Properly arranged artwork groupings have an attractive collage effect; improperly hung ranges, on the other hand, are wall clutter. Determine if you should rearrange your artwork, alter the spacing or leave it as is to brilliantly delight in every single piece and the way the group reads as a whole.
Art Elbow Room
If your art grouping reminds you of a busy metro or dance floor, or spilled crayons, the bits are too close together. Try removing just the smallest artwork pieces. If the collection currently appears sparse, remove each bit. Rearrange the group on the floor. Fit each piece like a mystery, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart, ideally. Re-create the arrangement on the wall with painter’s tape paper or outlines squares. Inspect the mock grouping from various vantage points, such as the room’s entry and sitting area, and rework the low-adhesive tape or paper before it appears visually comfortable.
Artworks that sit too much apart appear disconnected. If every single piece or a certain work on your grouping seems to be wandering aimlessly on its own, you might not have enough artwork on the wall. Pull the bits closer together, or hang extra artwork to fill “dead” spaces. Again, a collage of prints, photos or paintings spaced two or so inches apart appears magnificently grouped, not bunched or crowded; even the bigger the artwork, the nearer together it must hang, and vice versa.
Hanging artwork pieces over a bed, table, fireplace, armchair or couch can complement and complete the furniture arrangement, as long as the grouping does not soften the item under. Preferably, leave about 6 inches between the artwork and the furniture or fixture. If the art creeps beyond the bed’s sides or a seat’s arms, then it’s gone too far. Reposition it to several inches within these boundaries. The artwork needs to consume about two-thirds of the wall area above a piece of furniture to get suitable spacing — a sofa or bed and its side tables reads as a single unit. If the art now looks too near together, remove a bit and rework the group’s spacing so that each piece hangs comfortably apart.
Too Much Diversity
If your art seems chaotic, it might not be that you have too many bits on the wall, but that the artwork is too dissimilar. Group bits with some sort of similarity — a color or age link, or like subjects such as watercolor flowers or oil-painted ocean scenes, like. Another way to make the works in a group speak the same “language” is with like-colored frames, all in white, black or gold, as an example. Center your artwork at eye level, and work outward as much as you dare to get a gallery effect. Ultimately, art is personal, and the way you hang it requires few concrete rules. Provided that you maintain motif or colour and spacing in your mind — at least vaguely — and also adore the outcome, nothing else matters.