3 dreadful mistakes people make when hanging art

Have you ever walked into a room and instinctively sensed that something didn’t feel right about the art? Do you ever look around your space and wonder if your art is doing you justice, and vice versa?

It may simply be a matter of how the art is placed within the room. I asked Sharon Berlin, an accredited fine art and antique appraiser, what she thought were the biggest mistakes people made when hanging their art.

1.    Too high.

Virtually every home I have seen – and in my line of work I see a lot of homes and a lot of art – has art hung too high. One of the best gifts I’ve ever been given was having someone come to my house to hang my art. These are people who tend to work for museums and art galleries.

When you hang art you want it to be cohesive with the furniture and the shape of the room and ceilings. When you’re sitting down on the couch you don’t want to hit the art with your head, but you also don’t want to crane your neck. That’s a good sign that your art is too high.

2.    Too small for scale.

Another mistake is to hang a piece that is too small for the scale of the space. Think of it like a woman who’s wearing clothes too small a size for her body – doesn’t fit, right? It ends up looking like you had this art and you were trying to make it fit in the space, but it becomes distracting because it’s too small.

You know a piece is too small when you have to squint to see it. Ask yourself: does it look lost? Does the space still look empty? Is it filling up barely a quarter of the space above the furniture? Try putting up a large piece of paper, pillowcase, or a sheet, and see what size feels comfortable. Don’t be afraid to put a couple of pieces (or more) of artwork together.

3.    Forcing art into a space because you have it, not because it works.

Just because you spontaneously bought that Mexican ceramic sombero after a few tequila sunrises on vacation doesn’t mean you have to hang it above the mantelpiece for all to see. Your taste and budget may evolve over time; it’s okay to make changes, or to leave a wall blank while you search for a piece of art that works. A great idea to keep your home fresh is to rotate your art. Every time I get a new piece of art I move things around to accommodate it. Brings a new energy to my home.



Sharon Berlin is the owner of Cartouche. She is an accredited fine art and antique appraiser and consultant. Her journey to Cartouche came about from a deep personal love of collecting and an appreciation of fine art and antiques. After working in several prominent auction houses, she received her accreditation with the International Society of Appraisers as a personal property appraiser. She currently works with museums, universities, insurance companies, estates and private clients, and also manages private collections. http://www.cartoucheconsulting.com