatter them over the entirety of the wall space. Whichever way you display them should demonstrate cohesion — this shows attention to detail and an eye for design.
If you intend to create a gallery, start in the middle and spread outward. You’ll have an easier time rearranging the art if you need to.
Mix Modernity With Tradition
When you’re stuck on whether you should opt for modern pieces or traditional styles, combine the two. Many eye-catching layout options exist for merging them without clashing, and this goes for furniture as well. Let one dominate and have the other serve as an accent.
Decide whether you want the pieces to complement or slightly contrast with each other. Will they be of similar colors, textures, and mediums, or will you choose different directions for each one?
Protect and Showcase Art in Your Home
Art is an essential element of a well-designed home. Make your collection the focal point of every discussion by utilizing these practical design and maintenance tips for beautifully displaying your artwork.
About the Author:
Holly Welles runs The Estate Update, a home improvement blog with décor & design tips for the newly initiated. You can check out more of her work (and other random thoughts) on Twitter @HollyAWelles.